If people and companies want to ensure that we are taking care of our land
and our neighbors, it requires cooperation, collaboration and sacrifice.
It’s about building communities that thrive.
Growing up in rural Oregon, Rachel Bristol wasn’t sure where her career path would take her. She entered college as a health and physical education major, but soon gravitated toward other endeavors. She worked with the youth conservation corps and then tried a “women in non-traditional roles” program, learning how to drive a forklift and build solar structures. She ultimately found her life's inspiration in a random brochure.
“It was for a program at the University of Oregon that focused on community development and public administration,” said Rachel. “As I was reading about the program, I just realized, this is what I am supposed to do.”
Rachel enrolled in the program, and after graduating moved to Portland. Oregon was in the midst of a recession and unemployment was hovering around 12%. It was here that she found the Oregon Food Share, whichkicked off a long career working to help feed people in need. She was part of the team that put together a statewide food bank network.
Rachel was also focused on public policy. “I believed that we would never solve hunger with food alone,” said Rachel. “We really had to look at living wages, and policies that allowed people to thrive, to get an education, and to find a stable job.”
It is work Rachel has continued into retirement, where her volunteer efforts keep those core beliefs moving forward. She gives her time to the Moore Institute on Nutrition & Wellness, helping educate people on the generational impacts of nutrition on the growing incidence of diabetes, obesity, heart disease and certain cancers.
“We need systemic change,” said Rachel. “If people and companies want to ensure that we are taking care of our land and our neighbors, it requires cooperation, collaboration and sacrifice. It’s about building communities that thrive."
Rachel also volunteers with her neighborhood organization’s emergency response and safety teams. When she's not volunteering, Rachel enjoys gardening and being outdoors, reading and playing the piano. Her husband Thomas “Jim” Abrahamson is joining her on the cruise.