PORCH Leadership 2021
Susan is one of the three founders and directors of PORCH. From her decades working with non-profit organizations, Susan gained experience in public relations, organizing and coalition-building, volunteer recruitment and training, and administrative and managerial duties that serves her well in her role as a director of PORCH. She considers the founding of PORCH – with her friends Christine and Debbie – to be her most rewarding professional achievement.
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.
Laura, the mother of three growing 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 six 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 is active in the PTAs at hers sons’ schools and sits on the parent committee of their Boy Scout troop.
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.
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.
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.
Toska Cooper 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.
Brenda McNeely-Allen 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 Posada 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.