SAXTONS RIVER—Two Keene State College students recently spent time as interns at Our Place Drop-in Center in Bellows Falls learning about the charitable food system and applying some of what they have learned in the dietetics program at Keene State College.
Katherine Rosenthal of Des Moines, Iowa, and Dani Cuddeback of Seattle worked alongside the staff at Our Place three days a week for three weeks, according to a news release. Among their activities were interviewing clients about what they like to eat and how they access food, making chicken noodle soup, creating recipes for monthly home deliveries, reviewing food-safety training with staff, looking at the nutritional requirements of clients with diabetes, and making signs to encourage hand-washing and enrollment in the SNAP program.
Their work fit into a standard framework of 12 activities required by the Keene State program. Other activities as fourth-year interns include exposure to the Vermont Foodbank, local farms, hospitals, New Hampshire Community Action, and the Women and Children program. They will do two more rotations in January and April and then take a national exam to become registered dietitians.
Rosenthal said they will spend three weeks at Fertile Field Farms and at the Sullivan Center for Sustainable Agriculture.
“We get to see how bad food insecurity is,” she said, “and what the barriers are to accessing food.”
Our Place director Lisa Pitcher said it was nice to have young people in the building.
“There’s been cross-fertilization as we’ve shared ideas,” she said.
Rosenthal said she was impressed that Pitcher and her staff are focusing on nutrition, citing the increase of fresh produce distributed from 396,062 pounds in 2012-13 to 2,109,000 pounds in 2015-16.
“There are so many different areas where Our Place has an impact,” she said. “Little things like snack packs, nutrition education, recipes, including more veggies in home deliveries, and being aware of the nutrition requirement of people with diabetes.”