Meet Our Staff

Filomena Acevedo, Director of Organizing
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Filomena coordinates the East Harlem and the Bronx Food Action Boards (FABs), which mobilizes low-income community members concerned with hunger and other anti-poverty initiatives in their communities.

She worked for over ten years at the Morrisania Health Center with the City of New York. She also worked at the Department of Refugee and Services, as well as the Immigration and Naturalization Services. She has lived and worked in New Orleans, where she was selected as a Representative of the Children’s Health Insurance for Low Income Children (C.H.I.P) to address the State Legislature in Baton Rouge, which resulted in the children being awarded with health insurance. Filomena studied Sociology at Herbert Lehman College in the Bronx.

Filomena's favorite foods are fresh fruits such as strawberries and blueberries, as she fights everyday for low-income individuals to be able to gain access to affordable, nutritious produce.

Magen Allen, Director of Communications
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Magen serves as the Director of Communications for Hunger Free America, where she oversees the organization's public message. This includes executing media relationships, communications strategy, social and traditional media, as well as writing and overseeing all web content. 

Magen's passion for poverty reduction and anti-hunger work runs deep. Growing up in rural Eastern Washington state, she witnessed early on how difficult it is for our country's small farmers to get by and afford food for themselves. Prior to her current role, Magen was the Communications Intern with the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, and was hired on full time following her graduation.

Magen holds a B.A. in Global Studies from LIU Global, where she spent four years of her undergraduate degree studying social justice issues in Costa Rica, Taiwan, Thailand, India, Turkey, China, South Africa, and the United States. Her undergraduate thesis was on the roles of public and private sector initiatives in the fight against hunger in the United States. She currently lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Her favorite food: blueberries! Magen's first job was on a small blueberry farm in rural Eastern Washington state, where she became known as the blueberry girl.  While there, she drove across the state to sell organic blueberries to Whole Foods and small shops alike, always with a basket of blueberries by her side.

Diana Alsip, Data and Design Coordinator
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Diana is the Data and Design Coordinator for Hunger Free NYC, and she carries out the updating, design, and distribution of the Neighborhood Guide(s) to Food and Assistance, as well as design work for various other departments. After obtaining a BFA in Photography from Arizona State University, she left the states to teach English in South Korea and travel the world. Time and again, she witnessed communities in need; feeling less than effective as a tourist, Diana decided to pursue a Master’s degree in International Development at The New School. During her program she had the opportunity to work with displaced populations in rural Colombia, and ended up focusing on community based development. She is interested in the practical ways in which communities can access and exercise their human rights, and believes that in particular a connection to our land and surroundings is vital to nurturing a strong and sustainable society. Reducing poverty and ensuring equal access to nutritious food is not just something needed in other countries; Diana chose to stay in NYC after completing her graduate studies in order to put her skills to work locally.

Diana’s Favorite Food: “Anything I bake!  I love to bake. I do enjoy the act of baking (and eating it!) but most importantly I love sharing it with others. I chose cookies because they’re easy to share, and to me nothing is comparable to making someone's day just a little bit better.“

Magdelan Andreoni, Research, Policy, and Advocacy Associate
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Joining the Hunger Free America team in 2017, Maggie serves as a Research, Policy, and Advocacy Associate. She assists in the coordination of all the quantitative and qualitative research related to hunger, poverty and nutrition policy from the local, state, and national-level, including SNAP benefits, WIC, school lunch, and summer meals programs.

Before this position, she worked as a bread baker and pastry chef at several bakeries and restaurants witnessing firsthand the struggle to support families on low wages and minimal benefits. Inspired by HFA’s mission to mitigate the social issues around hunger by working directly with low-income communities, the drivers of change, she is galvanized to help break down stereotypes and search for solutions.

Maggie received her Bachelors of Science in Studio Art, specializing in oil painting with a minor in anthropology from Skidmore College. Currently, she is pursuing a master’s degree at NYU focusing on agriculture and food policy.

Favorite Food: Bread “I am a glutenphile with a love of bread that runs so deep that my marrow is probably a sourdough starter. Growing up outside of Chicago with strong family ties to my Italian grandfather, a loaf with crisp crust and soft interior always accompanied dinner, and undeniably, breakfast and lunch too.”

Paul Bennett, Director of Finance & Administration
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Paul Bennett serves as the Director of Finance and Administration for Hunger Free America. He coordinates the administrative, financial, and office support work, processing a range of financial reports for federal, state and city offices. Paul also oversees Hunger Free America's operating budget and billing for various grants.

