My name is Spencer Brown. I was born and raised in Boise, Idaho. I went to college at Boise State University, where I studied Political Science with a double emphasis in International Relations and American Government and Politics. Last year, I served as a VISTA at the Houston Food Bank.
At the Houston Food Bank, which is the largest food bank in the country, I worked on a variety of projects. I worked on a SNAP Mobile Unit, a modified airport shuttle setup to assist clients with applying for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps. While working on this pilot program, I conducted surveys of clients and staff and did additional research to assess the benefits of the Houston Food Bank acquiring a unit for their own, full time use.
I met with partner agencies and churches in the counties outside of Harris County, where Houston is located, to discuss getting them involved in the SNAP and Groceries To Go Program, which, in addition to assisting clients with applying for SNAP, brings 10,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables directly into communities.
I helped recruit volunteers for different events. Meeting with people in person and utilizing social media, I was able to get people involved with the different food distributions done by Houston Food Bank. I was even able to recruit 37 volunteers to help with Martin Luther King Day of Service, which was a community event and food distribution that the food bank does annually.
I have written and contributed to several communications. I wrote posts for the Houston Food Bank’s Facebook and Twitter pages and was a regular contributor to the Houston Food Bank Partners e-newsletter.
In addition, I delivered presentations to potential partner agencies about services at the Houston Food Bank, gave tours of the Houston Food Bank to various groups, and assisted people with applying for SNAP.
I enjoyed my year as a VISTA in Houston, and I am looking forward to serving as a VISTA Leader with Arizona Serve this upcoming year!