Jacob, age 28.

Host site: North Helpline in Seattle, WA

“I’ve moved three times this year—from Chicago to El Paso to Seattle. I had been living in California for a few years, but I decided to move back home to Chicago to be with my family. I worry about my parents a lot. Though they take care of themselves, they’re older, and COVID cases are rising in Illinois.

At the beginning of the pandemic, I lost my job as an office assistant for a union in Chicago. Luckily, I was okay. I had some savings and was living with my family. Finding work has been hard though, and it’s been a stressful year. I’ve gone back and forth on my career path, and so I was hoping this year could help me define what I wanted to do. The Response Corps has been such a blessing, and I’m grateful to work as a volunteer coordinator at North Helpline. I coordinate the volunteers, answer emails, and walk volunteers through the warehouse. On the days we don’t have enough volunteers, I step in and take their place. We also do home delivery, which is just the coolest. We get to set people up with food who can’t come in. It’s been awesome to pack food that is both nourishing and culturally appropriate – kosher, halal, gluten-free, and other options. Anyone can come to the food bank. Just tell us how many people are in your family, and we’re happy to give you food! It’s been fulfilling to help our neighbors.

Our food bank is more than a food bank—it helps community members know that there is this backbone in the community where they can get food reliably. We also provide services to help people, including rental assistance, gift cards for the holidays, coats, and hygiene products. Knowing that there is a place you can go, three times a week, and be able to talk to somebody and get the help you need–it’s so important; we’re so isolated right now. One of my favorite things about North Helpline is that we’re a community of neighbors. It’s all of us together as one community, helping one another.”


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