AmeriCorps VISTA, or Volunteers In Service To America, have been a key part of our organizations ability to grow our scale over the years. The VISTA program is a national service program that was designed to alleviate poverty by partnering individuals with organizations working towards this goal.
Since 2014, SOS has been grateful to host 14 VISTA members who have helped the organization in a variety of ways. These individuals have helped our organization by aiding in; disaster relief and preparedness throughout Hurricane Irma and the COVID-19 Pandemic; volunteer recruitment and retention at our sites; fundraising; expanding the capacity for federal nutrition programs and our Nutrition Education program, and starting the SNAP Fresh Access Bucks program at the Truman Waterfront Park Farmers Market.
SOS Foundation's VISTAs
July 2020 - Present
"By serving as a VISTA at the SOS Callahan Community Kitchen, I have gained extensive knowledge about federal nutrition programs. Much of my first year was spent learning the ins and outs of the Summer Food Service Program and its administrative requirements. During my first year as a VISTA, we also piloted new nutrition education curriculum at after school programs in the community which we will launch in the public schools this Fall. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic we could not host our annual fundraiser, so SOS VISTAs and staff brainstormed a successful virtual fundraiser, in which I designed and built out the raffle website. It has been so rewarding to serve the Keys community in many different ways that I signed up for a second year to serve as VISTA member at SOS!"
March 2021 - Present
"I came to the SOS Foundation excited to serve Monroe County, but I didn't realize just how much SOS would be serving me at the same time. Only a few months in, I have received direct input and training in grant writing, records keeping, graphic design, and social media communication. Additionally, I have been able to head up a new program at a local Farmer's Market allowing SNAP recipients to double their benefits when buying local, fresh food. I have loved getting to know all the fellow public servants here at our community kitchen and pantry and am excited to continue serving and growing this great organization."
Sep 2021 - Present
"I transitioned into the VISTA role as the Upper Keys Pantry Manager role in Key Largo from the Special Projects Manager role in Key West. I love getting to see all that the Upper Keys have to offer for me professionally and personally. In this role, I am in charge of keeping the pantry up and running which includes receiving and sorting deliveries along with helping clients walk through the pantry. I also teach Nutrition Education in Key Largo to elementary students to get them more interested and to learn more about healthy living. I’m excited to keep growing our mission in the Upper Keys throughout this opportunity!"
Sep 2021 - Present
"Community outreach and involvement is important to my goals for SOS as a VISTA. I am passionate about the mission of SOS, especially in seeing its impact on individuals who visit our Stock Island pantry or receive meals from us. I am excited to further realize the full potential of the programs we have available at SOS, which I believe can be achieved through more engagement with the local community."
August 2018 - August 2019
Paige was the recipient of the prestigious Bloomberg Fellowship award, allowing her full funding to pursue a master's degree at Johns Hopkins. After graduation and a months long thru-hike in the Western United States, Paige is coming back as a staff member to use her education to assist SOS with its next steps.