#FRNSpeaks: Allie Sklarew, Goucher College FRN

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My name is Allie Sklarew, and I am the president of our chapter at Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland. I am a junior, and I am a Public Policy major. I am from Rockville, Maryland. I am interested in politics, including findings way to make a positive change in people’s lives.

I joined my chapter when I saw the table at the involvement fair my first year, and knew that FRN was right for me. I was involved in Campus Kitchen, a similar organization to FRN, in high school and FRN reminded me of the work I did then. I went to every meeting, and soon enough, the executive board started giving me tasks to work on. They must have seen something good in me because shortly after, they asked if I wanted to join the executive board. The rest is history. I started as an executive board member first semester my first year all the way to the end of sophomore year. When our presidents graduated, I took over this year as our club president.

What makes me passionate about FRN is how we don't need more supplies or resources to make a difference. We just recover food that would have been thrown out and give someone a meal. It's such a simple, easy way to change someone's life, which makes it amazing and so worthwhile. I love that FRN becomes my weekly giving-back activity. As a student, I get SO wrapped up in school life and other crazy things, so having FRN as an outlet to do something good is extremely rewarding. Food is something that brings us all together despite our differences. All human beings need food, so participating in food recovery is a great way to make a difference to everyone and anyone.

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I attended the 2017 National Food Recovery Dialogue because I really enjoyed going to it last year! I really enjoyed hearing from the panels of people facing homelessness both years, as our partner agency serves homeless residents. With both conferences being near Baltimore, it was easy to travel with my chapter. NFRD has been super inspiring and extremely useful to learn new ways and skills to bring back to our chapter. I really like meeting students from different chapters and getting to hear their experiences and stories.

One thing that really stood out to me is how receptive my freshman chapter members were to this conference. They really got into it, and always approached speakers to ask more questions. In my mind, I can see the success of the conference and progress of my chapter members. I really liked hearing from Tony Hillery from Harlem Grown speak about starting gardens in less well-to-do areas and helping the students learn skills not only to eat healthier but to change their lifestyle. The more intimate parts of NFRD, like the breakout sessions, really allowed to me to learn more about what other chapters are doing and what is and is not working for them. Both the successes and struggles of other chapters taught me things I can use to improve my own chapter.

In conclusion, I really love being part of such a wonderful movement that changes so many lives for the better. Giving back in this way makes me more grateful for the wonderful life I am able to live and thrive in. I try to keep a positive attitude in both this work and with my life in general,  as I see so many people at our partner agency smiling despite all the things they deal with. I am always in awe of all the wonderful work everyone does for FRN, and I can’t wait to see all the amazing work they continue to do.