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When we think about why we want to go to college, we tend to think of advancing our careers. But more and more college graduates aren’t entering the workforce when they finish their degrees. Instead they are doing volunteer work, teaching or joining public service agencies like the Peace Corp, just as GVSU grad Becca Danz did.

“I grew up with parents who were constantly stressing the importance and responsibility we have in taking care of one another,” said Danz. “Whether it was serving at the local soup kitchen, delivering Thanksgiving Day meals to shut-ins, or simply donating old clothing, my parents have always been setting a good example for me.”

Shortly after graduating from GVSU in 2008, Becca Danz, was given an extraordinary opportunity to take that instilled sense of duty one step further. “I joined the Peace Corps in May of 2009 to teach English in Romania for 27 months,” said Danz. “To this day I am still amazed at how such a small amount of time has so drastically changed my life.”

One of the most important things Peace Corps teaches their volunteers, is to work to identify the needs of their community and then use available resources to find sustainable solutions. “It is not easy and I can easily tell you that I seriously doubt I accomplished that, even remotely, while overseas,” said Danz. “But when you find someone who has been able to do it, I suggest you jump on the bandwagon or get out of the way because passion is much more powerful than we often give it credit for.”

Coming back from Peace Corps Danz had heard from various family and friends about a local organization started by a woman named Mary K. Hoodhood who had done just that. Mary K. started a non-profit called Kids Food Basket after hearing about children digging through dumpsters for food after school. Kids Food basket started from feeding 125 children from a church basket, they are now, almost 10 years later, serving over 4,800 children a day within 35 different sites. Danz noted, “It is truly extraordinary what they have accomplished in such a short amount of time.”

About three weeks ago Danz accepted a job at Kids Food Basket working as the new Operations Coordinator. “I am equally excited and honored to be joining the amazing staff, incredible volunteers, and the insanely supportive community of Grand Rapids in attacking childhood hunger,” Danz proclaimed.

“During Peace Corps, and now my time at Kids Food Basket, I am constantly reminded of the good in people,” said Danz. “I hope to carry with me the values I was given as a child and those that were further cemented during the adventures I’ve been dealt, because I’ve seen what courage can do; I’ve seen the relentlessness of hope even in the worst of situations; and I’ve seen the influence a helping hand can have… and that is no small feat.”

Danz can be contacted at Kids Food Basket at becca@kidsfoodbasket.org

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