Fighting Food Insecurity

Brenna Jorgensen, a junior at UMass Amherst majoring in Education and Social Change, is a volunteer at CHD’s Not Bread Alone community meal program in Amherst. Many of Not Bread Alone’s guests are homeless or live in nearby subsidized housing.

She said she’s interested in food insecurity and she loves to cook. “Volunteering for Not Bread Alone is a great way to mesh the two things I’m interested in,” she said.

Amherst is the quintessential college town, culturally rich with tree-lined streets, but there is also a rising homeless population, and food insecurity is a problem here. “Students and faculty put a lot of pressure on the local housing market, and this pushes people into more financially stressful situations,” said Brenna.

She pointed out that COVID has exacerbated food insecurity—especially for children. “There was a point early on in the pandemic when children weren’t in school and couldn’t access school breakfast and lunch programs,” she said.

Her mother is a social worker, and like her mother, Brenna believes in helping others. She is motivated to work with disadvantaged populations “because I believe that sharing one’s resource—mental, emotional, and physical resources—to uplift others is a responsibility that comes with living in communities and as a society at large.”

Brenna described volunteering at Not Bread Alone as “incredibly gratifying.” She loves “working as a team” to create delicious meals. “I think people are often surprised at the quality of the meals we produce here,” she said. “I also like being able to interact with the people we serve. They’re obviously grateful for the food.”