Hi everyone! My name’s Celeste Carpenter and I come to North Carolina from the grand state of Maine. Yes, it’s cold there, and no, I don’t miss the snow!
I currently live in Carrboro with four other amazing JSC members. Together we enjoy watching The Office, playing badminton, working out (well, we don’t actually enjoy that, but we do it!) and getting pumped when Slow Hands comes on the radio. We also spend hours just talking and making the most of our time together. While I have enjoyed being introduced to the culinary goodness of the South, our budget often leads us to Chick-fil-A, Bojangles, and Cookout, which is as horrible as it is wonderful.
During this year of service I have been placed at Resourceful Communities in Chapel Hill, where I am the faith and food intern. The faith and food initiative at Resourceful Communities works with rural United Methodist Churches throughout the entire state supporting their food ministries (one common theme we see is community gardens). As the faith and food intern, one of my main projects has been writing spotlights on our church partners with innovative food ministries. Another has been working on a discussion guide that looks at the root causes of hunger with a theological lens that will eventually be used by some of our church partners. I have also been given other projects where I’m lending support to some of our partners through outreach and resource creation.
I’ve really appreciated the opportunity to be able to travel all over the state and see parts of North Carolina I would not have reason to see without this internship. I have also learned a lot, both through my own research in the office and through workshops that Resourceful Communities puts on for their network. My eyes have been opened to the realities of the rural/urban divide, and the flaws in the current U.S. food system. Some of my favorite workshops have been about how to utilize parks and green spaces in your community and state, and how to reduce food waste. A lot of what I’ve learned has made me think about where I want to spend my money and my food dollars (locally!!!). Another aspect about my time with Resourceful Communities that has been nice is sitting in on their small grants review process, and seeing how a grant cycle works.
Growing up in Maine, I attended the same (awesome) Episcopal Church my entire life. At the beginning of my year here with JSC, I enjoyed bopping around to different churches, but now I’ve been going to the Episcopal Church of the Advocate in Chapel Hill regularly. I absolutely love the church space, and the church cat, Smoke. I also like the spin and energy that the Advocate puts on their services, so worshipping there is both familiar and new at the same time. For my personal spiritually, I have really appreciated having a community to share spiritual practices with and help hold me accountable for my day-to-day practices. The Servant Leadership classes that we took in the fall also provided me with a new way to look at the world and think about how I want to live in it.
Overall, the first half of my year with the Johnson Service Corps has been wonderful, and I look forward to what the next half brings!