The River Food Pantry announces new executive director

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By Amy Lord
The River Food Pantry

The River Food Pantry founders Andy and Jenny Czerkas, along with the board of directors, would like to announce the hiring of Charles McLimans as the new executive director. “As the need for The River services continues to grow and evolve, Charles will play a key role in providing the leadership and strategic direction to guide The River into the future,” stated Board Chair Jennifer Zisser.

The mission and vision of providing mercy and hope to those struggling to put food on the table remains the same. “There is a very special spirit and culture at The River that I noticed right away,” Charles said. “I would describe it as joyful, loving and abundant. When we give to others, it brings joy to everyone involved. Our lives are transformed through service to others, and our community is transformed through our generosity.”

Andy and Jenny are excited about Charles joining The River as executive director and look forward to continuing their work with The River under his leadership.

Charles is an experienced nonprofit leader whose mission throughout much of his career has been to help those who have less. Most recently he served in the CEO role with Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin in Milwaukee, where he worked at a strategic level to support food pantries around the region. Prior to that, he served as the executive director at Loaves & Fishes Community Services, a hunger relief and anti-poverty organization in Naperville, Illinois, from 2008‒15. During his eight years with Loaves & Fishes, the staff grew from 4 to 20 and the volunteer base grew from 200 to 1,500. Charles led a $6 million comprehensive campaign, which successfully funded a new 17,000-square-foot space that positioned the organization to better accomplish the mission with new, innovative, collaborative services.

“I feel truly humbled and blessed to have been chosen to lead The River,” Charles stated. “For me this is much more than a job, it is a vital ministry that builds and strengthens community by providing hope, dignity and abundance to those who are marginalized by society. I feel called and sent to this mission.”

There is a meet-and-greet scheduled at The River Food Pantry, 2201 Darwin Road, Wednesday, May 31, from 4‒6 pm. Community members are invited to stop by, be introduced and say hello to the newest member of The River Team.