Fearless: Heather Thomas
This week we would like to recognize recent graduate and AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer Heather Thomas ’13, who is returning to Gettysburg as the fearless new coordinator for the Adams County Food Policy Council.
The Council is a community initiative established in 2009 that seeks to eliminate food insecurity by providing families who fall into the food gap with nutritious yet affordable food. One of its biggest initiatives, Healthy Options, provides families with food vouchers to be used at the local farmers markets that run from June to September. It also organizes a variety of health-focused community events such as cooking classes, workshops at the Painted Turtle Farm, hiking trips, and yoga sessions. The Council also compiles a Local Foods Resource Guide that identifies where fresh and healthy food is available in Adams County.
AmeriCorps VISTA, the program through which Heather is working, is a federal volunteer initiative started by President John F. Kennedy in 1965 with the intent of fighting poverty in the US. VISTA volunteers specifically work at the organizational level, partnering with and working to expand different projects that seek to provide and develop economic, educational, and health resources in low-income communities.
Though she works for the Council, Heather’s office will be located at the College in the Center for Public Service. One of the jobs to which she is looking forward is continuing to strengthen the relationship between the College and the Council. So many Gettysburg students don’t “know what’s going on around them,” and she hopes to change this while also providing people with healthy, fresh food. In addition, Heather will be working with and encouraging College faculty and staff to conduct more participant-based research on food sustainability and nutrition in Gettysburg and to include their students in this process.
This week we would like to give a shout-out to Camille Horton ’12, our previous coordinator and AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer. Today is her last day in the office, after which she will fearlessly be taking on the next chapter of her life, taking steps to pursue a master’s degree in public health and nutrition.