Interview with Nicole Folino
By: Joey Marcacci, Summer Marketing & Development Intern
Nicole Folino, Agency Relations Coordinator, joined Second Harvest this past May. However, Nicole is no stranger to Community Action Lehigh Valley – she’s worked in various programs ranging from volunteer driven tax preparation to small business assistance. Early in the pandemic, Nicole regularly volunteered at the food bank and instantly knew it was a perfect fit for her professionally. Lucky for us, a position opened and she joined the team!
Check out our Q&A with Second Harvest employee, Nicole Folino!
How long have you been working for Second Harvest?
I’ve been working for Second Harvest for five months.
What were you doing before working for Second Harvest?
Prior to my time at the Second Harvest I was actually already an employee for CACLV. I started August of 2019 running the “Start Your Business Program”. But even prior to that I ran the “VITA Program” which was volunteer income tax assistance and was from 2011 through 2014. So, I took a little interim, and came back in 2019. Through the pandemic I had the opportunity to volunteer at the Second Harvest which game me a good sense of what happens here at both the warehouse and the front office. When the job popped up for the Agency Relations Coordinator, I thought that would be a great fit based on the experience I had had here.
What does your job entail?
My job now entails managing all the day-to-day agency relations with our member pantries. Whether that’s helping them with orders, pickups/deliveries, any issues that they may have, working on expanding/moving, changing their current facilities, etc. My role is being that liaison between the warehouse, the agency, and the rest of the staff here. When we get products in, we let the agencies know right away if we have additional products to choose from. We’re doing what we’re calling “Fresh Forward” which is a healthy direction to provide more perishables. As soon as we get those into the warehouse we try and let the agencies know that they’re available for their choosing.
What is your favorite part about your job?
My favorite part is probably working with all the people. I love all the pantry coordinators and working with them on a day-to-day basis. Everyone comes from a different background. We’re always working hard to get to know everyone and meet their needs as best as we can.
What is something you wish everyone knew about food insecurity?
Having access to healthy food is just one pillar of self-sufficiency. Solving food insecurity involves looking at all five pillars to address the total needs of the individual or household. When we empower our participants with resources, we can truly begin to reduce food insecurity.
What do you like to do when you are not at work?
When I’m not working I enjoy quilting, spending time with my daughter and relaxing with my labradoodle puppy, Saylor.
What is your life motto?
I have one big one I say all the time, which is more based on my work and is about volunteering. My entire life has been based on volunteering. The first program I ran at the non-profit was the volunteer income tax assistance program (VITA). I’ve gotten a volunteer certificate from La Salle University. I’ve run volunteer organizations, I’ve worked with volunteers, and I’ve managed them. The quote would be from Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” I grew up in Bucks Country, not far from Doylestown, which is not far from where Margaret Mead lived for many years, so there’s a lot of personal connection there. Those words have always resonated with me because there is just so much injustice in the world, and a lot of the change that happens is done by organizations with volunteers.