Fighting Hunger with the Hispanic Diocese of St. Petersburg, Florida by Amy Lamb

Florida has changed and grown since my childhood, but nothing is more normal there than a severe–but short–thunderstorm in the afternoon. I wasn’t surprised when, during a recent Helping Hands meal packaging event with the Hispanic Diocese of St. Petersburg, Florida, the lights flickered and the salsa, merengue or bachata-influenced music stopped for a moment. The energy of more than 120 volunteers, however, never stopped. Helping Handsis a partnership of Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and Stop Hunger Now.

Fighting Hunger with the Hispanic Diocese of St. Petersburg, Florida by Amy Lamb

It’s easy to facilitate an event with an enthusiastic host and volunteer group and a strong partnership with another organization (CRS is Stop Hunger Now’s largest non-profit partner), but because I was asked to translate everything I know about Stop Hunger Now’s work, the event and global hunger from English to Spanish, I was required to think about the importance of my language.

The facilitators of Stop Hunger Now meal packaging events have many jobs: transporting  materials, setting up, directing the volunteers and, most importantly, orienting everyone present to the work, mission and organization. I know from past experiences leading volunteers that figuring out how to do this effectively is not always easy. So, when I feel challenged by my own word choice, I usually translate what I want to say into Spanish–because it isn’t my first language, I have to find the central point of what I wish to say quickly.

In translating for this event with the Hispanic Diocese, I remembered the volunteers, their energy and engagement in our mission is the central point of these events. While the meals are a concrete, measurable result, when I attend or help facilitate an event, I enjoy that volunteers have dedicated themselves to being the apparatus of our mission. As I leave my home state once again, I am invigorated by our volunteers and grateful for the opportunity to translate and therefore think about my language’s role in engaging our volunteers.

 

*Amy Lamb is the Davidson Impact Fellow with Stop Hunger Now and is a recent graduate of Davidson College. She performs data analysis to assist program staff in planning and goal making as well as strategizes Hispanic outreach for the organization.

** This article was first published on Stop Hunger Now website. See here for the original post.

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