Christine E.M. Keller, PhD, Co-Chair, Organizational Member
Director, Fourth Church Presbyterian Food Pantry
Christine E.M. Keller, PhD serves as the Director of Fourth Presbyterian Church’s Food Pantry in South Boston. There she has led a dedicated group of volunteers to improve the service received by the guests of this medium-sized pantry. The pantry has also received many grants to improve the capacity and nutritional quality of foods offered at the pantry. Spurred on by the beautiful and inspiring lives of the Pantry’s family, friends, and neighbors and Fourth’s commitment to social justice reform through the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization, Christine joined BFAC in fall of 2019 and joined the Steering Committee in late 2020. Christine was raised in the the Chicago suburbs, St. Louis, and central Indiana. In 2016 she earned a doctorate in nutrition science with a graduate certificate in Ingestive Behavior Research and a graduate minor in gerontology. Prior to this, Christine worked as a biochemist in the chemical and pharmaceutical research industries. Outside of her food and nutrition activities, Christine and her husband are foster parents for newborn through toddler aged children. Christine enjoys making and listening to music, sewing and knitting, and spending time outdoors exploring native edible landscaping and permaculture, skiing, kayaking, SCUBA diving, or with her cats “Marmalade” and “Toast” and St. Bernard “Avalanche”.
Cheryl Jean, Co-Chair, Community Member
Director, Lower Roxbury Coalition and Wellness Initiative
Cheryl Jean is currently the Director of the Lower Roxbury Coalition and Wellness Initiative. The Lower Roxbury Coalition and Wellness Initiative is a network of community stakeholders dedicated to improving the quality of life for residents in our community by supporting and strengthening children and families for a stronger and healthier community. Cheryl has 25 years of experience in the nonprofit field and has held various roles in the non-profit, public, and private sectors of Boston. Cheryl’s work with local organizations through her organization is a testament to her using her platform for good. Cheryl is also the Vice President of F.A.M.I.L.Y. Movement’s board, F.A.M.I.L.Y. Movement is an organization dedicated to fight homelessness by stabilizing and empowering families in our community. Cheryl is the founder of Single Mothers For Change (SMFC), an organization addressing the challenges of single mothers in the community. The organization has created a space to share resources and workshops with the community. Cheryl most recently became the Co-chair of the Boston Food Access Council ( BFAC). The Boston Food Access Council (BFAC) brings community and stakeholder voices together to create access to affordable, just, culturally connected, healthy, and sustainable food in Boston. Cheryl graduated with her Master’s in Nonprofit Organization from Wheelock College, after receiving her Bachelor’s of Science in Human Services. Cheryl is currently a member of the Dorchester community where she lives with her two sons.
Lauren Palumbo, Organizational Member
Chief Operating Officer, Lovin’ Spoonfuls
Born, raised, and educated in the Boston area, Lauren’s passion for the non-profit sector began at a young age while leading the community service group at her high school. That commitment to service led to a career working in support of nonprofits with innovative and unique missions. Her role at Lovin’ Spoonfuls combined that background with her passion for food, and has led to more than 8 years of growth and leadership on the ‘Spoonfuls team. Lauren has worked to grow the network of partners served by Lovin’ Spoonfuls and expand the reach of the organization throughout Massachusetts. Lauren seeks to bring this food rescue model to every community in Massachusetts, and to continue to lead conversations on the importance of reducing food waste and ensuring access to healthy food for all people. In 2015, Lauren was recognized as an ‘Emerging Leader’ by Bank of America’s Neighborhood Builders program, and in 2016, Lauren was selected as one of the BBJ’s ’40 under 40′, which recognizes Boston’s young business leaders. Lauren also serves as a member of the Boston Food Access Council Steering Committee.
Victoria Strickland, Organizational Member
Director, Communications & Partnerships, About Fresh
Victoria Strickland is the Director of Communications & Partnerships at About Fresh. She believes access to food is a human right, necessary for nurturing our health and celebrating our heritage. At About Fresh, she amplifies the voices and the values of the organization while building and supporting partnerships. She keeps herself busy through movement, cooking, and raising her teenage daughter.
Yasser Aponte, Organizational Member
Greater Boston Community Programs Manager , The Food Project
The community programs manager builds and sustains stakeholder interactions by managing organizational programs, collaborating with local residents and businesses alike, and keeping an external point of contact information database. Yasser holds a bachelor’s degree from Northeastern University, where he double-majored in International Affairs and Religious Studies. He is currently in a master’s program at Northeastern University pursuing an M.S in Urban Security and Resilience. Yasser’s participation in this master’s program is made possible by a scholarship he received for being a part of the Northeastern University Martin Luther King Fellowship. Yasser grew up in the Boston Public School (BPS) academic system and has 5+ years of experience in security, hospitality, retail, concierge, supply chain operations, event coordination, and administrative support prior to my position at The Food Project. Outside of the office, Yasser enjoys being with his family and friends. He joined The Food Project as a volunteer in late 2019, became a seasonal urban farmer in 2020, transitioned into the operations specialist role in 2021, and has now become the community programs manager. Yasser’s community engagement involves being a part of Dorchester Not for Sale, New England United for Justice, Northeastern Off-Campus Housing Community Ambassador Corps, Northeastern Service-Learning Street Team, the Dorchester Historical Society, and the 2020 United Nations Millennium Fellowship.
Ryann Monteiro, Community Member
The three pillars that drive Ryann’s work are community, culture, and connection. Growing up in a Cape Verdean- Wampanoag household, she always loved the teachings, memories and meaning making of cooking and eating with her family. As she got older, she started to see the gap between society’s love for food and the disconnect from the land that grows it and the hands that harvest it. Her interest in reconnecting people to community and culture through food led her to receive her Master’s in Public Health degree in Health Communication and a Graduate Certificate in Food Studies from Boston University. Ryann believes that the foundation for a thriving community is one that values relationships and responsibility to the land and each other. She aims to add value by creating and holding space for historically marginalized communities to be active participants in the food system by voicing and advocating for community specific needs and values.
Elections are held for Steering Committee openings every December. The next election will be held December 6, 2022 at our quarterly public meeting.
Those elected in December 2022 will serve Jan 2023 - Dec 2024.
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Boston Food Access Council is fiscally sponsored by NOPI - Nonprofit Incubator, a program of NOPI INC, a Massachusetts nonprofit corporation and 501(c)(3) organization, EIN 81-5089505. Learn more at https://thenopi.org.
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