Longtime Hunger Coalition Volunteer & Legend, Nan Riley, left an impression on everyone she met. Amy, Rachel, Naomi , and Sophie from our team share their favorite memories of our friend…

From Amy Mares, warehouse coordinator
“Nan was special to me. I miss the days where we would set up the produce case together in the old building. When I first started, I thought she hated me but then she warmed up to me. She told me it was nice working with someone who knew what they were doing. Her and I would talk about our personal lives and she would give me advice. She would always point out that I had bad taste in guys ha! She was family to me. She was quirky and full of life until the very end. She was a tough cookie and I will treasure the moments and conversations we had.”

From Rachel Shinn, human resource manager
“Wish I could quote or even paraphrase some Nan-isms. She was such a unique human, however, that I think it’s next to impossible to capture her spirit. You just had to know her. Nan was audacious and sincere in word and action. I doubt that I ever had an encounter with her that didn’t make me laugh. But she was 100% authentic — no antics or shows, just Nan as she was. You never knew what was gonna come out of that woman’s mouth. In the first few months of knowing her, I admit I thought she was a little hard on the outside, but it didn’t take long for me to see that she was actually one of the most soft-hearted of us all. And then we became fast friends. I only wish I’d known her that way longer. I have never felt as able to be my true authentic self, free of judgement, as I was around Nan. Even if you were a total turd, she wouldn’t judge you for it: she’d just say “well, yeah, you are a total turd”, but then give you a hug. 

Her willingness to be frank and vulnerable about her own truths paved the way for that sort of freedom. I’ll miss her face, her voice, her phone calls, her unwillingness to text, the old lady clothes she insisted upon giving me, her acceptance, her presence.” 

From Naomi Spence, associate director
“She baked us banana bread one time and accidentally used salt instead of sugar. But, she didn’t want it to go to waste so she still brought it to the team and guilted us into eating it because our organization doesn’t believe in food waste.”

From Sophie Simms, farm intern, summer 2020
“One day at the farm I was attempting to move a table by myself and Nan asked me if I needed help. I said no and she replied with “You need ******* help.” She then asked me, “Do you like helping people? Do you mind helping people?” “Of course I don’t mind helping people.” I said. She followed up with “Well, that’s how other people feel, so you need to accept help when it’s offered.” She taught me a life lesson that I’ve never forgotten and think about often. I realized that I don’t always need to try to do things on my own, and I’ve been working on being more accepting of help when people around me offer to lend a hand. Thank you for helping me that day, Nan.”

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