Paul moved to the nonprofit sector from investment banking after 9/11 as he wanted to focus his work on improving communities as best he could. While in graduate school for his MPA at Baruch College, Paul was encouraged to take his finance skills and apply them to the nonprofit sector. Taking that advice, Paul joined Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF) where he served as a Senior Consultant and Director of Analytics, amongst other roles. His claim to minor fame was to lead the research that resulted in the Financial SCAN product from Guidestar. Along the way, Paul served over 200 organizations and helped start the consulting practice at NFF.  

Paul then took the leap into daily operations as Chief Financial Officer of the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute before joining Hunger Free America in 2013 as the Director of Finance and Administration.  Paul has enjoyed working at nonprofits that focus on building strong communities including fostering leadership of underrepresented groups and delivering needed services.  Paul grew up going to public schools in Yonkers New York during the school busing and housing desegregation conflicts of the late 80’s.  Along with being voted “Best Dressed” in his 8th grade homeroom, Paul learned to make friends with people from a wide range of backgrounds and is dedicated to helping all working families and building bridges across divisions that traditionally stop social movements of working people.  Supporting the anti-hunger field is a great way for Paul to help empower working families to pursue their dreams and families.

Paul has taught as an adjunct professor at NYU, and is an alumni of the Coro Fellows Program.  On the side, Paul runs a monthly comedy show for kids called Guess What with his daughter and partner in Long Island City because nothing brings people together more than jokes.   

Paul's favorite food: dried mangos, "Because they are chewy and delicious. Plus, they help your body work smoothly."

Joel Berg, CEO
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Joel Berg is a nationally recognized leader and media spokesman in the fields of domestic hunger, food security, obesity, poverty, food-related economic development, national service, and volunteerism.  He is CEO of Hunger Free America. He is also the author of All You Can Eat: How Hungry Is America? , the definitive and most well-reviewed book on American hunger of the last decade. Seven Stories Press just publish his second book, “America We Need to Talk: a Self Help Book for the Nation.” Nobel Prize-winner Toni Morrison called the book important and entertaining.

Since 2001, Berg has led Hunger Free America, formerly known as the New York City Coalition Against Hunger throughout its many successes. Joel has grown the nonprofit into a multi-million-dollar, respected national champion for Americans struggling to obtain nutritious food. Hunger Free America is building a nonpartisan grassroots movement coast-to-coast to enact the economic policies and programs needed to finally solve the problem of domestic hunger. Operating on the philosophy, “Ending hunger lifts us all,” Joel and his team advocate for systemic change across the country, seeking higher wages, more living wage jobs, and a stronger nutrition safety net. The group also manages AmeriCorps*VISTA national service projects in 29 states and the USDA National Hunger Hotline, which provides callers the tools they need to obtain government and private food resources close to home. Joel is recognized as a powerful voice arguing for skilled volunteerism and has led his organization to establish a nationwide volunteer matching website, allowing people to best use their special skills like accounting, web design, or fundraising to help local soup kitchens and food pantries beyond packing cans or serving food.

Prior to his work with the Hunger Free America, Berg served for eight years in the Clinton Administration in senior executive service positions at USDA. For two years, he acted as USDA Coordinator of Community Food Security, a new position in which he created and implemented the first-ever federal initiative to better enable faith-based and other nonprofit groups to fight hunger, bolster food security, and help low-income Americans move out of poverty.

In addition, Berg worked as USDA Coordinator of Food Recovery and Gleaning for two years, working with community groups to increase the amount of food recovered, gleaned, and distributed to hungry Americans. Also while at USDA, he served as Director of National Service, Director of Public Liaison, and as acting Director of Public Affairs and Press Secretary. From 1989 to 1993, he served as a policy analyst for the Progressive Policy Institute and as a domestic policy staff member for then President-elect Bill Clinton’s transition team.

Berg has been published widely on the topics of hunger, national and community service, and grassroots community partnerships. These include recent papers on what President Obama can do to improve hunger metrics in the United States and other papers on childhood hunger and poverty, obesity, and practical solutions to end hunger when he was a Senior Fellow for the Center for American Progress.  He has also published papers on creating food jobs and other topics for the Progressive Policy Institute.

A native of Rockland County, NY, and a graduate of Columbia University, Berg now resides in Brooklyn. He is the past winner of the US Secretary of Agriculture’s Honor Award for Superior Service (one of the Department’s highest honors) and the Congressional Hunger Center’s Mickey Leland National Hunger Fighter Award. Joel also serves on the board of the Human Services Council.

