I am thrilled to join Food Outreach! During my first week, I have seen first-hand how our services profoundly impact clients’ health, social wellbeing, outlooks, and sense of community. I see Food Outreach as a powerful non-profit built with concentric circles of service. What began as a labor of love for a small group of individuals has grown into a vital resource for thousands of people in our community. Through the commitment and hard work of those devoted founders, Food Outreach has grown into a network of clients, volunteers, staff, community partners and donors supporting nearly 2,000 men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS or cancer annually, and we have never turned away a qualified client.
I have joined a staff of dedicated professionals, many of whom have contributed to the success of our programs for 15 to 20 years – Mary Sue Rosenthal directs all of our operations and program staff; Kathy Spencer organizes hundreds of volunteers and client services; Chefs Tonya Tucker and Katie Hochstedler cook, prepare meals, manage our kitchen volunteers and support our clients’ nutritional plans; Registered Dietitian, Mallory Ubbelohde, meets with each client and develops individualized nutrition plans; Leon Evans provides office services and volunteers his time and John Mackiewicz delivers food to our homebound clients. Our Office Manager, Keith Mosier, supports our stewardship program, pays our bills and manages our funding reports. Becky Reichardt, Development Director, executes communications and development and meets the challenges of writing and submitting critical grant proposals and is assisted by Jessica Healey who executes our event planning, programs, and marketing.
Providing excellent service to our clients would not be possible without the enormous groups of dedicated volunteers who choose to donate their hope, energy and time to Food Outreach every week. I have already met many volunteers who have shared that they have been working at Food Outreach for more than a decade and that one of the many reasons why they return, year after year, is because they know they provide critical services for our clients – our Monday Hot Lunches, Red Aprons, Saturday Cook and Pack, Grocery Center volunteers and hundreds of individuals and other volunteer groups know that they deliver crucial work on behalf of our mission – we could not feed our clients without Food Outreach volunteers.
I follow a legacy of Executive Directors whose leadership and dedication have helped expand our mission including Greg Lukeman, Mark Utterback and Jane Hadley. Our current and past Board Members provide a legacy of service on behalf of our clients and have worked tirelessly to ensure that the fiscal and strategic health of our organization endures. I will work with the current Board of Directors to ensure we fulfill our mission and grow to serve every client who comes through our doors.
Food Outreach continues to provide more than half a million scratch-prepared, nutritious meals and groceries to our clients each year. Our numerous community partners, plus our friends and supporters who invest in Food Outreach, make our mission possible. Our unique commitment to nutritional interventions that stabilize many of our clients’ health outcomes, our personal, deeply loyal service and the impact we have addressing hunger and the over-utilization of our health care systems is unique in the St. Louis region.
Joining Food Outreach and these interconnected circles of service is the opportunity of a lifetime for me. I look forward to meeting our friends and community partners as I execute my responsibilities as the fourth Executive Director of Food Outreach.