Meet the Summer Youth Ambassadors – Brook DeMarque

Hello! I’m Brook DeMarque and I am interning here at Hunger Free Heartland for the summer. This fall I will be going into my senior year at the University of Iowa (Go Hawks!). I am a double major in Journalism/Mass Communications and Sports Studies, while I am also minoring in Sport and Recreation Management. I work as a Resident Assistant at Iowa and have loved doing that job for the past two years, and look forward to doing it my senior year as well. I am involved in campus radio at Iowa as well. Iowa City has proven to be an excellent home away from home for the past three years. I am from the Council Bluffs/Omaha metro area and I love it here in the midwest.

A little more about me: I love being outside. My ideal day is 75 degrees and sunny with a slight breeze, as it is the perfect weather for hammocking, camping, and hiking. Dogs are my weakness. I find it very rude when someone doesn’t let me pet their dog (I promise I’m not carrying the plague just let me pet your dog!!). I am very into sports (hence the sports studies degree), and I am an avid fan of Pittsburgh sports (Go Penguins, Steelers and Pirates!). I am patiently waiting for the day Pittsburgh (or Omaha) gets an NBA team. I love to learn and experience new things. Currently, I am trying to teach myself the ukulele, in hopes that I can become slightly more musically talented.

I really started to notice food insecurity when I got to college. At a public university with over 30,000 students enrolled, there is bound to be a large number of students struggling to come up with their next meal. I didn’t realize just how large this issue was until this past year. One of my coworkers that volunteers at the Iowa City Food Bank told me that most of the people that go to the food bank are students, and a large number of those students are homeless. That shocked me. College is as expensive and unaffordable as ever, and some of these students have to choose between having a place to live and getting their education.

When searching for an internship for the summer, I stumbled across Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign, and saw that they were offering an internship through Hunger Free Heartland, and knew that I had to apply. The stats on food insecurity shocked me, and I knew that I could do something about it and make a difference. One in six children nationally are food insecure, and that number should resonate with everyone. If you aren’t food insecure, the overwhelming odds say that you know multiple people that are. We live in a country that is developed enough to prevent this, and yet it still happens. If we can all work together, we can figure out a solution and end this issue that should never have been an issue in the first place.

I have greatly enjoyed my first few weeks at Hunger Free Heartland. It is exciting to be getting experience in an office setting, where I have the flexibility to work on projects related to my future career aspirations. Above all, I love helping people, and this job lets me do that, which is phenomenal. It’s nice knowing that I can help people in my community and make a difference. It is unacceptable to me that any child should go without a meal. So let’s come together, get to work, and do something about it.

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