Joel's desert island food: dumplings! “Properly prepared and cooked, Chinese pan-fried dumplings (known on the U.S. west coast as pot stickers) are crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, the perfect combination of textures. To eat them properly, you need to cover them with a mix of soy sauce, chili paste, and vinegar, which turns them from ultra-delightful to ultra-even more delightful.” -Joel Berg

Charlene Caceres, Program Coordinator & Communications Manager, National Hunger Hotline
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Charlene joined the Hunger Free America team in December 2014, where she serves as a Program Coordinator for the USDA National Hunger Hotline. Charlene is responsible for collecting and disseminating information about federal nutrition programs, emergency food providers, and public and private programs that improve the lives of low-income individuals and families contacting the Hotline. Prior to joining the NYCCAH team, Charlene was an Office Manager at Premier Health Care (YAI), a nonprofit organization that specializes in medical services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Charlene graduated from Kaplan University with a degree in Human Services Administration and is currently a member of Toast Masters International Club. Charlene’s goal is to utilize her leadership skills and abilities in order to provide services to individuals and families in need.

Charlene's favorite food are strawberries, "Because they are great low calorie snack and they are super yummy"

Benson Chan, Benefits Access Associate
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Benson worked for the Chinese American Planning Council's (CPC) Chung Pak Day Care Center for 11 years as an Educator that provided Early Education for low income families from Manhattan's Chinatown. When Hurricane Sandy hit, he wanted to do more for the residents of Chinatown. He joined University Settlement's Project Hope as a Crisis Counselor immediately after the storm. He provided immediate Crisis Counseling to individuals affected by Sandy utilizing Skills for Psychological Recovery (SPR) to help them recover and become more resilient when faced with crises. He also connected residents to their neighbors in order to build a stronger sense of community while assisting them in accessing disaster related services such as long term counseling, Disaster SNAP benefits, and applying for FEMA assistance.

Benson's favorite food: Spaghetti and Meatballs! "It's a simple food that you can make very elegant with everyday ingredients, making it a very versatile dish. Growing up this was one of my favorite dishes that my grandma made for me as a child."

Sheila Ramos-Corrales, Benefits Access Associate
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Sheila works on Hunger Free America’s Nutritional Outreach Education Project (NOEP) and visits farmer's markets, Bronx supermarkets, and community based organizations to prescreen clients for food stamp eligibility. She also assists clients with electronic food stamp applications and re-certifications as part of HFA's Paperless Office System (POS) and Recertification Improvement Project (RIP).

Sheila attended Bronx Community College and Lehman College for Business Administration. She has worked for over 20 years in the nonprofit sector, providing social services to the East Harlem community. Prior to working at NYCCAH, she worked at the Yorkville Common Pantry doing Single Stop services and administrative / secretarial duties for the Executive Director and Board of Directors.

Sheila's favorite food? Rice and beans with spaghetti squash and edamame instead of steak. "I come to work everyday as a Benefits Specialist. I prescreen people for SNAP benefits; and help them with the process to maintain their benefits. By helping clients along the way, they are able to afford to purchase and enjoy their favorite foods."

Stephanie Cui, Accountant and Assistanct to the Director of Finance
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Stephanie Cui has served more than 25 years in the nonprofit sector throughout organizations in New York City.  In her current role with Hunger Free America, she serves as a part time Accountant and Assistant to the Director of Finance.

Before coming to Hunger Free America, Stephanie worked at Self-help Community Services where she managed the MOW Home Bound Meals, Alzheimer Program, and Senior Service Fund accounts.  After 10 years there, Stephanie went to work at the Center for Children's Initiative as a fund’s manager for resource and referral services for children, as well as the office manager.

Stephanie was born in Shanghai, China.  After eight and a half years of education, she was taken out of school, as many others in China were, and was placed to work in a Fur Knitting Factory where she worked as an operating mechanic.  She worked three shifts daily for 13 years, but ended that job a few days before she flew to NYC, USA.

Stephanie has now lived in New York City for the last thirty years.  In 1986, Stephanie graduated from the Midtown School of Business NYC, where she caught up on the education that she missed out on in China, and worked to improve her English skills.  While there she earned a Junior Degree in Accounting.  Passionate about learning, Stephanie continues to work towards building up more knowledge in order to better serve Hunger Free America.

Stephanie's favorite food? She loves beans of all kinds, from green to kidney she especially loves beans prepared in Chinese culinary art.

