Student-Powered Hunger Relief

AmeriCorps VISTA Summer Associate at UMass Boston

The Child Nutrition Engagement Program is an AmeriCorps VISTA project sponsored by Hunger Free America and funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service, the PepsiCo Foundation, and the Walmart Foundation. This national project operates two programs, one for a full-year and the other for just the summer, called the Summer Associate program. Both the full-year and Summer Associates work in rural and urban areas across the country as part of a poverty-fighting public-private partnership. These summer associates will be placed across 21 states with 27 community partners, all dedicated to fighting child and adult hunger.

The Hunger Free America Summer Associate Program aims to create more food secure families and support nutritious food choices. Summer Associate members will expand and support the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and nutrition education programming; improve awareness of nutritious food options at farmers’ markets and the use of SNAP benefits at farmers’ markets; and raise awareness of and eliminate barriers to SNAP and other food/nutrition-access services.

Position Description:

Hunger Free America is seeking AmeriCorps VISTA Summer Associates to do the following:

  1. Conduct outreach in targeted communities of low-income individuals for the Summer Food Service Program, SNAP, farmers’ markets, and/or nutrition education
  2. Assist SFSP sites in serving meals, which may include food preparation and delivery, counting meals, set-up and clean-up, coordinating and/or leading enrichment activities, and other duties necessary for site to operate
  3. Recruit and train volunteers to assist with SFSP and SNAP
  4. Help operate farmer’s markets and inform benefit holders of incentive programs
  5. Work with community partners to provide information to individuals about federal and non-federal benefits they may be eligible to receive
  6. Conduct nutrition education classes and activities that encourage healthier eating to both children and adults

The Campus Kitchen at UMass Boston (CKUMB), in partnership with Hunger Free America (HFA), seeks a full-time AmeriCorps VISTA Summer Associate to assist with the maintenance, development, and expansion of its current program operations.  CKUMB regularly provides well-balanced, family-style meals and healthy snacks to low-income youth in Boston who generally receive free and reduced-price school meals during the school year. Nutrition education programming is also provided to these youth, under supervision of the Summer Associate. Finally, the VISTA will inform and assist with the preservation and growth of CKUMB’s SNAP Outreach Program for clients of varied ages. This will include tabling and outreach events.

This is a full time position with time split between work in the office, in the kitchen, on food resourcing and delivery shifts, and on-site with client agencies.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

  • Informed and concerned about issues of poverty, hunger, food security, food justice
  • Dedicated to promoting long-term food security of low-income population in Boston
  • Empathetic, compassionate, respectful toward people living in low-income situations and struggling to make ends meet
  • Effective interpersonal, communication, and organizational skills.
  • Comfortable working part of the time in a kitchen setting and willing to learn and perform basic kitchen tasks
  • Able to work effectively as part of a team
  • Good discretion and self-initiative
  • Comfortable giving presentations and facilitating discussions
  • Ability to exercise high levels of independent judgment
  • High level of comfort with the Internet and Microsoft Office (Outlook, Excel, Word).

Major Duties and Responsibilities:

Operational Duties: Assist with donation deliveries and food resourcing receipts on- and off-campus to youth and senior clients. Assist during weekly cooking shifts. Maintain records of all delivery, food resourcing, cooking, and volunteer forms. Prepare for and implement SNAP (food stamps) outreach; youth and senior nutrition education; and other special events as needed. Assist in volunteer recruitment efforts to facilitate operations.

Other Duties and Responsibilities:

The VISTA will work as part of a team to ensure that our summer meals and healthy snacks are prepared and delivered to CKUMB’s partnered client organizations. S/he will respond to volunteer inquires, assist with cooking shifts, maintain resourcing and food safety paperwork, track information for monthly reports, establish new food resourcing partnerships, and deliver meals to our partners. The VISTA will maintain communication with Leadership Team as needed to ensure productivity across the team.

The VISTA will also help CKUMB to expand programming by further developing its nutrition education. S/he will assist in program marketing and information distribution as well as research new program opportunities within the community. The VISTA will conduct program evaluations as needed. Additionally, the Summer Associate will lightly assist with website edits and social media management.

Other Duties: Attend bi-weekly or monthly Leadership Team meetings as needed. Attend other CKUMB or national office meetings and webinars as needed.  Complete timely reports for AmeriCorps and our partners at HFA, who administers this national cohort of VISTA positions.

Certifications and Licenses:

ServSafe Food Safety Manager Certification preferred but not required.  The VISTA member will be trained on proper food handling and food safety and will be expected to follow established food safety guidelines.

Qualifications:

Required:

  1. High School Diploma or equivalent
  2. Must be 18 years or older
  3. Must be legally permitted to work in US
  4. Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  5. Have an outgoing, engaging personality
  6. Ability to work outside in sometimes unfavorable conditions for up to 8 hours per day
  7. Experience or desire to work with children
  8. Knowledge or interest in child nutrition and hunger-related issues
  9. Experience working with and managing volunteers, or experience in a collaborative volunteer role.
  10. Experience working on collaborative community initiatives with a focus on food, nutrition, healthy living, etc., ideally with low-income families, youth and/or seniors
  11. General understanding of AmeriCorps service and the limitations of the living stipend provided; motivation to work for the mission for the entirety of the service assignment

Preferred:

  1. Bachelor’s Degree
  2. Background in health and nutrition; education; community service; social work; or related field
  3. Experience conducting SNAP (food stamps) outreach, or familiarity with the SNAP program
  4. Experience developing collaborative community partnerships
  5. Basic cooking skills
  6. Valid driver’s license and access to a vehicle

Physical Demands:

  • Ability to lift 25 pounds comfortably; comfortable with strenuous outdoor activity. Moderate physical activity required
  • May need to work some nights and weekends according to the kitchen shift schedule

Time Commitment:

This is a short-term, 10-week, full-time position beginning May 30, 2017, and ending August 7, 2017. You are expected to be available for the needs of your community and project at all times, including days, nights and weekends. Because AmeriCorps VISTA service requires a full immersion in the project and community, full-time employment with other entities is strictly prohibited.  Summer Associates may be able to have a part-time job outside of VISTA service, however, they will discuss this with their supervisor prior to starting their position.  Also, AmeriCorps VISTA Summer Associates must adhere to some restrictions on political and religious activities while in service.

Housing:

You are responsible for finding your own housing.  No housing allowance will be provided.

Program Benefits:

  • Bi-weekly living stipend ($613.48 pre-tax)
  • Segal Education Award ($1,230.69) or end-of-service stipend ($287.70)
  • July 4 Holiday
  • Experience in the nonprofit sector
  • A network of over 180,000 AmeriCorps VISTA members and alums

Application Requirements:

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. To apply for this position, please complete steps 1-3 listed below.

  1. Please go to https://my.americorps.gov/mp/listing/viewListing.do?id=72162&fromSearch=true and complete the program application.
  1. Click on the following link to complete a Google survey to fill out your preferences for service. http://bit.ly/2npyyg0. Please note: this does NOT guarantee your selection for placement.
  2. Please send a cover letter and resume to Rebecca Driscoll, Program Coordinator for the Campus Kitchen at UMass Boston, at rdriscoll@campuskitchens.org.  Please include “Summer Associate VISTA Application” in the subject line.  Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit their material as soon as possible as this position will be filled on a rolling basis.

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