Our Leadership

 

Food Coalition Coordinator
Val Stone
Food Rescue Coordinator
Goodwill Industries of Northwest Michigan

Bachelor of Social Work, Central Michigan University

Val works for Goodwill in the Food Rescue program.  She coordinates the Northwest Food Coalition monthly member meetings and the gathering of pantry and meal site statistics on people served.  She organizes collaborative activities for members such as food drives.  She has experience with many food programs serving Northwest Michigan such as Commodity Foods.   Val served as a Community Service Coordinator for 27 years at the Northwest Michigan Community Action Agency (NMCAA).  During her time at NMCAA, Val helped found the Northwest Food Coalition in 1994.  While coordinating the Food Coalition, Val also helped start Food Rescue in 2009.

She is a Traverse City native and lives there with her husband and partner in crime.  She loves art and floral design.

info@northwestmifoodcoalition.org


 

Chairperson of Operating Committee
Mary Clulo
Director of Treasury and Tax
Munson Healthcare

M.A. Public Policy, Maternal and Child Health
Certificate in Health Administration, University of Chicago

B.A. Business Administration, University of Notre Dame

Mary works in Munson Healthcare in the Treasury department.  She ran the food pantry for St. Patrick’s Catholic Church for 18 years as a volunteer leader.  In 2016-2018 she served on the Steering Committee of the Food Coalition, which became the Operating Committee in 2018.  She has served as the chair of the Operating Committee since March of 2018.  Mary also participated on the systems team that created the Food Security System Map.

She lives in Traverse City with her husband and has two adult children.


 

 

Treasurer
Madonna Williams

B.A. Accounting
Certified Public Accountant

Madonna has served as the Treasurer of the food coalition since January 2020.  She is a retired certified public accountant and, prior to retiring, ran her own accounting firm for business clients of varying sizes.  As Treasurer of the food coalition, she works closely with our fiduciary, NMCAA and the food coalition coordinator to manage donations and payments.


 

Secretary of Operating Committee
Kris Thomas

President of Board , Paul Oliver Memorial Hospital
Benzie Rotary Club

B.S. Nuclear Engineering 1985, U Mich, Ann Arbor
2018 Athena Award for Women in Leadership

Since moving to Northern Michigan,  Kris has been very involved in volunteering in the community and with the Benzie Rotary Club.  She has served as the president of the Benzie Rotary foundation and led programs in local schools. She is the founder of the cycling event Bike Benzie, a Rotary fundraiser.  She started the Healthy Harvest gleaning program, which is now managed by Goodwill Food Rescue.  She has been a leader in the fighting food insecurity, and is the principal author of the Benzie Rotary 2014 Food Security Report.  Prior to moving to northern Michigan, Kris worked as a nuclear engineer at the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission.  Currently she lives in Traverse City and also serves as the President of the board of Trustees of the Paul Oliver Memorial Hospital of the Munson Healthcare System.


 

Fundraising Chair
Website Master, Social Media and Marketing
Michele Worden

B.S.Chem/B.S. ChE 1988, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
M.B.A. 1999 Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Certificate of Fundraising Management, Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy
Advanced Master Gardener Volunteer MSUE

Michele began volunteering with the Northwest Food Coalition in 2016 as the facilitator of the Steering Committee, which was formed to address issues identified in the 2014 Benzie Rotary Food Security Report.   She was the team leader for the creation of the System map for the food coalition.  Prior to moving to Northern Michigan, Michele worked as a product development consultant for technology-based companies.  She also worked as an engineer and project manager capital projects in the Petroleum and Chemical industries, overseas and domestically.  In the Grand Traverse region, Michele spent six years working in various elementary schools as an instructor in school gardens, ‘Food of the Month” nutrition programs, and as a Farm to School instructor.    She is a founding board member of The Greenspire School, Traverse City, where she started the STEaM Night program,  She is the current president of the Master Gardener Association of Northwest Michigan.   

She lives in the woods in Traverse City with her husband and two teenage children; she enjoys hiking the trails and working in her garden.


 

Member
Nancy Johnson
Pantry Leader
Grace Episcopal Pantry

B.A.  University of Minnesota
M.A. Dieletics and Food Administration, Michigan State University

Nancy has run the pantry at Grace in Traverse City for several years since her retirement.  Before retiring, Nancy was a dietician and nutrition instructor in the nursing school of Michigan State University.  She has also been a Special Education instructor.  Nancy has served on the Steering Committee, then Operating Committee since 2016.


 

Purchasing Committee Chairperson
Pastor Dave Kroon
Pantry Coordinator
Good Samaritan Food Pantry

Dave is the pantry coordinator and chaplain for Good Samaritan Food Pantry in Antrim county.  Dave has served on the Operating Committee since 2019.


 

Member
Meghan McDermott
Food and Farming Program Director
Groundworks Center for Resiliency

B.A.  Food and Sustainability Studies, Psychology Vassar College – Poughkeepsie, NY 2013

Meghan’s work is in regional food systems.  She has contributed to Groundworks food and farming focus area since 2015, and has led this work as Program Director since 2016.  Meghan sits on many regional advisory boards and has strong facilitation skills that she uses to problem solve and create positive change in sustainable food systems.  Meghan began her work in Northern Michigan as a Food Corps Service Member working in area schools in 2013.


