By Kemisa Kassa
I was born and raised in Southern California but relocated to North Carolina for school. I chose to continue my education at UNC Greensboro in the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Master’s program. I prioritize learning about social issues and equitable interventions. I am a first-generation college graduate, Sudanese American, and lifelong learner.
I found TABLE online when I was researching organizations in the Chapel Hill Carrboro area to volunteer. I wanted to give back to my community because I have always felt connected to supporting people’s basic needs. I understand what it’s like to not have my basic needs met because I grew up in a family of 10 and we struggled to obtain nutritional resources.
My parents were challenged with feeding our family so they relied on the food bank and non-governmental food resources for low-income families. When I was young I didn’t understand where all of the good food was coming from but I was always excited when they came home with bags of food, especially the bread because I loved PB&J’s. The help my parents received reduced their burden of trying to figure out our next meals.
I started volunteering with TABLE in 2021 and instantly felt connected to TABLE from the first moment and have worked with a lot of different people over the years. I started helping with the non-perishable bagging shift and after doing a few of these shifts, I decided to become a Team Leader because I loved being at TABLE.
In Spring 2023 I took on a new role as an intern and now I am able to work more on the volunteer experience. I often wonder what inspires volunteers to spend their free time giving back. For me, I was inspired to give back to the community because of my positive experiences with non-profits, food banks, and food drives as a child.
When I began volunteering with TABLE I wanted to spend at least one day a week giving back to the community. The volunteer work we did was so meaningful because we knew exactly how many children and families we were feeding! As I came back to TABLE every week, I felt myself building a connection with the other volunteers. We would socialize, pack the non-perishable bags, and work together in unison. Working as a team toward the same goal of feeding children in the Orange County community motivated and powered us through every volunteer shift.
It is very rewarding to now be someone who can provide others the same services my family and I once received in my youth. Being a part of TABLE has made a huge impact on my life. And, the work I do makes an impact on the lives of every family and child that receives TABLE’s services. I am privileged to do such important work.