Food Banker Spotlight | Nalleli Martinez-Prieto

April 19, 2017

Meet Nalleli Martinez-Prieto, Senior Nutrition Education Coordinator

What does a typical day at the Food Bank look like for you?

When asked this question, I can honestly say there is no “typical day” within Nutrition Education. Our work encompasses such a wide array of programming. One day I can be updating signs with nutrition tips on our shop floor in San Francisco, the next I might be in Marin leading a class about whole grains for seniors, and the following day I’m at a San Francisco school leading a kid’s class about “eating the rainbow.” However, I can say that a typical day always includes some form of communication, not only with the community, but in the community, and that to me is gold!

What’s your favorite thing about working at the Food Bank?

Being constantly present in the community. I’ve never been a fan of sitting behind a desk, so frequently engaging in two-way learning with community members is what I appreciate the most. I like having the opportunity to create empowering environments for our class participants to help them elevate the skills they already have. When I get to witness their success in trying a new food or preparing a new meal, I know I’ve succeeded.

Have you been personally impacted by your experience at the Food Bank?

I grew up in a food desert and never really knew it. My neighborhood was surrounded by every fast food option you can think of and only one grocery store within walking distance from home. My mom didn’t drive back then and getting fresh food was always a mission. Back then, I never considered what a food bank could do for us, but now that I know, I’m an advocate for the work that we do. The Food Bank is a bridge that gives people the opportunity to struggle less. My family had limited access to healthy food and little to no knowledge of what “healthy” was, and so I now strive to  share with others the valuable resources that are available that I wish my family knew about. The Food Bank has shown me how to be a passionate advocate for the work that I do, and it’s one of the reasons that I enjoy serving the community.

What motivates you to do what you do?

The small successes experienced every day by our class participants and agency partners motivate me. Nutrition is such a personal topic, which is so important for me to acknowledge every time I step out into the community. For example, in a previous class, I had a participant share that she used to drink three sodas a day and she accomplished the goal of reducing that to one. Change looks very different for each individual, and when I can encourage that change, it motivates me to continue doing what I do.

What’s something people might not know about you?

I know that some people already know this about me, but I’m a gamer.  It’s a big part of my self-care. I make sure to set some time aside each year to attend gaming expos. I love the nature of immersive storytelling that can be experienced via gaming and if you’re ever interested in chatting about it, come find me!

Tell us your best joke.

I’m not a fan of jokes, but can I share my favorite quote? “May you live every day of your life.” — Jonathan Swift