We asked comedian, writer, producer and actress Phoebe Robinson about what Black History Month means to her, and why volunteering at food pantries and food banks has been an important part of her life.
Hunger Blog: In the last year, you’ve volunteered at a food bank and food pantry in New York City. Why did you start volunteering? What made you interested in hunger relief efforts?
Phoebe Robinson: My friend told me she’d done some volunteering with the food bank and she said I’d really enjoy it. So, I reached out and was able to volunteer at a few of City Harvest’s mobile markets, as well as one of their partner agencies, the Bowery Mission.
Hunger is such a major issue in a big city like New York – and across the country. And I love New York and while it can be an intimidating place, it can also be an incredibly loving one, with organizations like the food bank and Feeding America that are examples of that love. And who doesn’t love love?!
HB: What is the volunteer experience like? What keeps you coming back?
PR: Volunteering has been wonderful. Everyone is so nice and as someone whose career is built upon interacting with others, it's been great chatting with the people who are getting food to eat. Also, the food banks and Feeding America are making a real difference and when you see an organization rolling up their sleeves and truly digging into the work, it inspires you to want to stick around and join them in their efforts.
HB: What does Black History Month mean for you? Knowing Black communities are disproportionately impacted by hunger, why might it be especially important to support hunger-relief efforts year round?
PR: Hunger is an ongoing problem. I know we live in a world where we're contending with a multitude of pressing issues, but hunger shouldn't be one of them. Everyone deserves to have food and be able to live a productive life. If you're hungry and don’t have access to the food you need, it's incredibly hard to function. And it's easy to think about this during the holidays, but people need food every day and until everyone is able to have daily access to food, it's important for all of us to think about this and support hunger-relief year round.
Want to volunteer? Find your local food bank and learn what you can do to make a difference in your community.