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Career Educator Finds New Ways to Serve

The child of a pastor and a schoolteacher, Ernestine Wilson was taught that “anything we have can be a blessing to others.” Now she gives her time to help feed those in need. 

As a volunteer for Second Harvest since March, Ernestine has assembled BackPacks for children, packed commodity food boxes for seniors, directed traffic at drive-thru Mobile Pantry sites, and more. 

She says volunteering looks different during the pandemic. Volunteers wear masks and practice no-contact food distribution. But despite the risks to their own health, volunteers give the same personal, compassionate service as always. 

“When you give to others, you take the focus off of yourself,” she says, which is an important reminder during a time when so many are struggling. For Ernestine, volunteering with Second Harvest is about putting aside your own comfort to do something important for others. 

Throughout her career as an educator in New Orleans and then in Nashville, she has seen firsthand the need for nutritious food during school and after, which is why she always kept a small food pantry in her room. “You never know what the children are dealing with at home,” she says. “They don’t always know where their next meal is coming from.” 

The holidays are especially hard for families in need. Like many of us, Ernestine’s holiday celebrations have always happened around a dinner table. Her mother cooks a large meal for her children, cousins, and neighbors that stop by. Volunteering with Second Harvest is one way to bring some of that holiday spirit to those struggling with hunger. 

“I would suggest you go and give your time,” she says. “There’s nothing like that feeling.”

Join Ernestine in helping provide food for those in need by signing up for a volunteer shift today.

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