Miguelina Diaz, Food Support Connections Program Manager
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Miguelina is part of the Benefit Access Team in NYCCAH. She dedicates the majority of her time to helping clients successfully complete the process of applying and recertifying for SNAP / Food Stamps benefits, ensuring that the correct amount of benefits are received in a timely manner. She also conducts outreach and pre-screenings at community-based locations, informing people of their potential eligibility for SNAP benefits.

Miguelina received her B.S. in Accounting from Hunter College. Prior to working at NYCCAH, she worked for the NYC Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene as a program assistant in an effort to increase healthier food access in corner stores. This included encouraging residents to demand healthier food in low income neighborhoods throughout the South Bronx and in East and Central Harlem.

Favorite Food: Pickles! "I selected Pickles because it’s a food I’ve enjoyed eating since I was a really young. As a child I was a very picky eater, however anytime  my mom mentioned pickles I was the first in line. Eating pickles reminds me of how much I’ve grown to liking different food."

Victoria Dumbuya, Director of the National AmeriCorps Anti-Hunger and Opportunity Corps VISTA Program
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Victoria Dumbuya manages Hunger Free America’s AmeriCorps*State program. In this capacity, she is responsible for managing the program, which places 26 full- and part-time members at soup kitchens, food pantries, and anti-poverty organizations throughout New York City. She joined the Coalition in Fall 2006.

A graduate of Rutgers University, Victoria previously served as an AmeriCorps national service Team and Service Leader at Hands on Atlanta, a non-profit that coordinates tens of thousands of volunteers with service opportunities in over 400 organizations and schools throughout Atlanta, Georgia.

Vicky's favorite food: Baked Ziti!

Denise Fernandez, NOEP Program Coordinator
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Denise is a member of Hunger Free America's Nutrition Outreach and Education Program (NOEP) staff. NOEP offers free and confidential services to connect hungry New Yorkers with nutrition assistance programs, especially food stamps. In an effort to reach eligible NYC residents, Denise travels through out the city to educate the diverse communities about ways to apply for and receive food stamps.

Denise graduated from Skidmore College with a major in Government and a minor in International Affairs. She worked in the private sector for 3 years before joining Hunger Free America's Benefits Access team.

Denise's favorite food: Chocolate!  "Because it's so easy to share with others…or not :)"

Kristian Harrington-Colón, Manager for Institutional Giving and Evaluation
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Kristian joined the then-New York City Coalition Against Hunger as a VISTA in 2010 and served his term of service supporting fundraising efforts. While continuing to support fundraising he took on the primary responsibility of updating and producing NYCCAH's Neighborhood Guides to Food and Assistance, expanding them to cover the entire city. Now his responsibilities are focused on managing HFA's grants and contracts as well as helping to track information of all kinds as HFA's Manager for Institutional Giving and Evaluation. Kristian is bilingual English-Spanish and occasionally assists with translations of materials. He grew up in Bangkok and Mexico City and earned a double degree in international relations and Spanish-language literature from Brown University.

Kristian's favorite food: arroz con gandules (rice and pigeon peas) "I've adjusted the recipe a little to be vegetarian but mostly-traditional arroz con gandules (rice and pigeon peas) is still definitely comfort food - and pretty good for you too."

Minji Kim, Program Manager, USDA National Hunger Clearinghouse
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Minji is a Program Coordinator for the USDA National Hunger Clearinghouse, where she works directly with those who are in need of food across the country each day by providing information on government and community based food resources. Minji graduated New York University with honors with a B.S. in Global Public Health/Media, Culture and Communications and has worked with anti-hunger NGOs abroad, like Spain's Manos Unidas (United Hands). A former volunteer at NYCCAH (New York City Coalition Against Hunger), Minji has been fighting hunger in NYC since she moved to the city in 2014. A strong believer in the power of proper nutrition, Minji is dedicated to helping all people get sufficient, high quality foods to help them perform their best in anything they do.

Favorite food: Dates and almonds! A perfect blend of sweet and nutty, chewy and crunchy, and packed with potassium--a healthy way to indulge my insatiable sweet tooth.

Fabio Martinez, Benefits Access Associate
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Fabio meets with clients at our community-based host agencies to submit electronic food stamps applications and recertifications on their behalf, utilizing the Paperless Office System (POS). He is also the lead trainer for new staff utilizing this process. Fabio has been with Hunger Free New York City in this capacity for four years. Prior to joining HFNYC, Fabio worked with a non-profit agency in the Bronx, where he managed a food pantry and soup kitchen and performed other administrative functions.

