40 Faces of the Food Bank
In 2019, the Greater Cleveland Food Bank celebrates 40 years of service to our communities. We look forward to a year of reflecting, celebrating, and honoring all of the people who have impacted our work in the Greater Cleveland community through the 40 Faces Campaign.
Jedene Westmoreland is a cook in the Greater Cleveland Food Bank Kitchen. Jedene has worked tirelessly at the Food Bank for more than 30 years. She’s the longest-standing employee and was recently honored as Employee of the Year. Jedene has been dedicated to the Food Bank for more than three decades. Her work touches so many lives, from clients, to volunteers, to her coworkers. Watch this video to see her in action.
LaTonya is a single mother of three children, Makayla, Makezie, and Israel. She works hard to ensure her kids have what they need to grow up. But life has been difficult for her. Her children's father passed away, leaving LaTonya to support her young family alone. Then, a few years ago, she became unemployed, often finding temporary jobs that would still fall short of making ends meet. Then, the family relied on Food Bank programs including Kid's Cafes and produce distributions. Now, LaTonya and her family are more secure. She's working and continuing her education. They might not need the same support of the Food Bank anymore, but we're glad we were here when she did. Read her full story by clicking here.
Miriam came to the United States from the Ukraine in 1992 with her family, including children and grandchildren. Now “86 years young,” Miriam and her husband receive fresh produce and other food at their senior apartment building from the Kosher Food Pantry, a partner of the Greater Cleveland Food Bank. The Kosher Food Pantry delivers groceries to many senior apartment buildings in eastern Cuyahoga County, touching the lives of so many seniors, including Miriam. Watch this video to meet Miriam and see the work of the Kosher Food Pantry in action.
Video by Corina Chang.
Shamari Ferguson has been volunteering at the Greater Cleveland Food Bank with the Cuyahoga East Vocational Educational Consortium (CEVEC) for two years. CEVEC students have been volunteering at the Food Bank for more than a decade. Through her work in the Food Bank's Kitchen, Shamari has blossomed into an independent woman with hirable skills. She hopes to be competitively employed soon. Shamari loves working at the Food Bank because, simply, she loves to help people. Read more about Shamari here.
Photography by Bridget Caswell Photography.
Everything. That’s what Akilah Ashraf loves about her job in the Greater Cleveland Food Bank’s Help Center. Akilah is the Benefits Outreach Coordinator at the Greater Cleveland Food Bank. She works with walk-in clients who come to the Food Bank in need of assistance with finding food or signing up for benefits like SNAP. Akilah has been with the Food Bank for seven years, watching the Benefits Outreach team grow from just three people to more than 20. At her core, Akilah is a woman for others. Read here to learn more about her passion and her work.
Kristin Warzocha is the President & CEO of the Greater Cleveland Food Bank. Since college, Kristin has devoted her career to fighting hunger, leading a student group at John Carroll serving meals to people in need in Cleveland. After college, Kristin started working on the Harvest for Hunger Campaign, which is now coordinated by the Greater Cleveland Food Bank. Kristin has been an employee of the Food Bank for almost two decades, watching our staff and capacity grow and expand to serve more people in more ways. She couldn't imagine another job that she would enjoy more.
Video by JL Digital Productions.
7. Allen Smith
Allen Smith is the Chief Program Officer for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Cleveland. Allen works every day to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Part of this work is ensuring children are fed. Allen, along with his colleagues, partners with the Greater Cleveland Food Bank to provide meals to kids at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland. Watch this video to learn more about the Food Bank's partnership with the Boys and Girls Clubs and to hear Allen speak about the impact of the meals at our 2018 Annual Meeting.
8. Ann Shotwell
Ann Shotwell is 90 years old, and she’s not afraid to admit it. She’s devoted her life to others, having helped feed people in need in the Cleveland area since the 1960s. Miss Shotwell, as she's lovingly known around the Food Bank, has made feeding people her life's work - and she's never been paid for it. In 2013, she was awarded the Ed Worley award recognizing her for her strong leadership, advocacy, and passion within the community in the fight against hunger. Miss Shotwell is a doer, she loves her work, and think she wouldn't love it as much if she got paid. Read more about her here.
Photography by Bridget Caswell Photography.
John and Janet Mitchell spend so much time volunteering at the Food Bank, they are like part of the staff. On Monday and Wednesday mornings, they can be found hard at work in the Food Bank’s repack area, sorting donated food to be distributed to the Food Bank’s network of nearly 1,000 partners. Both Janet and John have giving spirits. They both feel a need to give back to their community – we’re grateful they’ve chosen to do so through the Food Bank. From volunteering to donating, John and Janet have truly had an incredible impact in the fight against hunger in Northeast Ohio.
