As a senior at J.R. Masterman High School, I was required to do a two-week out-of-school senior project. We were tasked with finding something interesting — something fun that wasn’t just uploading data into a spreadsheet day after day. After chatting with my neighbor, Angela Faranda, the Development & Operations Associate at Food Moxie, I knew I’d found my project.
I went into my time with Food Moxie eager to use my passion for nutrition to help the community. What I came out with, though, wasn’t just a commitment to a healthier community; I also gained a deep respect for the Food Moxie team, and the people who participate in the programs.
I enjoyed every minute that I spent with Food Moxie, from Garden Club with Liam and Melissa, to cooking with Mercelyne at Hope Kitchen, to being in the office with Rachel and Angela, and harvesting kale with Tara. And throughout the experience, I loved feeling I was having a positive impact on other people’s lives. At Food Moxie, everything is done with love, and every member of the team collaborates to positively impact our community.
At the end of my two weeks, I was so inspired that I decided to stick around and join Jill Fink, Food Moxie Executive Director, in testifying in favor of the Philadelphia “soda tax.” I’d met Mayor Kenney and City Councilwoman Gym a few weeks earlier when they came to my rowing team, Philadelphia City Rowing, to explain the tax and its potential to help fund Pre-K, as well as Parks and Recreation and the Free Library system. When Jill asked if I could join her in testifying, I readily agreed. I was ready to make a difference and stand up for what I believed in. I was ready to have my voice heard.
When I began testifying before City Council, I received verbal opposition from the soda companies. I pushed on, though, and when I finished, I knew from the applause that my words were well received. When it came time to vote and the tax passed, the crowd erupted. I have never felt so proud—not for myself, but for the city of Philadelphia. We fought against millions of dollars and won, not because it was the easy thing to do, but because it was the right thing to do. In that moment, I understood clearly that if you keep fighting for what’s right, eventually you will win. This spirit courses through Food Moxie, and I’m so glad I was able to spend this time with the organization.