Hello, everyone! My name is Christine Halterman and I am an intern/temporary staff member at the Hospitality House! During this time, I think positivity and good news go a long way. With that being said, I would love to share with all of you what my experience here has been like!
When I first started back in January, I was super nervous because I had never worked with the food-insecure and homeless populations before. Coming in for my first day, I actually got lost and had to ask my internship supervisor how to get to the food pantry, which was super embarrassing. But from that, I rebounded and started to work on this really amazing renovation project for the food pantry and the community dining room! I have been able to get paint donations, start raising money for the project, and recruit volunteers to help start the painting process. The virus has made it a little difficult to get volunteers, but we are still planning with a positive outlook in mind! The changes to these rooms will be happening slowly, of course, but I am really excited to see how this will impact everyone that uses our services.
Speaking of clients, the clients we serve here are really wonderful. They make me want to be at work every day, even when I am not scheduled, which is something I have never experienced before. I am truly honored to serve them and help them get back on their feet. The staff, as well, is one of the most supportive teams I have had the pleasure to work with. Our staff is extremely dedicated to making sure our house functions properly and making sure everyone gets the support they need. They are also super supportive of all our volunteers and interns. I was given a lot of room to be creative and really make a difference in this community. I can’t thank the staff enough for giving me the opportunity to help these people because it has given me a greater purpose, especially through this pandemic. There was a point, when everything started closing down, that I thought my internship would be over. Thankfully, I was allowed to return as long as I felt safe. I did so immediately.
I do not think I have ever been more humbled in my life than I have been working with this demographic of people. They all have been through so much but are trying to better themselves despite their hardships. Before this internship, I never really saw myself working with the food-insecure and homeless populations in the future, but I see now how much need there is for support in these communities and it makes me want to stay and help as much as I can. I want to be a clinical mental health counselor, but this experience has taught me I would much rather offer my services to those who can’t afford mental health services. Overall, I think it is safe to say that my future will be greatly affected by my experience here.
That being said, I know we are all stuck at home right now and trying to stay safe, but I ask all of you to please remember those who are less fortunate than you. Not everyone can afford food or a place to live, let alone medical care or a simple mask. While volunteering is limited at our facilities right now, we are still accepting food donations and anything off of our Facebook wish list/Amazon wish list. If you have the means to provide anything from those lists, we would be so appreciative of it!
Thank you all for reading and for thinking of us during this time! Stay safe, stay healthy, and stay positive!