Fourteen U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Paducah Site college interns arrived for intern orientation week in May with the deactivation and remediation contractor Four Rivers Nuclear Partnership (FRNP).
In addition to their career building skills, students were asked to collect at least 12,000 pounds of canned food and other supplies for area nonprofit organizations through the Feds Feed Families campaign during their 10-week summer internship.
"Feds Feed Families has a tremendous impact on our local nonprofit food pantries and kitchens. During the summer months, donations are low but the needs are high with children out of school," said Paducah Site Lead Jennifer Woodard of DOE's Portsmouth/Paducah Project Office. "DOE Paducah is still collecting food and will be making more donations later this summer."
The task seemed impossible; however, interns said they were amazed at how many pounds of food they collected by hosting a series of "foodraiser" events at the DOE Paducah Site.
"At first, it felt like an unattainable goal to collect this much food in such a short period of time," FRNP intern Dillon Day said. "But in the end, I learned a lot about the value of teamwork and saw how much we were able to accomplish together."
This year, the interns collected 19,606 pounds of canned food and other supplies. On July 10, these items were donated to the Community Kitchen, Paducah Cooperative Ministries, Family Services Society, Martha's Vineyard, Salvation Army, and River City Mission in McCracken County; St. Mary's Food Pantry and Lighthouse Community Food Bank in Ballard County; and COPE Food in Massac County.
"Feds Feed Families provides a great service to our regional community, and I'm very proud of the work our interns have put into this year's food drive," FRNP Program Manager Jeff Bradford said. "Giving something back to their local community is a value we hope these students will take with them throughout their professional careers."
The DOE summer internship program offers college students practical experience working on projects that support infrastructure, deactivation, and remediation operations.
Positions are open to students studying engineering, science, mathematics and business-related fields, such as accounting, finance, human resources and public relations. The food drive is just one of many challenging assignments interns take on during the summer.
"Internships are a wonderful way for students to learn first-hand what it's like to work in their fields of interest," FRNP Deputy Program Manager and Chief Operating Officer Myrna Redfield said. "The program we offer at the Paducah Site provides a variety of rich experiences for students to develop the skillset they need to launch a successful career."