Updated: Apr 27, 2021
When an established and respected non-profit like East End Cooperative Ministry experiences upwards of three times the normal demand for food and other life-sustaining services caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it can be a frantic pace to sustain our mission.
Fortunately, we realized right away that we could depend on two new young PULSE Fellows to become an integral part of meeting the challenge. PULSE, which stands for Pittsburgh Urban Leadership Service Experience, “invite[s] talented university graduates to partner with...nonprofits to develop the next generation of servant leaders in [Pittsburgh].”
In our overwhelmingly busy food pantry, PULSE fellow Makena Zimmerman’s work ethic immediately impressed her supervisor. “I would feel fully comfortable leaving her alone for a week knowing the pantry would be in perfect condition. Her knowledge, accountability, and work ethic have been by far the best asset to EECM’s Food Pantry,” said Pantry Coordinator Evan Averberg-Johnson.
Makena was not the only one impressing EECM staff, volunteers, and clients. PULSE Fellow Anthony Jacob dove into assist all departments. Anthony’s high-tech prowess proved invaluable as he helped rebuild the EECM website. He also became a daily asset to EECM Housing and Employment services, staff says, “Anthony’s pleasant demeanor and willingness to jump in where needed has been great, especially during the pandemic when we never knew what was going to happen next.”
EECM is most gratified that Makena and Anthony are enjoying the fast-paced work and tight deadlines during the pandemic. “I’ve gotten so much out of working at EECM,” says Anthony Jacob. “Overall, it’s been a great experience integrating my education within the non-profit sector.”
Makena says, “…while I’ve learned so much about the operations of food distribution to the food-insecure, interacting with the clients and learning their names has been so important to me. They are important and it is nice to meet them and hear their perspective. They are great people.”
Anthony agrees. “From the relationships I have developed to all I’ve experienced around the shelter and recovery house, I’ve learned so much about the vulnerabilities we all face as human beings. EECM is just so real.”
It sure is real. EECM CEO Carole Bailey said “… we at EECM will never forget just how real Makena Zimmerman and Anthony Jacob are in all they have done at EECM. Makena and Anthony are the epitome of leadership, service and experience. “
In fact, we can describe having these highly talented PULSE Fellows who stepped up during the pandemic in three words. The Real Deal.
PULSE Fellow Anthony Jacob graduated from The University of Pittsburgh with a 3.62 GPA in Industrial Engineering. Anthony has held positions at EECM, Incline Consulting Group, Bimbo Bakeries USA, and Columbian Life Insurance. He has studied abroad in South Africa studying Engineering Design for Social Change and in Bolivia serving the local and less privileged. If you are interested in helping Anthony find a job, contact him here!
PULSE Fellow Makena Zimmerman graduated with a 3.78 GPA from Goshen College with a B.A. in Biology and a minor in Peace and Justice Studies. Makena's senior biology thesis designed and conducted studies on perspectives of food support systems and then analyzed trends in data and relevance to current environmental issues. In addition to EECM, Makena has worked at Saladworks and Water Street Mission. If you are interested in helping Makena find a job, contact her here!