PORCH Leadership 2022
Laura, the mother of three grown boys, has seen firsthand the speed with which children can empty a well-stocked fridge. She can only imagine the stress parents face when their monthly budgets are stretched too thin to adequately feed their growing children. Helping to relieve at least a little bit of this stress is a very important cause, one that Laura is proud to support over the past ten years through PORCH. Her primary duties include using her marketing degree from Virginia Tech to promote our hunger relief effort within the community, assisting with the distribution of non-perishable foods to local pantries, and supporting the Food for Families program by packing and delivering fresh produce to local families. Outside of her work with PORCH, Laura has been active in the PTAs at her sons’ schools and as a parent committee member of their Boy Scout troop.
Lenore has been a member of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro community since 1998, raising three boys in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro school system. An attorney with a solo practice in agricultural biotech transactions and licensing, Lenore has an MA in international relations. She joined the Transportation Advisory Board to the Carrboro Town Council in 2021. Lenore also joined the Board of Directors of PORCH in the fall of 2021, serving as a member of the Governance Committee. Lenore believes that PORCH has a critical role in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro food relief community. She seeks to ensure that PORCH has a strong and agile corporate structure to support its growing mission through whatever changes or challenges may come.
Toska is a learner and change agent. Living her life on the foundations of service and leadership, she joins the PORCH Chapel Hill-Carrboro Board of Directors with a dedication to hunger relief through lived and shared experiences. Toska has given her time to provide meals at homeless shelters and college food pantries, and currently distributes food within her church’s life harvest food pantry. In her present role, Toska is a Project Manager at UNC Chapel Hill. To PORCH, she brings this professional experience in addition to skills in data analysis and relationship development. She is a proud AmeriCorps VISTA alumna and Certified Health Education Specialist. Toska believes that a major determinant of health is the lack of food people receive. If we all commit to compassionately serving others, not only will we fill kitchens, we will have filled souls.
Jim has extensive experience in finance as well as working with non-profit boards. Most recently, Jim served on the Board of the YMCA of the Triangle Area, and served on a task force that helped the Chapel Hill YMCA merge with the YMCA’s in Raleigh and Durham.
Susan is one of the three founders and directors of PORCH. She is also a founder and director of the nonprofit Orange County Living Wage, a volunteer-driven organization that certifies and promotes Orange County businesses that pay a living wage and assists workers seeking living wage jobs. In 2019, Susan was elected to Carrboro Town Council, and in 2021, she was elected as Council’s Mayor Pro Tem. Susan is thankful to live in a community where local government strives to meet everyone’s basic needs, nonprofits help to fill in the gaps, neighbors take care of neighbors, and there is dignity in work.
Debbie is one of the three founders and directors of PORCH. She manages PORCH Chapel Hill-Carrboro’s fresh Food for Families program, growing participation by nearly 20-fold since 2010. Debbie’s favorite parts of her job include working directly with recipient families and school social workers, recruiting and managing wonderful volunteers, overseeing finances, and collaborating with the many other organizations that partner with PORCH.
Julie had a career in various entrepreneurial businesses in the medical device industry for over 25 years. As part of her role, she raised significant funds through state and federal grants for product and business development, and she brings that experience to grant writing for PORCH.
Becky enjoyed a career in Human Resources, working in various capacities gaining training and managerial experience. Among her employers were Despatch Industries and Continental Bank. When she and her family moved to Carrboro in 2001, Becky became actively involved in our public school system and a variety of other community initiatives. Becky brings to PORCH her passion for supporting young people and public school teachers and staff, serving as Food for Schools Program Coordinator.
Brenda is the second generation in her family to pursue a career in human services. Her interest in serving began by watching her grandmother who reached out to fill the needs of others by donating clothes, food or whatever she had to give. Brenda was educated and has served in the Social Work field for over 30 years, including in public and private agencies. Her experience includes Public Assistance and Case Managers for Foster Care and Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Brenda is currently working as a School Social Worker in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools. Her passion is working with children and families, and especially promoting education and how it can change the lives and circumstances of people in the most dire circumstances. She believes that the highest call is to serve and help others and that we can all do our part to reach out.
Eliazar is the Acting President and Executive Director of the Community Engagement and Advocacy Department of El Centro Hispano. He manages a wide variety of community initiatives including LGBTQ support groups, Youth Services, Immigration Services, Advocacy Efforts, Community IDs, Voter Registration and Census Efforts. He also sits on the Board of Directors of several organizations like The Chamber For a Greater Chapel Hill and Carrboro, Crape Myrtle Festival, and others. He previously served on the board of organizations like Made in Durham, North Carolina Community AIDS Action Fund, and other local organizations that work for the LGBTQ, Latinx and Immigrant communities. He currently also serves on City/Town Boards and commissions in Raleigh, Carrboro, Chapel Hill, Durham and Durham, Wake and Orange Counties.
Mary Ann, PhD, is the Executive Director and President of the Public School Forum of NC. Her work at the Forum focuses on ensuring that every child in NC has access to a high quality and equitable education. Mary Ann previously served as Chair, Vice Chair, and a member of the Chapel Hill Carrboro City School Board of Education. Mary Ann served on the Board of the CHCCS Public School Foundation and as the Board liaison to Food for Summer during her time on the School Board. Her experience in education and in our community, along with her commitment to supporting the whole child, provides an important context for PORCH’s mission. Mary Ann and her family have been a part of our public schools and community for twelve years and greatly appreciate the critical role that PORCH plays in supporting our families and children.
Erica (she/her) joined the team as PORCH Chapel Hill-Carrboro’s Program Manager in March 2022 and oversees all aspects of the Food for Families, the Food for Pantries, and the Food for Schools programs. Erica has a background in global health, program development, and volunteer management. She is particularly excited to be involved with such meaningful and hands-on work at the grassroots level. As someone who experienced housing and food instability in her childhood home, Erica understands the importance of making food accessible. She hopes to make sincere connections with program participants, volunteers, and the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Community at large. She enjoys walking in the forest, gardening, and spending time with friends and family. Learn more about Erica.
Read about just a few of our 200 wonderful volunteers on our blog.