Skip to content

Food Bank Americorps VISTA Named Outstanding National Service Volunteer of the Year

We are honored to recognize Laura Gordon, an Americorps VISTA at the Food Bank through Maine’s Ending Hunger Corps, as the Outstanding National Service Volunteer of the Year! Her dedication to our mission of ending hunger through her service and volunteerism has significantly impacted the community.

Since 1987, the Governor’s Awards for Service and Volunteerism have celebrated and recognized the role of citizen volunteers in the success and vitality of Maine communities. Laura is an excellent addition to our volunteer team. During her time with the Food Bank, she has created a service-learning program that educates and inspires students to learn about food insecurity in Maine and ways to help eliminate hunger.

Laura is a member of the Ending Hunger Corps, an AmeriCorps VISTA program sponsored by Maine’s Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry (DACF). The program aims to build capacity to fulfill Maine’s historic commitment to creating a hunger-free state by 2030. During her first year at the Food Bank, Laura developed materials to recruit, engage, and recognize volunteers, resulting in over seventy-four volunteers recruited and a customized volunteer toolkit created for partner agencies.

Laura participated in numerous Service Enterprise trainings and the 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge. She spearheaded activities for her VISTA cohort, including two Cooking Matters classes and a volunteer opportunity/luncheon at the Food Bank’s distribution center. Currently, she is serving on the AmeriCorps Member Conference Planning Committee.

After attending service-learning training for over 12 hours through Volunteer Maine and a grant provided by the Mott Foundation, Laura proposed to create a service-learning program for her second year of service. The program focuses on increasing youth volunteerism and offering opportunities to rural communities. It educates students on food insecurity, why it exists, and how they can get involved in ending hunger in their communities. The program encourages community-driven solutions as students identify barriers to food access in their communities and create projects to address them. The classwork will help to eliminate the stigma associated with receiving food assistance. Laura is piloting the program with six schools, over eighty students, and gathering feedback on age-appropriate content, measuring social-emotional learning, and incorporating state learning standards in the future.

Laura’s passion for service and volunteerism has not gone unnoticed. Her dedication and hard work have resulted in the success of the volunteers needed to distribute over 6,500 boxes of food each month and provided support to over 230 partner agencies to mobilize volunteers. Her service-learning program will inspire and educate the next generation of volunteers, ensuring the fight against hunger continues.

We congratulate Laura Gordon for receiving the Outstanding National Service Volunteer Award. Her work inspires others across the state to learn more about food insecurity in Maine and ways to get involved to help eliminate hunger.