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Monday, 27 June 2022

AmeriCorps VISTA Has Calling to Serve

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Passion for serving the less fortunate drives Rachel Masch, Community Engagement Coordinator at Catholic Charities’ MANA (Marines, Army, Navy, Air Force) House. As an AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America), Rachel has dedicated a year of service to helping veterans experiencing homelessness.

Service to Others

MANA House isn’t Rachel’s first commitment to service. After completing her master’s degree in communication, she became an AmeriCorps VISTA and served a year on the Apache Reservation establishing subsidized afterschool childcare. The next year, she served at St. Mary’s Foodbank spearheading a food box service for homebound seniors in the valley.

Serving as a VISTA was such a good experience, Rachel again sought out a VISTA position and was quickly chosen for the Community Engagement Coordinator role at MANA House.

Meeting the Needs of Vulnerable Veterans

“Rachel brings a wealth of experience with food banks, community groups, donors and volunteers to build better ways to serve vulnerable people,” said Cole Hickman, Senior Program Manager at MANA House. “At MANA House she started a new program giving Welcome Home Kits for veterans leaving for housing, lowering their costs to gaining stability in their new home. Rachel works with staff, donors, and community groups to make sure donations to MANA House address our most urgent needs and get directly into the hands of veterans.”

The Welcome Home Kits provide veterans with household items they need to successfully make the transition from supportive housing at MANA House to their own permanent housing situation. Rachel’s work extends far beyond the Welcome Home Kits. She also helps coordinate efforts to keep the Veterans Outreach Center at the Human Service Campus supplied with essentials.

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“Rachel has been a game changer for the Veterans Outreach Center. Her community outreach efforts ensure that the VOC is well stocked with hygiene items, snacks, and clothing for our homeless veterans.  Whenever I voice a need for the VOC, she works hard to have it fulfilled,” says Chuck Ashby, Veterans Outreach Center Coordinator.

Coordinating Donor and Volunteers

Rachel’s gift for communicating veterans’ needs has gotten the attention of local community groups. They love working with Rachel and appreciate the personal connection she brings to her work. “They appreciate the fact that I call them individually. I communicate in the way that works best for them, calling, texting or emailing. When they call, I know who they are,” said Rachel.

Rachel is also happy to attend meetings and events to share information about MANA House. “My favorite thing about what I do is connecting with everyone on a personal level. All of it is for homeless veterans.”

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