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.

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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