Julia Friberg, 22, of Rockford, a Guilford High School graduate, is volunteering with the Northern Illinois Food Bank (NIFB) as part of the AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America). This is a national service program designed to fight domestic poverty and was founded in 1965 and incorporated into the AmeriCorps network of programs in 1993.
NIFB is excited to participate in the program this year, and has welcomed a total of eight VISTAs from the Chicagoland area, including Friberg, to its staff for a one-year term of service. Each VISTA provides the equivalent of a full-time employee to NIFB’s staff. The AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers serving with NIFB are building capacity and awareness of the organization’s programs, services, network partners and hungry neighbors.
VISTAs are based in each of NIFB’s four centers, and helps support a 13-county service area.
“My year as a VISTA has allowed me to give back using the skills I gained studying anthropology and Spanish in college, while giving me valuable experience I can use as I pursue advanced degrees in public health and medical anthropology,” said Friberg. “My VISTA experience has increased my passion for eliminating health disparities in our communities.”
Friberg specifically works at the nearby Loves Park location and has been a vital participant in the organization’s success in so many ways. Perhaps one of her greatest accomplishments was helping the Food Bank secure a grant from the Kiwanis in Rockford, along with helping elevate the Food Bank’s profile among other social service organizations. She also orchestrated the Food Bank’s involvement in the 700 Celebration in Rockford, where a variety of community services were offered to 700 Rockford low-income residents in December, including a food box the Food Bank provided, clothing, and holiday gifts for children.
Posted July 24, 2013