Kellogg Company Newsroom – Social K

Editor’s Note: Kellogg Company sponsors a Zero Hunger intern each summer at the Congressional Hunger Center. James Ziegeweid of Minnesota State University, Mankato is this year’s sponsored intern. He worked on projects for the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) during his 10-week residency and shares his experience here. The FRAC is a longtime partner of Kellogg, advancing sustainable and equitable access to food as part of its Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Better Days Promise strategy.

I’m entering my third year at Minnesota State Mankato, where I’m majoring in business management with minors in Spanish, agricultural and food innovation, and political science. I’m originally from the small town of Arcadia, Wisconsin, and have grown up on a farm all my life.

This is what got me interested in food and hunger, although when I applied for the Congress Center Against Hunger internship, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do after graduation.

Part of the Hunger Center’s mission is to develop, inspire and connect young leaders in the movement to end hunger. The Hunger Center’s Zero Hunger Internship program has offered paid internships to students like me. I thank Kellogg Company for funding my internship salary, as internships in Washington, DC are generally unpaid.

As a result, the internship is highly competitive – the Hunger Center had over 500 applicants for 14 positions.

While here, I created an Advocacy Guide for States’ Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) Programs and created a chart that visualizes different states’ P-EBT plans and tracks states whose plans have been approved.

I also created a technical support survey that Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) distributed to different partners to see what technical assistance – think about educational programs, how to apply for federal and local grants, etc. – is provided and what else the partners need.

The FRAC then forwards this information to the USDA to lobby for more help if needed.

This internship really changed my life.

I was able to learn from people who have been working to eradicate hunger – some of them for 36 years. It’s very inspiring and shows me what I can do to be an advocate.

I think the most important thing I learned was that before this internship, I worked more at the direct service level with people who were hungry at the time, like the campus kitchen at school . But this internship gave me the opportunity to see the different policy options that exist to fight hunger on a larger scale. I think these options are very powerful and will ultimately help us eliminate hunger.

I also learned how important it is to have a network when trying to advance policy initiatives. Having individuals working towards the same goal, rather than focusing on disparate agendas, will ultimately help us eradicate hunger.

And I will never forget the relationships I made with other interns. We are like-minded people from across the country and have enjoyed spending a lot of time together, including outside of work, knowing all the time that we are working towards a common goal.

As for my next move after college, I am considering applying for a Masters in Public Policy. I’m still weighing my options, but this internship piqued my interest.

I would like to sincerely thank Kellogg Company for this internship and the wonderful staff at the Congressional Hunger Center. They really care about us interns as individuals and our careers.

And I can now see how I have the potential to truly impact the lives of others.

Karen J. Nelson