What is your name and position?
Alyson Platzer, Food Access Manager at the Mayor’s Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity
What is your professional background and what brought you to this position?
I’ve worked on a variety of efforts that address community identified needs and convene partners to implement solutions. Most of my past work has been with non-profits, and I wanted the opportunity to work at the municipal level to understand how the City can best leverage resources and partners to implement our shared prosperity plan.
What is your experience with service work?
I served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Paraguay. I’ve also supervised VISTAs in the past while working for a non-profit that served students and families in the migrant and homeless education programs.
Can you talk about the work that you do and how your VISTA supports that work?
We convene the Philadelphia Food Access Collaborative which works to close the meal gap and connect emergency meal guests with the resources that can best support them. Katie, our VISTA, supports many efforts from working directly with emergency meal sites to managing our food policy fellows to coordinating much of our food rescue efforts.
What are the biggest challenges in your work?
It can be hard to reach a broad audience and really engage the public so that we as a society understand the faces of hunger and how food insecurity impacts our community.
What do you enjoy about working with VISTAs?
Their interest in the work is sincere. Anyone willing to make the commitment to serve as a VISTA demonstrates that they’re interested in the broader community and solutions. They are an endless source of energy and go above and beyond to do whatever it takes.
Do you have any advice for young professionals?
Don’t be afraid to try a couple of different opportunities to figure out what is the best fit for you.
What are your interests outside of work?
Doing puzzles and playing outside.
What do you like about Philly?
I like the neighborhood feel and that each neighborhood is different.
What’s your favorite Halloween costume?
Popeye and Olive Oyl