June and July have brought changes to the Just Harvest staff team, as we said farewell to some familiar faces and began the transition to new roles for others.
Long-time public policy advocate Rochelle Jackson ended her 15+ years of service with us to begin a new opportunity as director of the “Femisphere” Project at the Women and Girls Foundation (WGF). Rochelle first got active in Just Harvest as part of a grassroots advocacy training cohort in the mid-1990’s. In that project, she was among the group of WIC program clients who successfully campaigned to pressure the WIC program to re-open a satellite office in the city of Duquesne.
Soon after, Rochelle became an active community leader in fight against unjust “welfare reform.” She joined the Just Harvest staff as our welfare advocate in 2001 and was promoted to public policy advocate in 2012. Rochelle’s uniquely forceful voice in holding public officials accountable to low-income people will be sorely missed, but we look forward to partnering with her and WGF on policy issues of mutual concern.
We are pleased to announce that volunteer coordinator Ann Sanders has been promoted to become our new public policy advocate. Ann has filled many roles over nearly ten years at Just Harvest: student intern, tax preparer, food stamp specialist, and even a term on our Board of Directors before becoming volunteer coordinator in 2011. Congratulations, Ann!
In Fresh Corners, our project to bring healthy food access to corner stores in food desert communities, we also said farewell this month to Josh Berman, our project coordinator who helped launch and guide the effort over the past two years. Josh is now working for our friends at Economic Development South, advancing their mission to improve economic opportunity and well-being in the Route 51 corridor, south of Pittsburgh.
Taking over responsibilities for Fresh Corners will be Dawn Marie Smith and Kristen Hochreiter. Both Dawn Marie and Kristen are AmeriCorps VISTA’s stationed with us through the Anti-Hunger Opportunity Corps. They will join our regular staff as their VISTA terms end in the coming weeks.
Nadia Pacheco Amaro, also a VISTA, finished her term in June, and we wish her the best in her new home in North Carolina. Two new VISTA’s will be starting their year of service with us later this summer.