Session 2 – What are the Sources of Food Assistance?

January 12, 2021 | 10:00-11:30 am EST

The second session takes a look at both government and non-profit food assistance programs through the lenses of those operating the programs. Learn about the challenges these public and private programs have encountered during the pandemic and local responses to the increased community needs. This session includes representatives from government programs, food pantries, school nutrition programs, community meal sites, and organizations related to food assistance programs.

View the Pre-session Reading Materials to have a better understanding of food assistance programs.

Session Two Recording

Session Two Panelists


Mary Clulo
Director of Treasury and Tax
Munson Healthcare

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. She has served as the chair of the Operating Committee of the Northwest Food Coalition since March of 2018. Mary also participated on the systems team that created the Food Security System Map. She has a B.A. in business administration from University of Notre Dame and a Masters of Public Health Administration from the University of Chicago.


Val Stone
Food Coalition Coordinator, 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.


Megan Olds
Parallel Solutions

Megan has spent her career dedicated to community growth and development, land and water conservation and restoration, food and farming systems, housing, transportation, and access to nature and outdoor recreation. Pairing her professional experience in community and organizational development with a personal zeal for building trust and openness in decision-making, Megan founded Parallel Solutions in 2014.

She is a 1999 graduate of Miami University (Ohio) with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Geography and a Bachelor of Philosophy degree from the School of Interdisciplinary Studies/Western College Program. She earned a Master of Arts in Organizational Management from Spring Arbor University, and pursued additional training in mediation, mindfulness, and workplace diversity.

Session Introduction

Meghan McDermott
Food and Farming Program Director
Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities

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.


Janee Moore
Food Access Public Health Consultant
Michigan Department of Health & Human Services

Janee Moore is a public health professional, who is a passionate about improving population health through impacting the social determinants of health and increasing health equity. She attended the University of Michigan where she received a Bachelors of Arts in Women’s Studies focusing on Women’s Health. Afterwards she attended Emory University and graduated with a MPH. Prior to working for the State of Michigan, she worked for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a Public Health Advisor in the areas of HIV, Environmental Health and Chronic Disease. She is currently the Food Access Public Health Consultant at MDHHS.


Darcia Brewer, RD
Contract & Administrative Services Coordinator
Area Agency on Aging of Northwest Michigan (AAANM)

Darcia Brewer, RD, has worked at AAANM since 2003, with a variety of responsibilities. One of the most rewarding roles includes contract management of 6 Senior Nutrition Programs in Northwest Michigan that directly serve congregate and home delivered meals to older adults in AAANM’s 10-county service region. AAANM monitors compliance of and provides technical assistance to these Senior Nutrition Programs that receive pass-through Older Americans Act and Older Michiganians Act nutrition funding from AAANM.

Darcia earned a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics at Central Michigan University.


Cathy Somes
Executive Director
Kalkaska Area Interfaith Resources

After earning a Human Service Applied Science Degree and degrees through CUNA League in budgeting, financial planning, theft prevention and recognition, the journey in assisting families in need in our community began. My passion for changing people’s lives one step at a time has granted me the wisdom to advocate on their behalf while maintaining a primary focus of reducing food insecurity today and for future generations.  

As the Executive Director of Kalkaska Area Interfaith Resources together with my staff, support of community members, and contacts established through our relationship with the Northwest Food Coalition we have been able to grow our program over the last several years to include not only food pantry services, but a community meal program as well, serving over 1,500 people with nutritional foods in our fight against food insecurity each month. 

My vision is the continued reduction of food insecurity for impoverished households that will create a future for all children promoting a healthier society, leading us all into a world filled with promise. It is my personal belief that changing the life of one individual can and will better the world with moments that are assured to melt your heart while creating a balance for others whose stories will take your breath away.


Les Hagaman
Director of Operations
Father Fred Foundation, Traverse City 

Spending the first seventeen years of my life living in three Asian countries has instilled in me a lifelong interest in people, culture and a passion for food. While I did not initially aspire to pursue a career in food, that passion and an inherent gift in that area, emerged in my adolescence and led me to embark on a path in food, beverage and hospitality management. 

After working for twenty-seven years as a country club manager, chef and a small business owner, I began to think about changing my path to a more purposeful end. In 2015, I determined to make a career change and transition to the nonprofit sector in order to contribute to the lives of people in a more meaningful, direct and productive manner; joining the Staff at the Father Fred Foundation as Director of Operations. 

My time living overseas and travelling around the US, developing my career, has instilled in me the belief that we are extremely fortunate in this country and have a responsibility to give back to at risk populations. It is my desire to use my remaining working years to help those who have fallen between the cracks, and, I have endeavored to use my skills in logistics, supply chain and food toward that purpose. I believe that we, as a Foundation, have the responsibility to improve the diet of food insecure households through the quality and nutritional value of the food we distribute. If we are able to achieve success in that area, it is my belief that we can successfully intervene in the poverty cycle.

Technical Support

Jennifer Berkey
District Director – District 3
Michigan State University Extension

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. 

Our Partners