Notes from the Field: A Humbling Experience at the NY Common Pantry
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Institute Staff

Notes from the Field: A Humbling Experience at the NY Common Pantry

May 5, 2016


Photo: Dr. Amalia Dorelien

Dr. Amalia Dorelien recently graduated from the Harlem Residency in Family Medicine. As part of her residency training, Dr. Dorelien assisted a local nonprofit, New York Common Pantry.

What local organization did you work with? What is their mission?

I volunteered with the NY  Common Pantry. The mission of this organization is to fight hunger in NYC while promoting dignity and self-sufficiency.

Describe your service.

I worked with the NY Common Pantry two to three times a month. I helped prepare and serve food. I would sit and talk to people during mealtime. I would also try and get an idea about their social situation, and inform them about the services offered by the Institute for Family Health – a place where they can get quality health care even if they are unemployed or uninsured.

Share a memorable experience from your service.

One day, a young lady caught my attention. She was pregnant, looked pale and tired to me. She was accompanied by a gentleman whom I thought was her father but later on I found that he was her husband. She was unemployed and visited the common pantry every day for breakfast and dinner. Upon asking her about her prenatal care, she told me she was having prenatal visits at a place in the Bronx. I told her that I work in the Bronx as well and if ever she would like to switch care she would be more than welcome to come to our office at Walton.

Why do you think it is important for you and other residents to do this type of work in the community?

That was such a humbling experience for me, that allowed me to get to know the undeserved population better –  to understand their reality. It was also an opportunity for me to talk about the Institute’s work, our vision, our goals. I think as a provider in an undeserved community, every Institute resident should do this type of work.