Sarah Liewer – Child Nutrition Access Coordinator
As soon as I saw the job posting with Hunger Free Heartland, I jumped on the opportunity. I had been working as a health coach for the better part of a year and while I loved working with individuals to improve their lifestyles, I became more aware of the bigger picture each and every day. Here in America, we have a food access problem. Yes, I was working with people who were often making bad choices, but often it came down to external factors that had led to a decline in their health. I was constantly trying to fix the problems after years of damage and I saw the job at Hunger Free Heartland as an opportunity to work with the issues, such as lack of resources and nutrition education, on a greater scale and have more of a preventative impact.
I have long had a passion for food insecurity and the impacts that it has on community health. I studied Dietetics and Sustainability at Iowa State University and would seek out opportunities on campus, in the community, and internationally that would not only lead to personal growth, but also a greater understanding of the issues people face when it comes to food access. In college, I had a couple different opportunities to learn about nutrition and food on a global scale. I worked at the Food and Agriculture Organization in Italy to add data to and raise awareness of a food composition database to promote biodiversity. And that opportunity led me to a service learning course in Peru where I was able to learn about rural nutrition and community interventions. The experience led me to a greater understanding of barriers to community health and behavior change. With my new position, I am able to connect what I learned working with individuals, and on a much larger scale, to the Omaha metro area and Nebraska as a whole.
Thus far, working with HFH has been everything I hoped for and more. I continue to learn more and more every day about food insecurity and apply my past experiences to my current work. My belief in sustainable change for food access and security align with the values of Hunger Free Heartland as we work to connect all of the players that are working towards the common goal of food security in Nebraska. As the Child Nutrition Access Coordinator, I am able to balance research and raising awareness through action, to create more of a lasting impact, not just treating the problem. I couldn’t be more thankful and excited to be part of the change that HFH is working toward!