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How my Congressional Hunger Center internship gave me career path clarity

Editor’s note: Each year, Kellogg sponsors one summer intern at the Congressional Hunger Center, a global nonprofit dedicated to the principle that access to nutritious, affordable and culturally appropriate food is a basic human right. Nerissa Ng, a student at Binghamton University, served as one of the Center’s Zero Hunger interns in Washington, D.C., this year. The 10-week paid internship program helps participants gain work experience at anti-hunger organizations as they develop professional skills and grow as leaders. Here, Nerissa describes her experience during the internship. 

My parents immigrated from Singapore and settled in Long Island, where I grew up. As one of the most affluent areas in the U.S., government assistance was far from common. My family’s reliance on programs such as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) was not a point of pride for us.

Yet, through getting involved in food pantries and anti-hunger initiatives in my own community, I realized that my own experience impassioned me to advocate for legislators to address hunger. My experience in seeing how government policies regarding assistance programs truly affected my family gives me a strong, empathetic voice in speaking about them.

This year, the Kellogg Company internship was specifically designated to work with Share Our Strength because of the organization’s focus on childhood hunger. Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign is focused on meals for all.  

I worked directly on the advocacy and government relations team. I advocated for SNAP to be put in the upcoming farming bill and maintained relations with external groups, like corporate and non-profit partners and legislative offices. I also participated in Hill Day, where we brought in chefs from around the nation to speak to legislators on Capitol Hill about childhood hunger and the importance of summer Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT). That experience further strengthened my desire to work in hunger advocacy. 

Through the Congressional Hunger Center, I participated in another Hill Day event focused on amplifying young voices, called Gen Z on The Hill Day. My fellow Zero Hunger Interns and I went to the Capitol to speak with Senators and Representatives about addressing college hunger through legislation. My experience working with my own university college food pantry and other anti-college-hunger non-profits shone here.

We were able to talk to representatives from our own counties, in addition to elected officials from other districts. As someone who grew up on food stamps, the opportunity taught me how to tell my story in a persuasive way so legislators could take something away from it. I also learned how to directly ask for the offices’ support on legislation, often closing our meeting with a clear, “We would love if you would support this bill.”

Overall, the internship pushed me into wanting to do government relations work. It strengthened my interest in advocacy.  

The Kellogg Company partnership with Share Our Strength and organizations like it is one of the ways we’re fulfilling our Kellogg’s Better Days® Promise commitments to advance sustainable and equitable access to food by the end of 2030. 

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