 

Member
Michelle Northrup
Director of Operations at Benzie Area Christian Neighbors (BACN), Beulah MI
Benzie Area Christian Neighbors (BACN)

B.S. Business Administration and Management 1988
Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant

As Director of Operations at BACN since 2012, Michelle has been involved in the growth of the organization and food pantry.  She was formerly involved with the Grand Vision to Grand Action and the Poverty Reduction Initiative, Traverse City MI.

She has also attended classes at the The Evaluators Institute (TEI), and completed the Acumen Systems Practice training.   She has volunteering with Steering Committee on 2016 and was part of a team that completed a food security system map.  She was also the chair person of the Farm2Neighbor purchasing committee.

Michelle lives in Traverse City with her husband and daughter’s dog, which they inherited when she moved to the west coast. She enjoys hiking, swimming and trips to visit relatives and friends.


 

Member
Cathy Somes
Executive Director
Kalkaska Area Interfaith Resources

Cathy runs Kalkaska Interfaith Resource (KAIR) in Kalkaska county, which operates a food pantry and thrift shop.  Recently KAIR was awarded a large grant to open the first meal site in Kalkaska.  She has volunteered on the Steering Committee, then Operating Committee since 2016.


 

Taylor Moore

Member
Taylor Moore
Manager, Food Rescue of Northwest Michigan

B.A. Sociology & Political Science – Colorado College
Diplome de Cuisine, Le Cordon Bleu

Taylor Moore serves as Manager of Food Rescue of Northwest Michigan, a program of Goodwill Northern Michigan. A culinary graduate and holding a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Political Science with a focus in social welfare policy, Taylor has led Food Rescue’s transition in adopting systems change practices to address food insecurity and food waste. Since Taylor joined the team in 2015, Food Rescue has prioritized access to healthy food by increasing services to and connection with local farmers through its Healthy Harvest program, the Northwest Food Coalition’s Farm to Neighbor Program (F2N), Groundwork’s Local Food Relief program, and, most recently, assisting the Area Agency on Aging’s USDA produce distribution. Taylor understands an equitable food system to be a primary function of sustaining and improving one’s sense of belonging to a community.


 

Advisory Committee
Christina Barkel
Purchasing Coordinator for Northwest Food Coalition
Food Equity Specialist
Groundworks Center

B.A. in Environmental Science, with focus on Environmental Justice from the Literature, Science and Arts school
School of Natural Resources, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Christina works as a Food Equity Specialist with Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities. She supports several key parts of the Food & Farming program. Most of her time is spent working with farmers and food pantries to create systems that increase the amount of healthy, locally grown food available to people who use food pantries. Christina began her work with the food coalition as the Purchasing Coordinator of the Farm2Neighbor program through the Helping You Heal grant. Her role has been expanded the encompass expanded purchasing for the Northwest Food Coalition through funding from the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation . Previous experience includes working with community gardening, urban food access work and farm to school Initiatives in both Ypsilanti and Detroit, as well as five years managing a diverse vegetable CSA farm in Leelanau County.

Christina loves to be outside as much as possible, and can be found in the garden, at the beach or on the trails in the summer and on skis or skates in the winter.


 

Advisory Committee Member
Jennifer Berkey
District 3 Director
Michigan State University Extension

B. S. Family and Consumer Sciences, University of Arizona, 1997
M. S. Administration, Central Michigan University, 2008
Serve Safe Instructor

Jennifer serves as the District Three Director and provides administrative oversight for the six county MSU Extension offices in Northwest Lower Michigan including; Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Kalkaska and Manistee Counties. She has worked for MSU Extension for 22 years and prior to this assignment she worked as an extension educator providing supervision for SNAP-Ed nutrition instructors as well as taught food safety education for the community. She has been active in multiple leadership positions within her community; PTO president at two schools as well as served as President of MEAFCS (Michigan Extension Association of Family and Consumer Science Educators). Jennifer has been an active member of the Northwest Food Coalition by linking the nutrition and food safety resources to the pantry members.

She lives in Traverse City with her two daughters and her golden doodle. Jennifer enjoys participating in her daughter’s school and sporting events as well as hiking on our beautiful northern Michigan trails or boating on the bay.


 

Advisory Committee Member
Dan Buron
Chief Executive Officer
Goodwill Industries of Northwest Michigan

Studied at Gustavus Adolphus College

Goodwill Northern Michigan’s Executive Director brings more than 20 years of leadership experience with Goodwill organizations across the country. He has proven success in building innovative community partnerships to meet the challenges of a community.

Long a fan of the Grand Traverse region, Dan moved here with his wife and two daughters in 2016. In 2019, Dan completed the Ironman 70.3 Traverse City Triathlon, raising money for Food Rescue as part of the Charity Challenge. His Goodwill career was inspired by his sister, Special Olympics Athlete Karen Buron.

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