Meet Andrea Dowlen-Pride, an AmeriCorps member and Catholic Charities volunteer, who shares her passion for helping people in need and her knowledge of nutrition to help feed the hungry in Nashville through the Loaves and Fishes program.
"I have committed myself to a life of service," said Dowlen-Pride. "I've always been inspired by ‘The Starfish Story' where the message is that even saving one starfish along miles and miles of needy starfish made a difference to that one starfish. I believe that when I feed one family in need, I have made a significant difference, and that is important to me."
Andrea has certainly made a difference in more than one family's life. She works with the team at Catholic Charities "Loaves and Fishes" program to address food insecurity in Nashville. The number of people who cannot make ends meet each month continues to increase since the pandemic, making food insecurity an ever-growing problem in Nashville. Andrea uses her training and education in nutrition to help educate her clients in understanding healthy choices, access to nutritious foods, and why it's important to avoid things like added sugar and saturated fats.
"I've seen that it can be particularly confusing for people coming from other cultures to understand American packaged food and how to make the healthiest choice," said Dowlen-Pride. "Helping the elderly to make smart food choices is also a rewarding part of my work."
From educating clients to personally packing food boxes to be distributed to the hungry, or even making sure she has granola bars in the car in case she sees someone in need, Andrea Dowlen-Pride is one of our star volunteers. She will be heading to American University in the fall to pursue a Master's Degree in Public Service and Public Administration. We are very grateful for her outstanding work, and will hold her to her promise to return.
"I love doing service work in my hometown of Nashville. I was born and raised here, and I am dedicated to helping this community," said Dowlen-Pride.
Thank you for all you do for our community, Andrea! We are grateful for your service.
About Catholic Charities "Loaves and Fishes" program:
For the past 25 years, Loaves and Fishes, a community-wide effort enlisting the help of 23 volunteer groups representing many denominations, schools and associations remains committed to serving the growing needs of the hungry in Nashville. Our flagship program in East Nashville provides meals Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday. A simple breakfast and a hot midday meal is served to the hungry and homeless without restriction of religion, race, or proof of need. Each week approximately 600 meals are served in a caring environment to our guests. Guests of the program are also provided referral to appropriate services for housing, additional food, and clothing, within the community. That program operates in the Parish Center of Holy Name Catholic Church, located behind the church at 508 Main Street in Nashville.
For more information call (615) 256-7256 or email at LoavesandFishes@cctenn.org. Our hunger relief efforts also include local chef-prepared to-go meals and food box distribution and at several sites throughout the city.