Board of Directors

The members of Just Harvest’s Board of Directors serve three-year terms. Elections are held annually in May. To vote in the next election become a Just Harvest member.

Paulette Battisti, President

Paulette has been a member of the United Steelworkers for the past 21 years and is proud to have been the first and only female relief operator at the Ambridge Water Authority. She currently works at the International Headquarters of the USW in Pittsburgh where she is the coordinator for District 10 Women of Steel for the state of Pennsylvania, and a member of the Civil and Human Rights Committee and the USW Jefferson Award Selection Committee. Paulette also served in a number of official roles, including president, over ten years with the Ladies of Charity in Ambridge. She also serves on the Board of Directors at the Center For Hope and is an associate member of the Sisters of Divine Providence.

Barbara Coffee, Vice President

Barbara is the community program liaison for the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh. In this capacity, she forms collaborations with agencies to bring programming to families who live in low-income public housing. She has conducted numerous poverty simulations and coordinated several resident trips to Washington, D.C. for the National Day of Housing. Barbara is a member of A+ Schools Community Transition Taskforce, Big Brother Big Sisters Youth Outcomes Advisory Board, HDEC Expect to Succeed Planning Committee, Graduate Pittsburgh Summit Committee, and the Ready Freddy Kindergarten Transition Team.

Steve Irlbacher, Esq., Secretary

Steve is a staff attorney in FedEx Ground’s Legal Department. He is a longtime resident of Allegheny County and committed to Just Harvest’s core values and mission to eliminate hunger in our community. Steve has also been active in the Western Pennsylvania Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel and Allegheny County Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division.

Alex Carlisle, Treasurer

Alex has been a member of Just Harvest’s Board of Directors since 2002. Alex works as a Medicare Grievance and Appeals Coordinator for Aetna, and also has 30 years of experience as a professional tax preparer. He serves on the Boards of the Kappa Scholarship Endowment Fund of Western PA and the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., East Central Province.


Darla J. Cravotta

A Pittsburgh resident of Friendship, Darla is a manager of special projects for Allegheny County. Over her many years in community and government work, she says her focus has been on people and “developing programs and policies that best suit the needs of folks in our communities. I believe I can bring an understanding of local governments and important connections to this position.” Darla has a master’s degree in social work and taught for many years at the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work

Andrew Cropcho

Andrew is an attorney, working full time as a tax accountant/consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP, who has volunteered for the past four years with Just Harvest/United Way in its VITA low-income tax preparation program. “Through this experience I’ve been able to become familiar with members of the public that Just Harvest strives to assist since we work directly with them and are able to have discussions about their lives while going through the tax preparation process. In addition, I’ve also been able to learn about Just Harvest’s other initiatives to not only ensure everyone has access to food, but has access to healthy options as well.”

Sr. Barbara Finch

Sister Barb has been a Sister of St. Joseph for over 30 years. She remains committed to changing institutional structures that cause oppression, hunger, poverty, or the diminishment of human dignity. Sister Barb is well known throughout the justice and peace community as well as the interfaith community. Her greatest gifts are consensus building and networking. She presently is working at the Allegheny County Jail as a nurse.

Jeannette Hickman

Just Harvest is an organization that Jeannette has admired over the years. Her favorite quote, which is on every email she sends out, is: “The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life.” (Jane Addams.) It’s a sentiment that Jeannette wholeheartedly agrees with. In her work life, she has sought to work with politicians or advocacy groups that have a progressive and thoughtful policy on hunger and poverty issues. Jeannette works in the Allegheny County Department of Real Estate. Her community involvements include the Civic Leadership Academy-City of Pittsburgh, PUMP-Pittsburgh Urban Magnet Project, National Leaders Council-Pgh Chapter, and being a member of the Allegheny County Green Team, which supports sustainability efforts within the County workplace.

Mary Elizabeth McCarthy

Mary Elizabeth serves in many capacities with Just Harvest. For the city budget campaign, she advocates for funds for food pantries at City Council meetings. She is on several Just Harvest committees. She received a Golden Eagle award for her volunteerism as an interviewer for Dollar Energy and a Jefferson Community Champions Award for her volunteer work at Just Harvest. She is on the Council of Congregations of the East End Cooperative Ministries and the St. Charles Lwanga Pastoral Council. Her cerebral palsy has given her direct experience with struggle. A former teacher, Mary Elizabeth teaches religious education for inner city grade school children.

Gabriel Medley

Gabriel is Vice President for Quality and Risk Revenue at Gateway Health. A former mentor of children in elementary and middle school, he is seeking to make a positive impact on the underserved community, particularly those in need of help to get back on their feet. His diverse background includes being a troubled teenager, service in the Military, and success in the private sector managing healthcare and community outreach programs. “I feel that my experience working with sensitive and difficult problems will translate into effective volunteer service that will enable lasting impacts to the challenges facing our communities.”

Theresa Orlando

Theresa Orlando is retired from a 15-year career in social work as director of Miryam’s Program for Homeless Women; prior to that she served 23 years as a director of Christian Formation for the Catholic Diocese. She has a degree from LaRoche College and a graduate degree from Duquesne University. She served as a preceptor for University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work Interns and as an adjunct professor for the School of Pharmacy. Theresa is a founding member of the North Hills Anti-Racism Coalition, and also for Call to Action PA. She volunteers for the Oasis Intergenerational tutoring program and for AJAPO, a resettlement program for African and Caribbean immigrants to Pittsburgh. Theresa has been an active member of a multicultural church for more than 20 years, a member of Thomas Merton Center, and active in social justice and peace movements. She also belongs to the Pittsburgh Ceili Club for Irish Culture and dance.

Samantha Pritchard

Samantha is a payroll and benefits assistant at ACTION-Housing in downtown Pittsburgh. She is a new resident of Allegheny County and her experience ranges from Human Resources to small business management. Just Harvest is an organization that she has been wanting to work with since she began her move to the Pittsburgh area and she is committed to helping with the changing of public policies and availability of resources.

Deborah Skillings

Since 2009, Deborah has been employed by the Port Authority of Allegheny County, where she is now the community outreach coordinator. She held various positions in her 13 years at Mon Valley Opportunities Industrialization Center (OIC), a non-profit employment and training center for low-income and displaced homemakers. She also worked for nearly 15 years in the health care industry doing marketing, community relations, and community development. For many years, Deborah has been an active member of Covenant Church East in Greensburg, and is also on the Trustee and Usher Board of Mount Ararat Baptist Church in Pittsburgh.

Jen Thoma

Jen has more than 20 years of experience raising revenue and building relationships for non-profit organizations in our region. She currently serves as the Major Gift Officer for Chatham University. Jen has also had the privilege to serve the citizens of Pittsburgh as a staff member for City Councilmen Douglas Shields and Patrick Dowd, where she was able to serve on the Food Policy Council representing Councilman Dowd. Because of her personal interest in food access and security, through the Farmer’s Market Alliance Jen helped to establish diverse farmers markets in three communities—Farmers @ Firehouse in the Strip District, the Lawrenceville Farmers Market and the Market Square Market in downtown Pittsburgh. Prior to joining the Board she helped Just Harvest in the planning of its 26th Annual Harvest Celebration Dinner. Jen went to the University of Pittsburgh, majoring in public service and non-profit management.