Guest Post from Merna Leano- Graduate from Health Education Program at SF State University

Guest Post from Merna Leano- Graduate from Health Education Program at SF State University

From Leah’s Pantry Staff: Merna, we are going to miss your skilled work and sunny personality! You have had a tangible impact on our organization, ranging from your weekly involvement with the Potrero Catering Team to all of the data entry you completed for our SRO project to re-organizing (our massive chaotic) storage wall. Thank you for all of your support over the past couple of months! We are so grateful for you and all that you’ve done to move our mission forward. 


Photo: Merna leading an activity at Potrero

Over the course of these last six weeks, I have made and eaten more salads than I could count. From here on out, I will no longer buy premade salads! Okay, I probably will, but because of Leah’s Pantry, I know it will not be as often as it was before. The amazing team at Leah’s Pantry has shown me how easy it is to create a tasty, nutritious and healthy meal. Almost every week, I have gone home with new recipes, excited to show my family. Not only has Leah’s Pantry made an incredible difference on my life, but on my friends and my families life as well. This is what Leah’s Pantry is really about, passing on what you have learned to others so they can pass it on, in hopes of improving someone’s life.

I had no idea what to expect beginning my internship here, maybe I would learn a couple recipes. Not only did I learn at least a dozen new recipes, but I also learned how significant surveying and data entry is within an organization. Although, it does not seem like the most exciting task, it is a way we assess an area or population and helps determine how we move forward in making a difference in that community. I learned that educating someone about nutrition can be as simple as letting them know massaging kale gives it a softer texture. People’s faces lit up with curiosity and surprise, when I demonstrated and encouraged them to give kale a little TLC. At the end of the demonstration their eyes widened with a unexpected joy when they ate the kale apple salad and loved every bite. They even came back for seconds!

Changing someone’s life about food does not have to be about vitamins and minerals, or what the best new organic, gluten free, fat free, vegan superfood is. It is about understanding that anyone and everyone can experience food insecurity. Leah’s Pantry and the passion that people have here are truly making a difference one recipe, one health tip, one “have you tried this” at a time. Even within the limited office space we have, people are always sharing new recipes with each other. It is easy to see that the Leah’s Pantry team loves what they do and truly believes that everyone deserves a healthy lifestyle, no matter what. Although my internship at Leah’s Pantry is over, there is no doubt that I will be back either ready to shop and chop or help facilitate at a workshop. Thank you Leah’s Pantry!

Photo: Merna facilitating a food demo in front of a crowd.