Learn more about John and Janet by clicking here to read their story.
10. Doug Bannerman
Even 35 years working in banking didn’t prepare Doug Bannerman for his six months as Interim Executive Director of the Food Bank. In 1999, about a year after joining the Food Bank’s board, and just a few months after retiring, Doug found himself taking on the project of a lifetime. While his time as Executive Director was short, Doug's nine years on the Food Bank's board, three years as Board Chair, and 17 years on the finance committee had an incredible impact on the Food Bank and people in need in Northeast Ohio. Doug loved his time working with the Food Bank and describes his experience as fun and thrilling. Read more about Doug by clicking here.
Photography by Bridget Caswell Photography.
11. Leticia Wilson
Leticia (Tish) Wilson has been volunteering at the Food Bank since she retired in 2011. She spends at least one day per week in the Food Bank's repack area sorting donated food. Each third Thursday of the month, she can be found smiling and laughing with clients coming to the Food Bank for our monthly produce distribution. Tish's energy is infectious. She puts a smile on the face of each person she meets, from Food Bank employees to clients in need. Her work impacts so many people in need, and Tish is happy to provide this service because, simply, she likes to keep busy and she gets satisfaction helping other people. We're so grateful she's such a committed volunteer.
Video by Quinn Media Group.
12. Ben Hauserman
Ben Hauserman was the Food Bank's George Washington. He was the Food Bank’s first Board Chair and chaired the Executive and Finance committees for a number of years. But even before the Food Bank began, he was a leader: on May 29, 1979, Ben Hauserman was named incorporator of the Greater Cleveland Food Bank. On May 29, 2019, exactly 40 years later, and almost two decades after his passing, his family came to visit the Food Bank to talk more about Ben and his legacy. Without him, there wouldn't be an anniversary to celebrate.
Read more about Ben's legacy by clicking here.
13. Carl Monday
In 1989, Carl Monday aired an investigation about food waste in the Greater Cleveland area. What he discovered launched the founding of Food Rescue Northeast Ohio, a nonprofit that merged with the Food Bank in 2001, setting the Food Bank on a trajectory to where they are today: providing fresh, nutritious food, including perishable products, to people in need. Carl has been a leader and supporter of Food Rescue and the Food Bank since the late 1980s and remains passionate about the Food Bank's mission today.
Visit the Food Bank's Facebook page to watch a Facebook Live event with Carl where he'll talk about his work to help food insecure people in Northeast Ohio.
Thirty six years ago, Barb Klingensmith began working at Country Neighbor, the Greater Cleveland Food Bank's partner distribution organization in Ashtabula County. Country Neighbor receives food from the Food Bank, stores it in their own warehouse, and redistributes it to a network of partners within the county. Barb and her team of 50 staff members understand the needs of Ashtabula County because they live and know the county. With this knowledge, over the last 36 years, Country Neighbor has grown into a wrap-around organization that helps thousands of people every year with food assistance and more. At the helm is Barb who loves her work and feels proud of the impact she's been able to have on so many lives.
15. Felton Thomas
Felton Thomas is the Board Chair of the Greater Cleveland Food Bank. He's served on the Food Bank's board since 2013 and was elected Board Chair in 2016. Felton is the Executive Director & CEO of the Cleveland Public Library, which partners with the Greater Cleveland Food Bank through programs like Summer Feeding and Produce Distributions. Felton's passion for the Food Bank's mission is evident in his work to fight poverty and hunger throughout the City of Cleveland.
Click here to watch a Facebook Live featuring Felton to hear more about his leadership of the Greater Cleveland Food Bank.
16. Albert Ratner
Albert is a lot of things – a philanthropist, business leader, writer, advocate, nonagenarian, husband, and father. He’s well known for the number of hats he wears. But, he’s loved by the people at the Food Bank for other reasons – his caring and generosity. Albert and his wife has supported the Food Bank in many ways for years including giving valued suggestions and ideas, advocating for the Food Bank, and donating money. Albert truly believes in the Food Bank's mission and is happy to be of service to the Greater Cleveland community.
Five years ago, Willy and Esperanza walked into the Greater Cleveland Food Bank for the first time and their lives changed for the better. They weren’t exactly sure what services were provided at the Food Bank, but they were interested to learn more. Over the last five years, they’ve endured loss – loss of income, work, and a loved one. That’s not an easy burden for anyone to bear. But despite these challenges, these two seniors are thriving, thanks to the support they received from Akilah and others in the Greater Cleveland Food Bank’s Help Center.
