For Natalie Simon, her interest in addressing food insecurity developed during her time living in Brooklyn, New York. When she moved back to Des Moines, she knew getting involved at the Food Bank of Iowa would allow her to keep working to ensure folks in her community have access to food while also reducing food waste.

“When I moved back, I missed the sense of belonging. Knowing the Food Bank of Iowa was doing good things and being around people who have the same sense of
community was important,” said Simon.

While in Brooklyn, a group of her friends rented a building that welcomed all community members, including many kids 7-14 in age. The building had a bike shop, they taught someone how to weld, and the group was open to kids or anyone looking for a place to just hang out.

“It was kind of a funny little day care but it was very real and very powerful to see. Watching people make do with so little was inspiring,” she said.

Dumpster diving for food outside of New York City’s abundance of grocery stores was common for this group.

“It wouldn’t be unusual to find several bags of mostly good apples, hamburger buns, or potatoes that were just sitting in the dumpsters,” said Natalie.

The effort of rescuing food in New York City translates over to her work at the Food Bank of Iowa. Natalie is a regular volunteer helping to transport food from our retail partners to our partner agencies. Delivering food to agencies is her favorite part of volunteering, along with seeing how much great food is saved.

“Natalie is a shining example of the impact core volunteers have on our daily operations at Food Bank of Iowa. She is passionate about rescuing food no matter how big or small,” said Michaela Devaney, Volunteer Training and Development Manager.

Outside of volunteering, Natalie is active in the local music scene. She is a member of a band called Lightcube and also performs as a solo jazz artist.

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