Concrete Jungle has been a local Repair the World service partner since the start of the Repair Fellowship program in Atlanta. Concrete Jungle transforms overlooked and underutilized fruit trees and land into a healthy food source for communities in need. Nichole (she/her), Concrete Jungle’s Director of Programs and Operations has witnessed and experienced the many ways Atlanta Repair and Concrete Jungle are aligned in serving the community based on direct needs and how service and volunteers play a large role in ensuring community needs are met.
Nichole shared how Repair enhanced Concrete Jungles values, including compassion and community. “Every person at Repair that I’ve interacted with and every discussion, connection, and question has come from a place of compassion and truly building meaningful connections and to serve based on needs from a place of solidarity and understanding that we are serving alongside our community,” said Nichole.
In 2020, at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, Concrete Jungle faced the shutdown of many partners that relied on the food access services they provided. Many high-risk community members were now unable to receive fresh produce from Concrete Jungle. “Our Executive Director, Katherine, and Lily (Executive Director, Repair the World Atlanta) banded together and decided that to meet this immediate need they would build a grocery delivery program. Right away, we began packing bags and building out a delivery route across Atlanta.” What started with a handful of volunteers grew to a team of 20 dedicated volunteers by the end of that summer. The program lasted for 18 months, providing nutritious food for thousands of people.
At Concrete Jungle, we’ve seen a shift in our vision and mission since partnering with Repair the World.
Nichole reflected on a Concrete Jungle board retreat where a Repair the World fellow shared a presentation that highlighted racialized food insecurity in Atlanta. “It was eye opening for our board because 80% of who we serve identify as Black or African American and that aligns with the demographic of our community but our organization had not yet had that conversation around how are we combating racial injustice and racism in our community through the work we do. That moment was certainly impactful.”
As the partnership continues to deepen and grow Concrete Jungle has considered what ways can volunteers serve more intently and play a bigger role within the organization.
“We’ve seen how Repair the World empowers its volunteers to step in and take on leadership roles while serving and we’ve begun to model that as well. What I’ve learned is that service is also an opportunity to learn more and reflect with intention and be a vehicle to build a just world. It’s not just about what we’re doing but why.”
Nichole is an Experienced young professional with a demonstrated history of working in the non-profit space. She has strong operations skills and leadership experience in the areas of event management, volunteer management, team building, project management, and fundraising. Nichole is also passionate about food issues- including food waste and recovery, nutrition education, and hunger relief efforts.