Fabio's favorite food? Pizza!

Libby McClayton, Associate Director of the Anti-Hunger and Opportunity Corps
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Libby McClayton is one of the Associate Director of the Anti-Hunger and Opportunity Corps Program and is responsible for recruitment of VISTA members and VISTA leaders. Prior to working at HFA, she worked at the Community Action Council of Howard County as a Health Assistant for the Head Start program, coordinating nutrition education family nights, health screenings, and flu shot clinics for approximately 300 three to five year olds. Libby’s passion for anti-hunger work stemmed from her service as a Healthy Children, Healthy Families AmeriCorps member with Children’s Hunger Alliance in Dayton, Ohio where she taught nutrition education and physical education to children age five to fourteen. She also served at Baltimore Community Resource Center, an outpatient drug treatment center, as an AmeriCorps VISTA* member for the Office of the Mayor in Baltimore City, Recovery Corps initiative, creating resources, fundraising and planning events to help integrate those in recovery into the community.

Libby grew up in Columbia, Maryland and holds a B.A. in Behavioral Science from Drew University in Madison, NJ.

Libby’s favorite food is falafel (aka the “original veggie burger”).

Jannelle McCoy, Associate Director of the Anti-Hunger and Opportunity Corps
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Jannelle McCoy is one of the Associate Directors of the Anti-Hunger and Opportunity Corps program and is responsible for VISTA placement site partnerships. She began her time with Hunger Free America by serving as a VISTA Member with NYCCAH's New York City-based program, followed by a year as a VISTA Leader working with a team of VISTA members with the New York City program. She took a hiatus from working with HFA when she was offered a position with the New York City Parks Department as a Conservation Corps Fellow. She served with NYC Parks for a few years as a volunteer coordinator with their Stewardship/MillionTreesNYC program. She worked to recruit and manage thousands of volunteers to plant and steward trees all around NYC. 

Jannelle grew up in Queens, NY and graduated from CUNY-Hunter College and recieved a BA in English with a concentration in Literature and Criticism.  She has a passion for volunteer management and is happy to play a part in the fight against hunger once again.

Jannelle's favorite food? Fresh fruit salad!

Joyce Parr, Accounting Associate
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Joyce currently serves Hunger Free America as an Accountanting Associate. In her role she supports finance team by orgnanizing staff benefits, coordinating time sheets, as well as general administrative and bookkeeping tasks.

Joyce has more than 30 plus years in the nonprofit sector. Prior to working for Hunger Free America, Joyce worked at the Studio Museum in Harlem as the controller. Since retiring from there in 2004, she has continued to work as a part time accountant/consultant for various nonprofits. She is a graduate of Bernard Baruch College with a dual degree in accounting and business management.

Although, Joyce does not have a “food advocacy/public service” background she brings a commitment to serve “the least of these”. She has always been active in her community, church, and church pantry. Influenced by her “call” to serve she returned to school. She subsequently, earned a Certificate in Christian Ministry, a Master in Divinity, and a Master in Pastoral Care and Counseling from New York Theological Seminary. She is a licensed minister and chaplain.

Two of the many other “hats” that Joyce wears, is that of a dancer and professional storyteller.

Joyce's favorite food? Classic pepperoni pizza!

Chris Raabe, Associate Director of the Anti-Hunger and Opportunity Corps
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Chris Raabe is one of the Associate Directors of the Anti-Hunger and Opportunity Corps (AHOC) Program. He primarily focuses on coordinating and executing all programming for the program’s regional and national conferences as well as special topic webinars throughout the year.  Chris came to Hunger Free America through the AHOC program as a VISTA member in 2016 where he focused on building the capacity of our national strategic volunteerism efforts.

Prior to his Americorps VISTA term, Chris attended UMass Amherst where he pursued a B.S. in Sustainable Food and Farming. Determined to understand all of the factors that contribute to issues like food access, poor nutrition, and underemployment; Chris pursued many food-related jobs. Some of these included co-managing the UMass Student Farm, coordinating a campaign for increased food access on UMass’ campus, serving in a local restaurant, and facilitating a 2-credit workshop series for UMass students about the social, political, economic, and environmental impacts of our food supply chain. Culminating his college experience Chris delved into “The Intersectionality of Hunger and Poverty in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts” for his undergraduate honors thesis which lead him to Hunger Free America.

Chris’s favorite food is a carrot he just picked out of the ground because they are very sweet and crunchy and you never know what funny shape they will be…(google it!)

