What do you do at the food bank?
I am the Programs Coordinator, and my job is to help run various programs for the food bank. This includes programs created by the food bank such as Mobile Food Pantries and Gather 2 Grow, and governmental programs such as the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) and The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). I make sure these programs are running efficiently, everyone knows what they’re doing and the food is getting to all the people who need it. I connect with the coordinators from our partner agencies to make sure we’re all on the same page and that they have everything they need.
How did you end up in this role?
I got my college degree in sport management at Grand Valley State University, then accepted a job as the athletic director for the elementary/middle schools in the Diocese of Grand Rapids. I did that for over seven years. My time at that job ran its course, and I started looking for something new and different. This job seemed like a good fit for me, and I thought it’s great what this organization is doing for the community. I’ve been here for over a year now!
What’s your favorite part about your job?
Overall making sure everybody’s taken care of and has food to eat. My natural skills involve coordinating and ensuring everything’s organized and communicated properly. That’s what I’ve been doing my whole life. I also enjoy getting to work with the kiddos for Gather 2 Grow. It’s good to ensure that when they’re out of school for the summer they still have food options available to them. Life is hard enough, so I want to do whatever I can to make it not as difficult.
Any standout memories?
The camaraderie amongst the food bank staff is great! We have an amazing group of people working here, and I enjoy coming to work knowing we make a direct impact on the community. I also like the Food Bank Council of Michigan meetings I’ve been going to. They have helped me learn more about the food banking world, which has allowed me to observe and gain more knowledge on how other food banks operate. It’s always nice to hear new ideas and consider different ways we can serve our community.
What motivates you to fight hunger?
I believe food is a right for everyone and not a privilege. I want to help make life easier for people, and increasing access to food without worry is just one way we can do that for our community. We should always be thinking of others, and I think sharing what we can is not only important, but critical. Just because a situation hasn’t happened to you doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Everything and anything sports related. I’m always looking to see if there are any games I can go to or watch, especially football, basketball, baseball and hockey. I am also in a bowling league and play on a summer/fall softball team. I like to stay active and enjoy watching my favorite teams and players—including any and all teams from the University of Michigan (Go Blue!) and now retired Tom Brady (the undisputed greatest of all time). Every now and then I mix in a little bit of video games or watching movies and shows.