By Jim Wrobel
Special to GoHolyCross.com
Senior member of the softball program Amber Jones (Manorville, N.Y.) is spending the summer interning at Jeremiah's Inn which is a nonprofit organization in Worcester that is a residential recovery program for men and is also an emergency food pantry. On July 15-20 between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., Jeremiah's Inn will be holding its 19th annual Summer Food Drive. The Food Drive will be located at Webster Square Plaza (68 Stafford Street) in Worcester outside of Shaw's. Jeremiah's Inn will be collecting non-perishable food items, baby food, diapers and toiletries.
Jones, who is a member of the Holy Cross Leadership Academy and was named to the 2012 and 2013 Patriot League Academic Honor Rolls, recently talked to GoHolyCross.com about her internship.
GoHolyCross.com: What made you want to intern at Jeremiah's Inn?
Amber Jones: I wanted to intern at Jeremiah's Inn this summer because I am interested in the field of substance abuse and, along with having an emergency food pantry, Jeremiah's runs a residential recovery program within their facilities for men who would otherwise be homeless.
GoHolyCross.com: What is a typical day like and what are examples of things you do there?
Jones: There really is no "typical" day at Jeremiah's as my tasks vary widely day by day. A lot of my time is spent with the Case Managers who run the recovery program and that includes sitting in on meetings with residents, helping with paperwork and other tasks that Case Managers do during the day. At other times I am in the front office filing and working on getting everything set up for our annual food drive which is happening this month.
GoHolyCross.com: What have you learned from your internship so far?
Jones: I have learned so much from my internship so far, it would be impossible to share it all. I think most importantly, though, I have learned not only how to work with residents, but have also had the opportunity to see how programs like these work behind the scenes and what it takes to provide services like this to those who need them.
GoHolyCross.com: How important is the summer food drive?
Jones: The summer food drive is very important because it helps to fill the food pantry. Throughout the year many food pantries receive wonderful donations, especially around the holidays, but during the summer months donating food is often at the back of people's minds. Because of this, the food pantry is not always fully stocked. Also, with school being out, many low income families struggle to provide three full meals for their children. Because many children from low income families rely on school lunches, which are often unavailable during the summer, families must now find a way to provide extra meals each day. For a family who is struggling financially, this can be a very big burden and unfortunately many children will go to bed hungry because there is simply no way to provide these extra meals. Thus, if our food drive is successful, it will not only help us stock up our food pantry enough to provide food to families in need, but will help these families with children who are on summer break.
GoHolyCross.com: What types of things have you had to do to get ready for the summer food drive?
Jones: Recently the summer food drive has become a project that I have worked very closely with. There are a lot of little things that need to be done for it in order to make sure that we are ready to go for the week. Advertising was a big aspect of that. We went around to a lot of stores and businesses in the area letting them know about the food drive and asking them to get involved in one way or another.
GoHolyCross.com: Can you talk about the other things you are doing this summer and what is a typical day like as far as balancing everything?
Jones: Along with interning at Jeremiah's Inn, I also work on campus for Wellness Programming. I have a few different projects that I have worked on throughout the summer including Gateways Orientation, Student Health 101 and some other, more behind the scenes work. It has been a little challenging managing both the internship and this job, just because every now and then there is something at Jeremiah's that I have to do that interferes with work. The food drive will be one of those instances because that is a full day affair and I still have to find time to go into work on campus. But Fran Taylor, the Director of Wellness Programming, and the rest of the staff have been extremely understanding and allow me to move my schedule around to fit everything in. Typically though, I will work in the mornings at Jeremiah's and then head over to campus later in the afternoon and work for Wellness Programming.
GoHolyCross.com: What are you looking forward to most about your senior year?
Jones: The thing I'm most looking forward to senior year is spending time with my friends. This is going to be the last year that we will all be in the same place and I just want to cherish that as much as possible!
GoHolyCross.com: Has your experiences this summer been a factor at all in your determination of what you might want to do after graduation?
Jones: My experiences this summer have definitely helped me to determine what I want to do after graduation. Going into this I knew that I found the field of addictions interesting, but had a few reservations and wasn't sure I was actually going to enjoy it. Working at Jeremiah's has shown me that it is something that I really enjoy and I feel more confident now in my decision to look into this field further.
Go here for more information on Jeremiah's Inn.
Go here for more information on the food drive.