Rebecca pokryska

From early on in Rebecca’s life, she had a heart for those in need. After moving to New York City from Orange County, CA in 2007, she became a stay-in volunteer for 5 years at The David Skinner Homeless Shelter that operates to house men awaiting permanent housing. She started to serve regularly at the Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen, the city’s largest soup kitchen, serving over 1,200 meals a day. It was there that her heart grew for the homeless and hungry and where she met her one-of-a-kind, partner in crime, Grace Zinnel. In 2010, she took her first trip abroad to Namibia, Africa where she worked at a children’s Orphanage and helped facilitate clothing drives and distribution camps for emergency food and aid. In 2012, she returned to Africa to provide humanitarian assistance to families in rural areas of Uganda and Kenya. There, she taught English to children living in the slums, facilitated workshops that empowered women to launch and manage ethical businesses, and distributed purified water filters to families without access to clean drinking water. In 2013, she embarked on a journey to 11 Countries in 11 months to learn the different facets and realities of hunger, and to hear their stories firsthand. Over this venture her heart grew for storytelling and photojournalism. She used her photographs to spread awareness and shine a light on the hidden and unseen corners of the world.  She provided humanitarian assistance to children and adults in villages, Leprosy hospitals and worked in the Red-Light districts. Upon her arrival back in the States, she launched her People Of Beauty site to share the photographs and stories she collected. Inspired by her travels, Rebecca embodies the three core values of Hear The Hungry - compassion, empowerment and awareness. She oversees the Hear The Hungry campaigns and grows and maintains relationships with partners and supporters.

 

Grace Zinnel

Grace carried a love for creativity and her community since a young age and came to express herself through writing, photography, and music. Her youth was spent volunteering with her church’s youth group and local Key Club. At the age of 15, her World History class saw the film “Hotel Rwanda,” through which she discovered the power of cinema in addressing global issues. She found her heart for humanity collide with creative expression and entered the Film/Media Studies program at CUNY Hunter College in 2007. There, she studied Documentary Production under filmmakers Tami Gold, Kelly Anderson, and Shanti Thakur. As a sophomore, she interned in the Research Department of the Food Bank of New York City. She spent the summer visiting the poorest neighborhoods in the city to improve the School Food Program. She studied gentrification issues through her participation in the Neighborhood Oral History Project at Hunter College. In 2010, she completed the Welfare Rights Initiative Leadership Training course where she advocated for access to education as a means to break the cycle of poverty in our nation. She produced a short film on the organization and had her first public screening. Around this time, she met Rebecca Pokryska at the Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen. They both shared the desire to understand the plight of the poor and together they founded the non-profit organization, Hear The Hungry. She graduated Hunter College in 2011 with a filmography of four short documentaries including one on the homeless outreach organization, Midnight Run. She worked alongside Emmy Award winning producer, Helene Lerner to create short films for her website WomenWorking.com. After graduation, she became an Associate Producer at a nonprofit documentary production company, Checkerboard Films where she worked on over 10 films on the American Arts, and oversaw distribution of their entire Collection in the US and abroad. Grace is currently and independent film Producer. She oversees Hear The Hungry Productions and the operations of the organization.