18. Tim Floyd
Tim Floyd has been a driver for the Greater Cleveland Food Bank for more than 20 years. Before then, Tim was a driver with Food Rescue of Northeast Ohio until they merged with the Food Bank. Today, Tim still loves his job. Every day is different, whether he's visiting the produce terminal downtown or delivering summer meals to a local library. A lot has changed in the last 20 years of Tim's career, including the size of the need in Northeast Ohio and the scope of the Food Bank. One thing that hasn't changed, however, is Tim's positive attitude and infectious smile.
19. Bill Coquillette
Without Bill Coquillette, the Food Bank wouldn't exist as it’s known today. Bill was one of the Food Bank’s founders, served on the Board of the Food Bank for years, including twice as Board chair, and even stepped in as President & CEO for a brief period of time. His commitment to and love for the Food Bank is evident not only in his words, but in his actions. He’s genuine, caring, and passionate about the people we serve. We’re so grateful that Bill found his way to the Food Bank’s founding Board 40 years ago and that he’s still part of the magic 40 years later.
Videography by Michael Merto.
20. Dick Bogomolny
As the CEO of Pick N’ Pay in 1979, Dick Bogomolny understood all too well the necessity of establishing the Food Bank. He watched as the need in Cleveland increased throughout the 1970s, all while perfectly good, unsold food was going to waste. That’s when he got involved with the newly established Greater Cleveland Food Bank. Dick was instrumental in bringing other food retailers to the Food Bank and working to ensure often-wasted food found its way to people in need. He also gifted the Food Bank our first refrigerator. Now, Dick is retired, but still connected and supportive of the Food Bank. Without his leadership, the Food Bank would not have had early support from so many food retailers, something that still continues today.
Photography by Bridget Caswell Photography.
21. Rocco Whalen
Chef Rocco Whalen has been involved with Taste of the Browns since its inception more than 20 years ago. He’s a Cleveland food legend, a rabid Browns fan, and an incredible supporter of the Greater Cleveland Food Bank. His support through Taste of the Browns and other efforts has helped to provide millions of meals to people in need in the Cleveland area. Rocco understands the need in Cleveland and feels he has a civic responsibility to help fight hunger where he lives and works. His support of the mission of the Food Bank and rallying of the Greater Cleveland community is vital in the fight against hunger.
Video by Quinn Media Group.
22. Ray Murphy
Creativity. To Ray Murphy, that’s the one thing that’s launched the Food Bank from a simple food redistribution center to a champion of hunger relief in the city of Cleveland. Ray’s love for the Food Bank’s mission is evident in his leadership and support over the last few decades. Most notably, Ray and his wife gave one of the key gifts of the Food Bank’s capital campaign to open our facility in 2005. Ray is proud to have such an impact in the City of Cleveland, knowing that his leadership on and off the Food Bank’s board has contributed to millions of meals for people in need in the city he calls home.
23. Darnell Brown
For the last 45 years, Darnell Brown has worked tirelessly to help people in Cleveland, his hometown. As the Chief Operating Officer of the City of Cleveland, Darnell works every day to ensure the city he loves so much runs efficiently and connects with its citizens. Darnell joined the Food Bank’s Board in 2003 when the Greater Cleveland Committee on Hunger merged with the Greater Cleveland Food Bank. Since then, his leadership has impacted so many people in need in the Food Bank’s communities; he knows the people of Cleveland, and he loves his city. Beyond serving on the Food Bank’s Board, Darnell is integral in the City’s yearly Harvest for Hunger Campaign, which raises more than $100,000 annually.
24. Tom Greiner
Not only was Tom Greiner a founder of the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, he also worked closely with the Gleaner’s Community Food Bank during their founding two years prior. Tom’s passion for fighting hunger even led him to work helping establish Second Harvest, which would later become Feeding America. While Tom and his co-founders originally believed that the Food Bank would be temporary, he’s proud to see the organization established as a strong part of the Cleveland community. Without Tom, the Food Bank wouldn’t have even started.
25. Anne Goodman
Whenever Anne Goodman comes to visit the Food Bank, the place she called home for more than 14 years, she’s always greeted by smiles. Anne served as President & CEO of the Greater Cleveland Food Bank from 2000 to 2014. In that time, she oversaw the Food Bank through some extremely transformative years, including building a new building and being awarded the Food Bank of the Year award in 2006. But more than her accomplishments, Anne remembers the people she worked alongside with at the Food Bank. And those people remember her as an effervescent leader that moved the Food Bank into the new millennium.
Video by Heart & Fist.