New Staff in the Spotlight: Austin Hochstetler

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Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I graduated from Goshen College with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work in the spring of 2012.  I am an avid college basketball fan; my favorite team is the Indiana Hoosiers.  I enjoy playing ultimate frisbee.

What brought your interest to CCS?

Church Community Services truly is an amazing organization.  I am committed to everything that CCS stands for.  After a year living in a West Philadelphia neighborhood my eyes were opened to the injustices that many people face every day and I felt called to work with those in need.   I have been volunteering at CCS for several years.  My mom introduced me to Carol Willis, the Director of Development and then I started volunteering.

What are your job duties at CCS?

As the Assistant Pantry Manager my first responsibility is to make sure things in the pantry are functioning smoothly.  This involves keeping the inventory stocked on the pantry floor, cleaning up spills as soon as possible and assisting clients with questions that they have.  I also am a back up to the Pantry Manager when they are gone providing guidance to volunteers and clients.

Do you have a specific story or interaction with a client that has had an impact on you that you could share with us?

Thanksgiving week I was helping a client through the pantry and he was having a hard time finding anything that he could use.  As I mentioned some of the things that we had on the floor on that particular day, he said that he was homeless.  After he said this I did not really know how to respond, other than to refer him to the Director of Social Services at CCS and mention something about Faith Mission.  As I listened to this client tell me this, my heart was hurting for him.

As I think back on the interaction I had with this client I wish I could have done more.  On this day I was reminded how complicated life is when a person’s basic human needs are not met.  For example, he did not have a place to prepare his food; he did not have utensils to aid in the preparation and most likely ate most of his meals on the go.

What have you learned about yourself, the Elkhart community, etc. in your time at CCS so far?

In my first month at CCS I have come to the realization that this job is different than any I have had before.  It is a job that I feel called to, one that gives me a sense of purpose and has filled me with hope.

In my interactions with clients, staff, and volunteers, I have seen that the need is great everywhere.  Poverty does not discriminate.  Many people in the Elkhart County community have been affected by unemployment.  In the short time I have been at CCS I have watched as many donations have come in from different parts of the community.  Elkhart County is one that cares and I am grateful for that.

What are the goals you seek to accomplish in working here?

In my work at CCS I hope that I can let love guide everything I do.  I desire to love God, love people and follow Jesus with my actions and my words.  I want to make a difference in the lives of the clients that CCS serves, meeting every client where they are at.

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