St. Paul Lutheran Church, Wheaton, Ill.
President and CEO, Northern Illinois Food Bank

I pray for courage and strength, for protection for my children and healing for those who are suffering. I always start by thanking God for his goodness. Practicing gratitude is honoring to God—and a powerful healer for us.

My belief in God’s abundance fuels my anti-hunger work because I know without a doubt that in God’s creation there is enough food for everyone. There is certainly enough food in our world, America and Northern Illinois. This year we are providing nearly 80 million pounds of fresh, nutritious groceries thanks to the generosity of grocery stores and food manufacturers. When we share our blessings and follow God’s call, his plan is realized.

To me, church is a place where everyone is welcomed just as you are. It’s a safe community that celebrates one another and honors our Savior.

Something I think is important for people to know about anti-hunger work is that hunger is a solvable issue. As mentioned above, there is enough food and there is a strong, vibrant charitable food network. It just takes all of us getting involved. Donate. Volunteer. I promise your contribution will fill your soul and will make a big difference!

Attending the 2018 ELCA Youth Gathering with two of my sons is an experience I will always treasure: the fellowship, lessons, laughter, inspiration, friendship and joy. It changed my life and their lives for the better.

I struggle with having the time to do all that I want and think I need to do. I have recently learned that self-care is not selfish—a hard concept for anyone, especially for a working mom to four (incredible, adored) children!

To me, grace means choosing love and kindness over any other response or action. After all, that is what Christ exemplified and what God showers on us each and every day.

My favorite Bible story is Ruth and Naomi. I come from a long line of strong, fierce women and have been blessed with amazing women bosses, mentors and friends. When women come alongside one another in times of trial and the everyday marathon of life, our compassion, encouragement and love make all the difference.

Something I’ve learned about connecting with people and serving neighbors is we are much more alike than we are different. When we hear each other’s stories, when we share our hopes and dreams, we see ourselves in one another. We also learn that we are all one challenging circumstance (job loss, health crisis or government shutdown) away from needing help ourselves.

It’s important to me to be involved in my congregation because I want Christ’s church to be vibrant and thriving. We all have a responsibility to serve and special gifts to share.

As a CEO, a bit of advice I’d give to young professionals is how important it is to listen. People need to feel seen and heard. When we take the time and give 100% of our focus to the person sitting right in front of us, not only do we build them up (which is such a privilege) but also, we learn and grow ourselves. Make people a priority!

I’m a Lutheran who is thrilled to be part of a faith tradition that celebrates every person and loves one another fully.

People are surprised to learn that there is hunger in every community. Northern Illinois Food Bank serves the suburbs of Chicago and rural communities in Illinois. In every one of our communities there are people who don’t have enough to eat, including some of the wealthiest cities in America. Three-quarters of our families are working and simply not earning enough to make ends meet. Thankfully, we have a robust network of feeding partners and programs ready to serve.

My favorite part of my job is the people! Working together with the Food Bank team, our volunteers, donors and partner agencies (900 feeding sites!) fills me up. I am inspired most by the stories of our neighbors in need who are courageous, kind and resourceful.

Something I want people to know is that they matter. They have something extraordinary to offer and are cherished.

I share my faith by doing what God asks of us: loving him and loving our neighbors.

Sentence prompts are provided to each person featured. If you’d like to nominate someone for “I’m a Lutheran,” email

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