The staff is pictured above, from our summer 2018 staff retreat. First row, left to right: Ruthi Solari, Anna Ng, Adrienne Markworth. Second row, left to right: Wendy Willard, Bethany Hendrickson, Danielle Boulé, Alex Neidenberg, Monica Bhagwan.
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Adrienne Markworth is Founder and Executive Director of Leah’s Pantry. In 2006, Adrienne saw a need for engaging, cooking-based nutrition education for homeless parents and other underserved populations in San Francisco. She worked with housing providers and other community partners to develop Food Smarts, a multi-lingual, culturally-competent curriculum for use with a wide variety of ages and populations. Adrienne expanded Leah’s Pantry throughout California through collaborative partnerships with regional food banks, government public health and human services agencies, and over 250 community-based organizations (CBO), schools, and housing providers. She also created the Food Smarts Training Program for CBO staff, volunteers, and neighborhood residents. In 2012, Leah’s Pantry partnered with the San Francisco Human Services Agency to develop EatFresh.org, an online nutrition class and recipe website that has become a statewide initiative, reaching 100,000 people per year. Originally from Virginia, Adrienne has degrees from the University of Virginia and the University of San Francisco and was formerly a high school educator and small business owner. She is a graduate of the 2015 Executive Director’s Leadership Institute through Executive Service Corps Southern California. She serves on the Board of Directors for the San Diego Children’s Choir and on the Executive Committee of the San Diego Food System Alliance.
Ruthi Solari believes that healthy food should be a basic human right and that wellness is not a luxury. As Director of Strategic Partnerships for Leah’s Pantry, Ruthi cultivates connection and collaboration with diverse stakeholders working towards a collective vision of resilient, self-sufficient, healthy communities. Prior to joining Leah’s Pantry, Ruthi was Executive Director of SuperFood Drive, a national healthy hunger relief nonprofit she founded in 2009. In 2017, SuperFood Drive merged with Leah’s Pantry. Work experience includes public health nutrition, corporate wellness, entrepreneurship and wilderness guiding. Ruthi is a Certified Nutritionist with a BA in International Studies, MS in Mind Body Medicine and home study of herbal medicine, meditation, and gardening. A founding member of the World Public Health Nutrition Association (WPHNA), Ruthi presents internationally about grassroots approaches to nutrition security and food justice.
Monica Bhagwan has been Leah’s Pantry’s Program Manager since 2013. She initiated and drives Leah’s Pantry’s trauma-informed approach to food and nutrition programs. Monica provides program support, training, and technical assistance to long-term partner agencies. She also directs the Feeding Potrero Catering Team, guides our youth programs, and works on curriculum development. Monica has over 20 years of experience as a professional cook and community food and nutrition educator. She has a B.A. from Vassar College and a Masters Degree in Food Studies from New York University with special focus on food justice and sustainability. At NYU, she was a student of Dr. Marion Nestle and served as an adjunct undergraduate instructor. Prior to joining Leah’s Pantry, Monica conducted garden-based cooking programming for disadvantaged youth at the Edible Schoolyard in Hunterspoint at the Willie Mays Boys and Girls Club.
Danielle Boulé joined Leah’s Pantry in June 2015 and now serves as the organization’s Training and Development Manager. Danielle leads our train-the-trainer programming, building the capacity of partner organizations so that they are better equipped to address the nutrition educational needs of their low-income clients. She also manages our volunteer and donor programs. Through social media, annual fundraising campaigns, and in-person events, she gets people excited about our mission! Danielle enjoys working directly with clients as one of our nutrition educators, teaching workshops in both English and Spanish. She earned a Masters in Community Development from UC Davis and a B.S. in Mass Communications from UCLA.
Alex Neidenberg is the Senior Program Coordinator for our Food Smarts Workshops and joined our team in October 2014. She hires and trains our facilitators, maintains relationships with our partners and coordinates our interactive workshops throughout the state. Alex brings her knowledge of local SRO’s and community agencies from her time running a weekly food pantry in San Francisco. She is grateful that she continues to work with similar clients as a nutrition educator through workshops in the Bay Area. Alex attended Lake Forest College in Illinois and grew up in San Diego, California.
Bethany Hendrickson joined Leah’s Pantry in November 2017 when SuperFood Drive merged with Leah’s Pantry. As the Program Manager for the Nutrition Pantry Program, she is passionate about taking a holistic, dignified, client-centered approach to healthy hunger relief in all types of food settings. Previously, Bethany has worked on evaluating state and national programs designed to promote nutrition and physical activity in schools, in research on neighborhood food access and its relationship to chronic disease, and as an educator teaching classes in nutrition to a wide variety of audiences. She earned her B.S. in Nutrition Science from University of Wisconsin-Madison and MPH from UC Berkeley. Bethany loves hiking, cooking, traveling and exploring the small towns of California and cultivating a love of fruits & vegetables in her young son.
Wendy Willard joined in April 2018 as the Product and Marketing Manager. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Art Center College of Design and is completing a Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership from Point Loma Nazarene University. Wendy’s background includes creative design, strategy, and development for digital and print products in the for-profit, government, non-profit, and educational spaces across the country. She brings a particular passion for serving at-risk youth and those affected by trauma to her work at Leah’s Pantry. Wendy enjoys books, music, travel, and time with her husband and two daughters.
Anna Ng is the Registered Dietitian at Leah’s Pantry and joined Leah’s Pantry in December 2017. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Clinical Nutrition from UC Davis and completed her supervised practice with Sodexo Dietetic Internships (New York Campus) while earning her Master of Science in Dietetics with the University of Rhode Island. She was born and raised in San Francisco and is very excited to work with the unique individuals and diverse groups of her community. Using sound advice and practicing gentle nutrition, she believes in using food as medicine and making mindful choices that not only nourish the body but also taste good! She finds great joy in helping others improve their quality of life and achieve their health goals, and she cannot imagine a better place to pursue her passion than at Leah’s Pantry.