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MFB Arizona welcomes Merilee Baptiste

Merilee Baptiste came to Arizona right after college for the sunshine. That carefree decision landed her a 22-year career at Vanguard and eventually, Midwest Food Bank. On Feb. 1, Merilee joined the MFB team as Executive Director of MFB Arizona. 

Merilee had been volunteering at various non-profits and started volunteering at MFB Arizona a couple of years ago. She was thankful to find a place where she could volunteer with her children. These volunteer experiences got her thinking about maybe working for a non-profit someday.

"When MFB Arizona was searching for an executive director, I felt a tug on my heart and a whisper in my ear from God saying this is my next step in life," says Merilee. "The verse Jeremiah 29:11 continuously played in my mind and heart and I knew this was God's purpose for me." 

"We are excited to have Merilee and her leadership talents joining the Midwest Food Bank team," says Eric Hodel, CCO/CFO of Midwest Food Bank. "Merilee will help lead MFB Arizona to continue to serve those in hunger while showing and sharing the love of Christ."

MFB will benefit from Merilee's experience in customer service, project management, sales support, risk management, leadership and fund accounting. She says she also is thankful that she learned so much about investing while at Vanguard.

At MFB, she sees a different type of investing - people serving and investing in their community and in others. "The Holy Spirit is in this place and touches so many people in ways that cannot be explained," she says.

Merilee credits the Arizona staff and volunteers for creating a culture of teamwork and encouragement. "I think I've been hugged and prayed for more, and done so in return, in the first 30 days in my role, than all 22 years in my corporate role," she says. 

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 

Merilee Baptiste
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Sunday, 19 September 2021

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