Summer Interns Help Advance Bread's Mission
A Desire to Make a Difference
Picture a 12-year-old boy, living in the American south, completing long federal assistance forms for his parents, who cannot write in English. He’s young enough to feel resentful for his task. Years later, he’ll realize his translation skills helped to feed his hungry family.
Ten years later, that young man — Alejandro Macias — is one of Bread for the World’s summer interns, serving in the Development and Membership department. His firsthand experiences with hunger helped change his worldview—and his desire to make a difference.
Alejandro’s internship was sponsored by the Goldsmith Discerning Student Support Fund, which extends support to a University of the South (Sewanee, Tenn.) student exploring a vocational call. His eye for detail has helped to improve Bread for the World’s membership database.
Alejandro cites June’s National Gathering as a highlight of his summer. “Seeing the passion of Bread for the World members was affirming,” he says, adding that the same is true of Bread’s staff members, whom he calls welcoming and inspiring. “On my last day, I was hurrying around, saying goodbye to everyone. It was hard for me to leave,” he admits.
Bread’s internship program enables college students and recent graduates to contribute their skills for Bread’s mission, while benefiting from supervised learning, personal development, and work experience. This summer, 13 interns worked in nine departments.
Like Alejandro, Theresa Martin is a college student who traveled far from home to serve as an intern this summer. Theresa has had extensive experience working in direct service. She appreciated seeing how advocacy on behalf of hungry and poor people can change the policies and conditions that allow hunger to persist.
Theresa, a San Francisco native, credits her faith for leading her to Bread for the World and to the work of creating a more just world. “I asked myself, ‘If I really believe that Jesus called us to walk beside the poor, what can this look like in my own life?’”
As part of the Church Relations department, Theresa helped stage the National Gathering in June. She was especially impressed to experience firsthand the passionate community Bread for the World has built, people working together across denominations for an important cause. Her experience helping to mount a major several-day event and paying visits to the offices of Sens. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) boosted her skills and confidence.
“I feel comfortable lobbying now. I can easily see myself at home in San Francisco, speaking to elected officials,” she says.
Theresa plans to bring Bread for the World’s message to her home church of St. Brendan’s, San Francisco, and to the campus ministry at St. Louis University. “The system needs to be transformed. I believe we are called as Christians to go to the root of this problem and fix it.”
For his part, Alejandro Macias plans to continue working as an advocate on behalf of those in need when he returns to the University of the South this fall. “As a child and even now as a college student, I still don’t completely understand how, in the richest nation on earth, people can still work two jobs and not have enough to feed their families.
“Everyone should be able to eat. It’s a basic human right.”