Through the sociology department at Appalachian State University, I was lucky enough to intern at the Hospitality House for six incredible weeks. My interest in working with nonprofits peaked quite a bit during my time at App and the Hosp House was the perfect organization to get my feet wet. They do such good and meaningful work for residents of The High Country and the positive impact they make really shows.
I was a full time intern so for 40 hours a week, Sunday through Thursday, I was there. I spent most of my time in the pantry and kitchen, ensuring that residents and non-residents always had a meal to look forward to. Before Covid-19 the food pantry at the Hospitality House was a step above others in the area. It was more like a grocery store/bodega where those in need could come inside and pick out what they needed for themselves. Due to the new health regulations and protocols to ensure the safety of everyone involved, this system had to take a short pause. This didn't mean that making food available stopped though!! In order to make sure that no family went hungry, the pantry at the Hospitality House turned into a well oiled machine. I learned how to prepare boxes of food to last numerous sized families for up to two weeks. These boxes included items like canned food, pasta, rice, marinara sauce, cakes, muffins, cereal, oatmeal, chips, and so much more. Besides the dry food, we also always had fresh fruits and vegetables on hand to make well rounded produce bags to be handed out with each box. I know it sounds like a lot already, but on top of all of that each box would also include frozen meat, eggs, milk and refrigerated snacks as well. The greatest reward was getting to know the families and individuals who came through our "drive-thru" every two weeks and see their faces light up when I carried out their boxes.
My time at the Hospitality House went by in what felt like the blink of an eye but it's an experience I'll never forget. I'm incredibly appreciative and in awe of the staff members and their dedication to their work. I got to know a lot of people who started as volunteers or interns but their love for their community and what they were doing translated so well into their work that they just ended up staying! I'm sad to have left Boone and this establishment, but I know that they're just going to keep getting better and I couldn't be more proud of the effort they're making!