Volunteering has been an important part of my life since middle school, when my mom brought me to my first soup kitchen. Since then, I've always made sure I have a volunteer commitment no matter where I live. My favorite (and most recent) volunteering experiences are listed below. Not surprisingly, they involve supporting the work of organizations working to feed and educate others. 

 

 
Image source: Taipei Times

Image source: Taipei Times

Harmony Home, February 2016 - June 2016

Harmony Home is a HIV/AIDs clinic and shelter in Taipei, Taiwan. The non-profit relies on volunteers to help feed young children and babies. I was a regular mealtime volunteer, usually responsible for helping staff finish preparing food, portioning food, and feeding 5-6 toddlers and several babies each time. It was an eye-opening experience to learn how non-profit organizations function in another country. 

Image source: Tasting Notes NYC

Image source: Tasting Notes NYC

Astor Center, January 2014 - November 2015

Astor Center produces food and wine education classes for the public. I was a volunteer for their public programs, which required equipping classrooms with appropriate glassware, preparing food, acting as waitstaff during class, and cleaning up and room breakdown. This volunteer experience appealed to my culinary interest, and through sitting in class I also learned about effective teaching and lecturing  techniques. 

Fellow volunteers serving a holiday-themed meal at the senior center. 

Fellow volunteers serving a holiday-themed meal at the senior center. 

Educational Alliance, June 2014 - December 2014

Educational Alliance is a traditional settlement house (now more commonly known as a community center) in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. I was introduced to their work through my job at United Neighborhood Houses, as they were within the network of non-profit community centers that we worked to support. Educational Alliance's senior center serves thousands of subsidized or free meals to seniors in the area. As a mealtime volunteer, I would help dish food and bring it to seniors who are not as mobile. I loved interacting with the seniors, who often had such great attitudes and good stories to tell.