2019 Summer Internship Spotlight: Guerdely Jean

2019 Summer Internship Spotlight: Guerdely Jean

Guerdely Jean interned with the Connecticut Food Bank in the summer of 2019.

Hi! My name is Guerdely Jean. I’m a Senior, Political Science and Human Rights double major with a minor in French. This summer, I am interning at the Connecticut Food Bank as their Community Partnerships and Programs intern. The mission of the Connecticut Food Bank is to provide nutritious food to people in need. While working with community coordinators to develop standards and a corresponding training to ensure those shopping out of the Connecticut Food Bank Programs and local partnerships are treated in a dignified way. I will also be working on food policy initiatives and developing a suite of child nutrition programs to be rolled out in Fall 2019. 

I’m at the Warehouse & Office of the Connecticut Food Bank in Wallingford, as the lead Community Partnerships and Programs Intern. Food Insecurity rates in Connecticut vary by county, town or city, and neighborhoods. CTFB has Mobile Food Pantries (on trucks), Food Pantries/Cupboards, and partnership programs to alleviate the burden of food insecurity.

Connecticut Food Bank Warehouse
This is the warehouse, a lot of the food is here ready for distribution and loaded on the trucks for drop off daily.

This summer at the CTFB has already been pretty busy. We are transitioning our Kids Backpack Program (which sent eligible children home with backpacks of shelf-stable items for the weekend). Now were are transitioning to CHIP (Child Hunger Impact Program) which will roll out in the Fall. CHIP will implement more School-based Mobile Food Pantries, Farmers Markets, and a Referral system so that more nutritious food is accessible to families within their communities. This is my main project for the summer. We are meeting with Superintendents across the state to inform them about the change and see what emergency food programs would work best in their communities. I am also conducting surveys at our mobile pantry sites and doing data analysis on food insecurity and childhood hunger, so CTFB can modify our mobile pantries. 

UDHR Article 25: Right to Adequate Standard of Living. The Connecticut Food Bank serves populations who are facing food insecurity. Often times we can take a meal for granted, and we view hunger as something that impacts us at the moment. When food security can be cyclical or sporadic, the only way to fight it is to end it. The Right to Food is a human right CTFB works to promote. All people should have food and meals that are not only nutritious but accessible to them.

This is a glimpse of my desk on a « good day » at CTFB. I’m the Lead Intern in the Community Partnerships & Programs Department. I usually get in to the office by 7:30/8. Recently I’ve been visiting many Mobile Pantries sites across Fairfield County. With the roll out of our new program in the fall (CHIP: Child Hunger Impact Program) I’ve been quite busy drafting a manual, doing data collection and analysis, and spending time in local communities. Every other Tuesday we have a LOOP meeting so departments can come together and share what they’re working on, ask questions about new programs, and spend time learning what others do at CTFB.

CTFB Bridgeport Warehouse Pop Up Distribution
CTFB Bridgeport Warehouse Pop Up Distribution

A piece of advice I’d give future human rights interns is to try and include something you are passionate about into the work you will do. When I was in the process of securing the internship at CTFB, I wanted to make sure that the work I was doing was going to be social justice oriented as the right for food is what I’m passionate about. Being able to include that into the work that I did, either in the field or in the office helped me not only grow as a human rights practitioner but also as a person. The experience and skills you will gain from your internships will impact your future, for the better. Luckily in human rights, the work that we intend to do often falls in line with what we are passionate about and activism. Take a chance and apply for an internship that peaks your interests and passions! 

Because of this internship I was exposed to how the right to food is directly impacted by someone’s standard of living. To work day in and day out to elevate food insecurity in our service areas has been an eye opening experience. The lessons I’ve learned from this internship I will carry with me in all the work I will continue to do as a human rights practitioner. The establishment of our School-based Mobile Pantries which will begin this fall has been the project I’ve worked the most on throughout the summer and I’m excited to see how it positively impacts the students and their schools.