This is a conversation with Annie Masterson who is interning in the Development Department at Bread for the World. Annie shares about her interest in Bread, her experience during this year’s Advocacy Summit, and her passion for protecting the Earth. Annie is from San Antonio and the daughter of a pastor. She is a rising senior at Sewanee: The University of the South in Tennessee, double majoring in biology and politics.
What led you to intern with us?
This past semester I took a course titled “The Politics of Poverty and Inequality.” It was one of the first times in my life I truly began to understand poverty in America and the systems and institutions that perpetuate it. Around the same time, I was searching for a summer internship and someone at Sewanee connected me to Bread. It felt as though God was calling me to put what I had learned into action.
You attended our annual Advocacy Summit. How was the experience?
It was incredibly inspiring to be surrounded by staff and people from all over the country who were passionate and faithful about Bread’s mission. I loved getting to hear people’s stories and I was constantly in awe of people’s bravery to be vulnerable. I also loved getting to hear Eugene’s talk. It felt as the entire room was captivated by his storytelling and his passion for the work that Bread is doing.
Did you go to the Hill and visit with lawmakers? What was that like?
Yes, I went to the Hill with the Southwest region, led by Lupe Conchas. We had a team of eight that had come from Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico to share why the work that Bread is doing with children nutrition waivers and the Global Malnutrition Prevention and Treatment Act personally impacts their lives. Towards the end of the day, our team took advantage of the opportunity to attend a committee hearing for the Energy and Natural Resources committee in one of the Senate office buildings. As we were waiting in the hallway, Elizabeth Warren walked past us. She is someone who’s passion I have always admired and luckily Lupe was brave enough to stop and introduce himself to her. We got the opportunity to take a photo with Senator Warren and quickly speak about the Global Malnutrition Prevention and Treatment Act. It was the perfect end to a day full of faithful advocacy and passionate discussions about the fight to end hunger.
Sometimes people feel intimidated visiting their members of Congress. What’s the best advice you could give someone now that you’ve done it yourself?
I felt as though I was significantly underqualified to be a part of these meetings. However, I realized two things. The first was that congressional offices genuinely appreciate when their constituents show up, in person, to speak with them about issues. In every meeting, we were met with kindness and open minds about what we were advocating for. Secondly, when you get the opportunity to visit Congress and advocate for something you care deeply about, it is an incredibly powerful experience. It can absolutely be intimidating when you’re walking through the polished halls of Congress. However, when you get to put your faithfulness into action in those meetings, those feelings outweigh the intimidation. Also wear comfortable shoes! The halls of Congress are very long!
What are your future plans?
My plans after college are unknown but here is what I do know. I love Ecology and learning more about sustainability and how to protect this beautiful Earth that God gave us. I have also found a new love for politics and especially advocacy, which Bread has taught me a lot about already. I am hoping to pursue a master’s degree after college. However, I have yet to figure what that degree will be in! In my short time at Bread, I have come to love faith-based advocacy. I love that in every conversation we have, it comes back to our mission to end hunger and doing God’s work. Being a small part of this community has meant so much to me and I hope that in my future I can work in a place that holds similar values.