Friday, February 9, 2018

Reflecting on Coffee Talk and Community

This blog post was submitted by the Hub's Advocacy Intern, Zahra Bhoy.

I’ve been interning at the Hub for about a month now, and it seems like every time I go in to work, I fall more and more in love with the place. From interacting with fellow interns and Hub staff at implicit bias trainings to collaborating with community members at meetings for the Food and Farm Coalition, I’ve constantly been learning and being exposed to different ideas. However, I’d have to say that some of my favorite moments at the Hub have been interacting with patrons during my Friday coffee talk.

A coffee talk is basically when an intern from the Hub offers coffee or tea to patrons in the pantry and talks to them about anything from upcoming advocacy events to how their day is going. I’m not going to lie, when my supervisor Stephanie first told me I’d have to conduct weekly coffee talks, I was a little scared. Would people walk right by me and ignore me? What would I talk about? Would people hate me because I made really bad coffee?

Needless to say, I was freaking out about nothing. For my first coffee talk, I decided to make tea instead of coffee (pretty hard to mess up boiling water, right?), and it ended up being so much fun! I guess I was expecting the hour to be filled with a bunch of small talk and conversations about the weather, so I was surprised when patrons actually wanted to talk to me about what was going on in their lives. I’d offer a simple “Hello, would you like a cup of tea?” and we’d end up in a long-winded conversation about how two patrons were in the same college class 20 years ago.

I also love people watching, so even if I wasn’t engaged in a conversation with someone, it was still fun to watch the daily bustle of the pantry and overhear conversations of patrons making plans to get coffee or bickering over everyday things. One of the Hub’s main beliefs is that building communities and support networks is vital for combating food insecurity, and it was so cool to witness how the Hub was building a community right here at the pantry.

Interning at the Hub has been an awesome experience so far, and I’m so excited to see what the Hub has in store for the next few months.