Maria Remache, Benefits Access Associate
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Maria was born and raised in Ecuador. Since coming to the US, she attended Borough of Manhattan Community College and has worked for 11 years for different nonprofit organizations, including Sunnyside Community Services and Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty. Most of her experience has involved helping eligible NYC residents access the SNAP (food stamps) program. Maria joined Hunger Free America in December 2013 and provides SNAP pre-screening and application assistance from several host locations in Queens.

Maria's Favorite Food: Grapefruit!

Eugenia Salgado, Benefits Access Associate
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Eugenia, born and raised in Mexico City, joined Hunger Free NYC in April 2017 as a Benefits Specialist. She assists individuals and families with submitting SNAP applications and recertifications, primarily from several community-based host locations in Queens. Previously, she worked with a non-profit that assisted low-income families with filing their tax returns, and she also held a clerical position at Baruch College. Eugenia enjoys the opportunity to help low-income working families access SNAP benefits since this helps them afford more nutritious foods for a healthier diet.

Cherries are her favorite food because they have such a sweet flavor and are full of antioxidants and fiber.

David Stillman, Manager of Child Nutrition Policy and Programs
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David Stillman serves as the Manager of Child Nutrition Policy and Programs for Hunger Free America.  He supervises our three Child Nutrition Engagement VISTAs in Los Angeles, Illinois, and Tallahassee as well as the ten Summer Associates working here in New York City. 

Before coming to Hunger Free America, David served as a Capacity Building VISTA for Northern Illinois Food Bank where he consulted for food pantries on various projects.  He helped food pantries with fundraising, board development, disaster preparation, and technology implementation.  For college, David studied Environmental Science at Northwestern University where he became enamored with fixing the current food system and providing healthier options for low-income areas. 

When David is not working he enjoys trying as many restaurants as he can, with no food being off-limits.  After living in the Midwest for five years, he loves experiencing the amazing food scene here in Manhattan.  He loves the inexpensive dumplings found throughout China town, and Kossar's Bagels and Bialy's is his number one bagel spot. 

His favorite food is a poppy seed bagel with egg salad.  His grandmother used to make them for him when he was younger, and he loves their silky texture.  If you can, try and get one on a freshly baked bagel that is still warm when you take the first bite.  

Will Thomas, Director of Research, Policy, and Advocacy
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Will Thomas is the Director of Research, Policy, and Advocacy at Hunger Free America. In this role, he is responsible for developing evidence, identifying policy solutions, and making sure the voices of low income Americans are heard on Capitol Hill.

Prior to Hunger Free America, Will has worked for AARP Foundation, the National Council on Aging, Meals on Wheels America, and Share Our Strength. He has successfully advocated for greater access to nutritious food at the state and federal levels, including successfully fighting back against sequestration cuts to meals on wheels. An Alabama native, he has a Masters of Science in Agricultural Economics from Auburn University and an BS in Economics and Finance from The University of Alabama.

Favorite food: Equally unhealthy and delicious, I can never turn down a good chicken finger or three.

Jim Wengler, Director of Benefits Access

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Jim has been with Hunger Free America since 2003, and currently serves as Director of Benefits Access.  He manages projects that help connect low-income New Yorkers with the public nutrition benefits available to them, with a particular emphasis on SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). Jim is a graduate of Rutgers University and has 20 years of experience in the social services field, previously working with agencies serving those affected by HIV/AIDS. He also spent a year in Nicaragua as a volunteer for an organization that served impoverished and orphaned children.

Jim's Favorite Food: Bananas and Peanut Butter! Because it's fast, healthy, and a great source of protein.

Ying Zhang, Benefits Access Associate

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Ying works on the United Way of NYC Food Support Connections Program as a member of our Benefits Access team. In this role, she prescreens clients for SNAP eligibility at several Brooklyn and Queens community-based host sites, and provides application assistance. A fluent speaker of both Mandarin and Cantonese, she is a valued asset in the Chinese communities of those boroughs. 

Prior to coming to Hunger Free America, Ying worked as a Medicaid Recertification Coordinator at Met Council, conducting home visits in all 5 boroughs to home-bound or chronically fragile elderly residents. She received her BA in Fine Arts from the School of Visual Art.

Ying's favorite foods are her homemade Madelines and fresh strawberries.  "I love fruit and sweets, because when I am having a bad day, they always remind me that there are so many little happy things in life that we can enjoy and smile about."


AmeriCorps VISTA Leaders:

We just hired new VISTA leaders! Their bio's and photos will be added soon.