Each day there was something different happening at Abundance. Each day it was something special that made my summer meaningful.
It was meeting the people. I looked forward to the weekly Monday meetings where attendees shared personal and professional life updates. These meetings allowed me to not only learn how much needed to be accomplished in order for Abundance to flourish but also to learn the life stories and characteristics that made the Abundance team, Tami, Charlotte, Jen, Hannah, and Alisa, so unique and admirable.
Hannah, the Intern Development Wonder Woman, spoke each of her words with such intention. Her laugh is infectious and intelligence is inspiring. She has an ability to make you feel like you have the capability to do anything. My favorite day with Hannah was when we walked through the streets of Durham canvassing for Pepperfest. It was a sweaty day full of conversations with restaurant chefs/managers, exploration, and laughter. She is such a selfless human who is so nonchalant in all her giving actions, whether it was giving her hat to a homeless man for protection against the sun or giving change to help a passerby navigate the parking meter. I whole-heartedly appreciate moments like these spent with Hannah and the entire team that taught me so much.
It was attending the events. One day Tami said that she wanted the Abundance events to make people cock their head to the side, to make them intrigued and maybe uncertain. I loved this. I can say that the events, ones that are not similar to any other functions that I have been to, did this for me. Throughout the summer, I was able to help organize, set up, and attend Amuse Bouche, The Climate Carnival, the Bereavement Ball, and Bikes and Barnyards. At Amuse Bouche and The Climate Carnival, I learned about climate change from such varying perspectives and talked with dedicated community members with companies fighting against environmental challenges. I attended the Bereavement Ball, an evening whose dress code was “decaying beauty,” where there were songs, poems, and stories about death and loss. Death and grief can be a taboo in our world, and after being part of an event that celebrates, that fosters conversations about life and death, I learned that doing this is a necessity.
At Bikes and Barnyards, I cooked farm to table lunches with the kids and saw such excited campers as they learned about the environment, biking, and an array of new skills. In my life and studies, I am passionate about topics like education, nutrition, and the environment. Therefore, it was an honor to be with Abundance NC whose values align so closely with mine and passionately works to promote these ideas and so many others.
It was being able to work with this team and to understand the importance of what they do. Because of the events I attended and discussions I had, I learned how there is an abundance of resources, love, laughter, knowledge, skills, exceptional people, and determination in our local communities, in this world. I think people neglect this. I think people forget the importance of human connection. Abundance, then, has the magical power of bringing people together, highlighting positives that people have to offer, stimulating conversation, and helping with personal growth and healing. That is a lot, but they certainly do it well.
So, thank you Abundance for your authenticity, your mission, and your determination to make the world a better place.
Katie Starr is a nutrition major with the Gillings School of Public Health at UNC Chapel Hill. She is passionate about social and environmental justice, healthy food access for all and children. Abundance NC was her summer internship and she jumped in to the many different projects and summer camp with much enthusiasm.