Florida has changed and grown since my childhood, but nothing is more normal there than a severe–but short–thunderstorm in the afternoon. I wasn’t surprised when, during a recent Helping Hands meal packaging event with the Hispanic Diocese of St. Petersburg, Florida, the lights flickered and the salsa, merengue or bachata-influenced music stopped for a moment. The energy of more than 120 volunteers, however, never stopped. Helping Hands is a partnership of Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and Stop Hunger Now.

It’s easy to facilitate an event with an enthusiastic host and volunteer group and a strong partnership with another organization (CRS is Stop Hunger Now’s largest non-profit partner), but because I was asked to translate everything I know about Stop Hunger Now’s work, the event and global hunger from English to Spanish, I was required to think about the importance of my language.

A group of volunteers
A group of volunteers whose enthusiasm and energy were constant throughout the event, which was made possible by our partnership with Catholic Relief Services. // Un grupo de voluntarios, su entusiasmo y energía fue constante durante el evento.

The facilitators of Stop Hunger Now meal packaging events have many jobs: transporting  materials, setting up, directing the volunteers and, most importantly, orienting everyone present to the work, mission and organization. I know from past experiences leading volunteers that figuring out how to do this effectively is not always easy. So, when I feel challenged by my own word choice, I usually translate what I want to say into Spanish–because it isn’t my first language, I have to find the central point of what I wish to say quickly.

In translating for this event with the Hispanic Diocese, I remembered the volunteers, their energy and engagement in our mission is the central point of these events. While the meals are a concrete, measurable result, when I attend or help facilitate an event, I enjoy that volunteers have dedicated themselves to being the apparatus of our mission. As I leave my home state once again, I am invigorated by our volunteers and grateful for the opportunity to translate and therefore think about my language’s role in engaging our volunteers.

The gong was a source of entertainment for all volunteers. // El gong fue un fuente de diversión para todos los voluntarios.
The gong was a source of entertainment for all volunteers. // El gong fue un fuente de diversión para todos los voluntarios.

Luchando Contra el Hambre con la Diócesis Hispana de St. Petersburg, Florida

Florida ha cambiado y crecido desde mi niñez, pero nada es más normal allí que una tormenta grave pero corta por la tarde. No me sorprendí cuando, durante el evento de empaquetar comida de Stop Hunger Now con 120 voluntarios de la Diócesis Hispano de St. Petersburg, Florida, las luces titilaron y la música influida por la salsa, merengue o bachata paró por un momento. La energía de los voluntarios, sin embargo, nunca paró. Es fácil guiar un evento cuando hay un anfitrión y voluntarios entusiasmados, y una fuerte colaboración entre organizaciones, pero porque me habían pedido traducir todo lo que sé sobre el trabajo de Stop Hunger Now, el evento y el hambre global, del inglés al español, esto me ha obligado a pensar en la importancia de mi idioma.

Our host celebrating the final thousand meals. // Nuestra anfitriona celebró el mil final de las comidas.
Our host celebrating the final thousand meals. // Nuestra anfitriona celebró el mil final de las comidas.

Los facilitadores de los eventos de empaquetar comidas con Stop Hunger Now tienen muchos trabajos: transportar los materiales, montar el evento, dirigir a los voluntarios, y, lo más importante, orientar a todo presente al trabajo, la misión y la organización. Yo sé de mi experiencia de guiar voluntarios, que el proceso de aprender cómo hacerlo efectivamente no es siempre fácil. Entonces, cuando encuentro un problema al escoger mis palabras, usualmente traduzco lo que quiero decir al español – porque no es mi primer idioma, debo encontrar el punto esencial de lo que quiero decir más rápido.  

Al traducir para el evento con la Diócesis Hispana de St. Petersburg, recordé que la importancia de los voluntarios, su energía y compromiso a nuestra misión es el punto central de los eventos. Mientras tenemos las comidas, un resultado concreto que podemos medir, cuando asisto y ayudo a facilitar un evento, disfruto de la dedicación de nuestros voluntarios a ser el aparato de nuestra misión. Entonces, cuando salgo otra vez de mi estado natal, estoy fortalecida por nuestros voluntarios y agradecida por la oportunidad de traducir, y por eso pienso en el papel de mi idioma en envolver a nuestros voluntarios.


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