From Food Rescue to Fundraising: Joel Simonson on switching roles

Joel Simonson joined Lovin’ Spoonfuls as a Food Rescue Coordinator in 2016. In 2017, he became our Development Coordinator. Joel talks about how both jobs “do something positive.” 

 

What is your role at Lovin’ Spoonfuls?

I am the Development Coordinator at Lovin’ Spoonfuls.

 

Tell us about your background.

I am passionate about the mission and work of Lovin’ Spoonfuls through a health perspective. I studied Biology as an undergraduate at Clark University and for a majority of my studies I was on a Pre-Med track. However, I realized during my junior year that I was more interested in public health and did not want to pursue medical school. I decided I wanted to continue my education at Clark and I enrolled in a graduate program for Environmental Science and Policy, where I focused on the relationships between public health and access to nutritious food.   

 

How does your prior role influence your current work?

My prior role as a Food Rescue Coordinator has a significant influence over my current work. Through writing grants and having conversations with individuals who support our work, I am able to share my experiences with our vendor and beneficiary partners. Personally, I like to tell stories, and now I have the chance to share the impact of our work through a variety of channels.

 

You’re the first person in our agency history that has worked across both Operations and Development. What was the biggest adjustment?

I think the biggest adjustment is the perspective in which I view our work. To me, every day as a Food Rescue Coordinator was like a puzzle. I needed to determine how to best fit the boxes of fresh food in the truck, but also how to appropriately distribute the food amongst the beneficiary agencies. In addition, it was an opportunity to physically see our work in action. On the Development team, I view our work through the metrics of our impact, such as the amount of food we rescue and the number of people we can serve per every dollar raised, but also how we have increased our capacity over the last few years.     

 

What is your favorite part of the job?

My favorite part of the job, and really my favorite part about being at Lovin’ Spoonfuls, is the unique opportunity to do something positive. I think there are two sides to this feeling. On one hand, supporting our fundraising efforts allows our team to rescue and distribute more fresh food to those who need it the most. That alone is an incredible feeling. However, I have also been able to share our work with friends, family, and friends of my family who had no idea that food rescue was even a thing. Both make me thrilled to be a part of Lovin’ Spoonfuls and the Development team.    

 

Who are your heroes?

I know it sounds cliche, but my grandparents are definitely my heroes. Hands down. Through their own experiences, they taught me what it means to work hard, love your family, and enjoy life. They always supported me in my endeavors and were always present, both physically and emotionally, during my upbringing. I would not be the person I am today if it were not for them.