We were fortunate to have one of the most dedicated group of student volunteers, both Student Ambassadors and Direct-Service Volunteers, through the Shriver Center's PRAC 096 working with us in Fall 2019. Here are some of their reflections about serving UMBC through Retriever Essentials. We look forward to starting Spring 2020 with a similar level of passion and grit!
Kenneth Addo: Volunteering at Retriever Essentials has been very rewarding for me. I learned about a program that helps students who are food insecure and how to help contribute. This service has broadened my mind on the different problems students may face on campus and I am glad to be able to help them out.
Tamia Bowers: My time spent volunteering with Retriever Essentials this semester has gone above my expectations as compared to my previous volunteer experience. Concise, rewarding, and manageable. I’ve enjoyed much of my time while serving to better my community and fill the needs of those who utilize the services of RE. There is no doubt that RE's impact can be seen throughout our humble campus and will continue to grow and provide our community with the support, care, and respect that has grown within the program.
Fehintola Elizabeth Bright-Awonuga: Coming to UMBC as a freshman last school year I became affiliated with Retriever Essentials through the Shriver Center’s PRAC 096. I have volunteered with Retriever Essentials for two years now and I am now a part of the Student Leadership Board. I have the growth over the past two years and the impact it has had on the lives of fellow faculty, staff, and students. I do not regret my decision of joining this team because I have seen the first-hand the seed this organization has sown. The seed is continuing to sprout, grow, and blossom into something bigger than it once was.
Alex Gwizdala: Volunteering with Retriever Essentials was a great way for me to feel connected to the UMBC community. As a first-semester freshman, I was feeling out of place on campus when the semester started. When I started volunteering, I felt much more involved in the community. Being able to meet so many great people and knowing that my work was having an impact was an amazingly rewarding experience.
Stephen Isabell: Retriever essentials is a necessity. Retriever Essentials is full of love, teamwork, and community. While volunteering for Retriever Essentials, I felt every one of those things I felt so empowered that I am apart of the solution to ending food security. No one should have to go hungry in this world.
Stephanie Koshy: I started volunteering at Retriever Essentials at the beginning of my first semester at UMBC. When starting college, I wanted to find an organization that I could volunteer at that was similar to the volunteer work I did at my high school. Luckily, I was able to find that Retriever Essentials, I have enjoyed working with Retriever Essentials to help other students on campus overcome food insecurity. I learned a lot about food insecurity and how we can combat this worldwide problem through Retriever Essentials at UMBC. I look forward to volunteering in the Spring.
Brian Lynch: Working with Retriever Essentials made me feel fulfilled. Everyone I worked with was part of a larger community helping those in need. I enjoyed sauntering around campus in the crisp fall air to deliver and pick up food bags. Moving shelves to the new pantry was an exciting time as well. Retriever Essentials made me realize the problem of food insecurity on campus and how to address it.
Zara Mahmood: Retriever Essentials has been a great group to work with in my first year as a UMBC student. Working with them has made me feel integrated in the school. Being a part of such an amazing group that impacts so many lives has been a wonderful experience. Everyone in Retriever Essentials is very welcoming which makes it better.
Dera Osuigwe: Have you ever felt the love of a community? Have you ever seen people from different works of life come together to tackle a problem? Have you ever seen people so passionate about what they do? Well, let me tell you, I HAVE!! Retriever Essentials is a place where people give their time and joy. It is a place where students come from a community to help the community. Retriever Essentials is a program that shows unity, love, and gratitude.
Sabtain Saroya: Retriever Essential is a community of like-minded individuals influencing the broader UMBC community in an impactful way. This amazing organization is setting a precedent for what it means to/how to fight the issue of food insecurity.
Zoe Smith: Retriever Essentials is an incredibly unique experience. Although the distribution of the food bags is anonymous and done by campus partners, rather than the pantry itself, it is still incredibly easy to see the impact of the program. From seeing food fly off the shelves as campus partners request more bags to deliver the bags and seeing how excited the staff are for the new bags the appreciation for Retriever Essentials is evident and helps you feel that you really are helping to make a difference in your own community.