Annie Kirschner 11 years ago, with Former Governor Kulongoski and other AmeriCorps volunteers, at Montavilla Park's summer meal program.
Sometimes life opens doors we don’t expect. And if we are lucky, choosing to walk through that door leads us to our calling. I consider myself very lucky.
In thinking back on “what I wanted to be when I grew up”, this job wasn’t on the list. At five, it was a baker, pilot and ballerina. As a teen, I would have told you a sculptor, poet or actress. At 23, eager to serve, I applied for an AmeriCorps volunteer year with the Oregon Hunger Task Force.
This May marks my 11th anniversary working to prevent hunger, and also my first month as the new executive director of Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon.
I’m thrilled and honored to step into the role left by my long-time mentor Patti Whitney-Wise. I count myself the luckiest lady, to work with this team of wicked-smart and fiercely passionate staff. I’m grateful to our board members, who helped make the transition smooth and seamless, and to so many of you who donate, volunteer, support and lead the work to end hunger here in Oregon.
As we reflect on our past and celebrate PHFO’s 10th Anniversary this year, I am also so excited about what the future holds. We are going to take this great foundation of anti-hunger work, and build—build the movement of advocates telling their own story, pursue equity with boldness and clarity, and grow the strength of our organization to achieve our goals. Speaking of goals, we have a big, hairy, audacious one. It’s not new, but it is a bit radical.
We want to be the first state to end hunger.
Obviously, we are going to need a lot of help!
Over the next few months we’ll share with you more of our vision, and ask your advice as we strategize how to get there. And we’ll let you know how you can contribute. (Spoiler, you can always donate!)
In the meantime, feel free to reach out to me and the rest of the team at Partners. Hope to see you soon at a summer meal site, coalition meeting or somewhere out in the community!