I’m genuinely awful at every form of writing that isn’t either political or academic, so please bear with me. Life as a VISTA has been challenging in way more ways than expected. I speak only for myself, but maybe another may find something similar that speaks truth to their own experience. My supervisor and community are all supportive and aid with the advancement of Montana No Kid Hungry’s mission. Honestly, if it weren’t for the team that we have here, I wouldn’t know what I was doing. Each person here is a professional and carries a wealth of knowledge and experience that I, as a bougie East Coast university student, wouldn’t have.

It took a bit to get acquainted with the community. I do look a bit different than most of those that I am serving, which is fine, but sometimes a little alienating. Thankfully, I got the opportunity to make a couple close friends within the community. I even got “adopted” by a church organist who wears a cowboy hat while playing. Within a month, I went from being completely unknown to getting constant invites to dinner.

Today, August 29th, has been the most happening day since I arrived. The kids are (finally) back in school, which opens up the door for implementing the Breakfast After the Bell program. Up until this point, we have been just getting things in order and introducing me to various parts of the community. In college I had focused on studying both politics and religion, which I have been trying to use as a catalyst for bringing in volunteers and small funding for events. At the moment, the community has been mostly welcoming to the No Kid Hungry mission. I have been met with skepticism by some groups, but thankfully feeding hungry children is a pretty nonpolitical goal and open to various religious groups. I look forward to the coming year and what it holds for this city.

Gabe Fresa
PRC AmeriCorps VISTA serving with Montana No Kid Hungry
Great Falls, MT