Holly Halter, Grant Writing Volunteer

Volunteer Name: Holly Halter

FFEN Volunteer Role: Grant Writing Volunteer

Current Professional Title: Merchandise Planner

How did you get involved with FFEN?

I was searching for a volunteer opportunity that would benefit both the community and my desire to learn something new. HandsOn Twin Cities had some opportunities with FFEN that stood out to me. The variety of skills-based roles is unique and motivated me to get involved.

How long have you been volunteering with FFEN?

A little over one year.

Why do you share your time and talents with FFEN?

I know that my time with FFEN is directly supporting a community that I want to live in. FFEN is not only doing great work for hunger relief but also leading with a mindset of connection and innovating for effectiveness. The staff at FFEN are generous and intentional about partnering with volunteers which makes sharing my time an easy choice.

What is your professional experience (and background) and how does it relate to your volunteer role?

I have worked in corporate retail for over 10 years across several different roles including inventory management, buying, and planning. My skill set includes how to tell stories with data which I leverage to support food shelves with their grant writing. In my current professional role I work within a development calendar which has a series of deadlines and recapping which is similar to applying for grants and submitting grant reports. While I did not have specific experience writing grants prior to volunteering with FFEN I think my skills are transferable to the grant-writing process.

What have your volunteer projects looked like with FFEN?

I started volunteering with FFEN in the middle of COVID, so all my volunteer time has been virtual. Through Zoom and phone calls I have partnered with three different food shelves across the Twin Cities metro area to understand their community impact and their specific funding needs. I research and draft a calendar with prospective grant opportunities for the year, and offer support for next steps. I also write about the history, mission, goals, and service details of the food self in a concise format that is available for the food shelf to input into an online grant application. Throughout this process I have multiple points of connection with the food shelf to ensure our work together is effectively supporting their funding goals.

What impact have you seen from your volunteer projects with FFEN, either within the organization or for a local food shelf?

I am currently supporting FFEN’s efforts to change how grant support is initiated and sustained with food shelves. It’s been a fun process to adapt to new ideas and test new ways of collaborating. I have seen how my partnership is enabling new ways of doing good work together.

Why do you feel FFEN’s work is important for the Minnesota Hunger Relief Sector?

Operating a successful food shelf is a complex mission. FFEN is a bridge for individual food shelves to access the support they need to fully meet the needs of their community. The support that they provide through their skilled network is pretty incredible!