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New team members join Midwest Food Bank


Welcoming Darryl Bess to the MFB Arizona team

Midwest Food Bank Arizona is pleased to announce the hiring of Darryl Bess as Community Relations and Volunteer Manager. Darryl started this week in this new role and will help bolster our volunteer base and develop a strategy for community engagement.

Darryl is a dedicated individual with a background and commitment to service and community. He has a Communications degree from Arizona State University and currently serves as a Logistics Planner in the United States Air Force Reserves.

"We are thrilled to have Darryl join the MFB family," says Merilee Baptiste, Executive Director of MFB Arizona. "His creative spirit and leadership skills lend well to this new role in Arizona."

Darryl has also had the opportunity to venture into the world of media and advertising, appearing in ads for notable brands such as Kia, Hilton Garden Hotels, Circle K and more. (Check this out: Mashgin Now at Circle K - YouTube )

"I pursued a position with Midwest Food Bank because I was connected to the values,"says Darryl. "I feel I have the opportunity to make a positive impact in the community and in the lives of others while working with a great team."

Beyond his professional endeavors, Darryl finds joy and fulfillment in his family life. Married and a proud parent of two children, family is at the core of his identity. Darryl is deeply passionate about giving back to the community and believes in the values of Midwest Food Bank. We welcome Darryl to the MFB family. 


Core volunteer becomes MFB Morton staff member

In a recent development at Midwest Food Bank Morton, Illinois, a new chapter unfolds as Brittany Parker steps into the role of Volunteer and Development Coordinator. Brittany transitions from a deeply involved volunteer to a key staff member, bringing her unique blend of skills and enthusiasm to the forefront.

"I am very excited to be able to support MFB- Morton in a new role," says Brittany. "The culture and conversation will be a blessing to my week."

Brittany, a University of Illinois at Champaign and Allen College of Nursing alumna, has an extensive background in healthcare, having served in hospitals and home health settings. After dedicating several years to managing her household and raising four children, Brittany's commitment to her community has been evident through her active participation in various local organizations, including her children's school, church, Midwest Food Bank, and Impact Central IL.

Brittany enjoys being outside whenever she can, running, gardening, or planting flowers. She keeps busy with activities and sports for her four children - and has been with her husband, Matt, since high school.

Brittany, with her care, service, and great abundance of joy has been a great value to Midwest Food Bank," says Lisa Martin, Executive Director of MFB Morton. "We look forward to utilizing these skills as rotates her MFB hat from volunteer to staff."

With goals that include spreading awareness of the food bank's mission to more families and children, Brittany's journey from volunteer to staff exemplifies a dedication to service and community betterment. Her story, highlighted in a blog post two years ago, showcases her multifaceted role and deep-rooted commitment to Midwest Food Bank.

We warmly welcome Brittany to her new role.


Bringing a wealth of experience to the role of MFB Peoria Volunteer Coordinator 

Midwest Food Bank Peoria is pleased to welcome Ileen Grebner as our new Volunteer Coordinator. Ileen joined our team at the beginning of April, bringing with her a remarkable blend of experience that spans over two decades. Ileen's diverse set of skills and her dedication to fostering community engagement make her an invaluable asset to our team.

Her journey includes significant contributions to community outreach, ministry work, and volunteer service, emphasizing her role as a key figure in retail sales and church leadership, particularly in the Germantown Hills area. As the Director of programs and activities at St. Mary of Lourdes, Ileen has earned the affectionate title of 'chaos coordinator.' This nickname is a testament to her exceptional ability to manage faith-based projects and programs, highlighted by her leadership in orchestrating a seamless vacation bible school program annually.

"We are immensely fortunate to have Ileen join our team," says Christa Staley, Executive Director of Midwest Food Bank Peoria. "Her extensive background in volunteer service and her unwavering commitment to community welfare align perfectly with our mission."

In her personal time, Ileen is an avid enthusiast of sewing, craft fairs, and game nights with friends. She is also a devoted fan of the Chiefs and Royals. Ileen's love for her family shines through in her enjoyment of quality time spent with her ten nieces and nephews.

"I'm truly excited to be a part of the Midwest Food Bank family," says Ileen. "I look forward to contributing to such a meaningful cause and to work alongside people who are passionate about making a difference in our community."

Please join us in extending a warm welcome to Ileen.


New MFB Indiana Volunteer Coordinator committed to making a difference

We are thrilled to introduce Lauren Harrison as the new Volunteer Coordinator for Midwest Food Bank Indiana. Lauren's journey into volunteerism began during her college years at Hanover College with the establishment of the Adopt-A-Grandparent program. This initiative not only brought joy and companionship to local nursing home residents but also sparked Lauren's lifelong commitment to volunteer work.

Lauren's arrival at Midwest Food Bank comes with an impressive six years of experience in the nonprofit sector, specializing in volunteer management. Her diverse interests, ranging from trivia and golf to yoga and karaoke, bring a unique blend of skills and passions to our team. Lauren lives just south of Indianapolis with her three rescue cats, Silas, Sikori, and Spooki.

"During her interview, Lauren wanted to understand the personal 'why' behind our board member's involvement with Midwest Food Bank," says Marcie Luhigo, Executive Director of Midwest Food Bank Indiana. "Her eagerness to dive deeper into what draws people to our mission and her goal to bring more people into our fold are exactly why I'm excited to welcome her to our team."

In her own words, Lauren expressed her drive and dedication to the cause: "Volunteerism is a core part of who I am. I'm drawn to the mission of Midwest Food Bank and can't wait to contribute my experiences to enhance our volunteer program."

Lauren's commitment to making a difference, coupled with her rich background in fostering community connections, sets the stage for a promising future at Midwest Food Bank Indiana. Please join us in warmly welcoming Lauren Harrison to our team, where together, we will continue to make strides in serving those in need within our community.


New MFB Texas Warehouse Manager Committed to Service

Midwest Food Bank, Texas, is pleased to welcome Steve Whitford as the new Warehouse Manager. Steve officially joined the staff in early March, stepping into a position critical for the organization's mission to alleviate hunger.

With a rich military background as a combat medic, Steve has honed his skills in project management, customer service, quality control, and building enduring client relationships. These skills reflect his dedication to serving communities with compassion and efficiency.

"I am honored to have the opportunity to serve our communities and help feed hungry people in Christ's name," says Steve.

Beyond his military service, Steve has demonstrated a profound commitment to community service through his work with various non-governmental organizations. Steve has been instrumental in addressing social and humanitarian challenges. His approach to collaboration—centered on building strong relationships, coordinating efforts, and leveraging expertise—has made a significant impact by serving those in need.

"Steve is no stranger to roles that demand precision, dedication, and a deep-seated commitment to service," says Gareth Keown, Midwest Food Bank Texas Executive Director. "We greatly look forward to utilizing his skills at MFB Texas."

Please join us in extending a warm welcome to Steve as he begins his journey with Midwest Food Bank Texas. 

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