Since 1967, Community Action Services and Food Bank has assisted residents of Utah, Summit and Wasatch counties. It’s helped countless people put food on the table and learn the skills and gain resources and connections to pull themselves out of poverty. It also provides emergency assistance, a commercial kitchen for food startups, community gardens, homebuyer education, financial literacy classes, backpacks of food for children, and more.

But now, with a global pandemic infecting people and hurting the economy, the agency’s mission is more critical than ever. So the agency has restructured, with new staff members and positions to serve residents better. Here are the changes:

 

Departing Staff

It’s always sad to see staff leave, even if it’s for a happy reason like retirement.

  • Dave Smith directed the agency’s food bank and pantry operations for more than eight years.
  • Charmagne Wixom served as the housing counseling program manager, helping people prepare to buy a home.
  • LeeAnne Stanley was the operations and finance manager for more than a decade.
  • Richard Manning served as the food bank manager.
  • Kathy Givens, our Circles coordinator, is leaving us for a whole new adventure. 

New and Ongoing Team Members

The agency made the best of losing the longtime staff members by restructuring. With the restructuring comes several new employees as well as new positions:

  • Tom Hogan serves as the new associate director of Community Action Services and Food Bank. He oversees the food bank operations, housing counseling, financial learning, family development, and Circles initiative.
  • David Robinson is the new finance and operations director.
  • Catherine Goold is now the housing counseling manager.
  • Fatima Vera is the new team member in the Financial Learning Center.
  • Brent Moulton is the new warehouse manager, which is a new position.
  • Hillary Whittaker serves as the new volunteer coordinator.
  • Adam Cash now works as landlord outreach specialist and case manager.
  • Meili Tark now works as a Circles social media specialist.
  • Shannon Thackerey serves as the Circles program assistant and works at the front desk.
  • Family development has several new team members: Kylr Muisch and Kadee Blake. 

The agency is also planning to hire a new Circles coordinator and three part-time case managers.

Community Action Services and Food Bank exists to help people in need. Now with a new streamlined structure and staffing, it will accomplish that mission better than ever. For more information about what the agency does in the community, to volunteer or get help, go here or call (801) 373-8200.

 

Get to Know your CASFB Leadership Team

The talented team at Community Action Services and Food Bank is dedicated to serving residents of Wasatch, Summit, and Utah counties. Meet some of our leadership team:

 

Karen McCandless

Karen McCandless

In her role as executive director, Karen believes in building relationships, both in and out of the agency. Strong relationships with team members and community partners make it possible to serve people in the best possible way.

Karen has served as executive director for the past three years and has worked at the agency for more than seven years. Her favorite part of the job is working with team and board members because of their dedication and compassion. She also loves helping to build a more thriving community through the agency’s mission of fostering self-reliance. Through her job, she’s learned it’s smart never to judge people.

In her spare time—and as a COVID-coping strategy, Karen is building LEGO architecture sets. She’s also reading books like “American Courage: Remarkable True Stories Exhibiting the Bravery That Has Made Our Country Great” by Herbert Warden, and watching “Parks and Rec” when she needs to laugh. Before COVID, she loved spending time with friends and family, including her two children and perfect grandchild.

 

Tom Hogan

Tom Hogan

Tom sees his role as associate director of the agency like a train yard switchman. He ensures the trains all run on time, that the tracks are safe, and that the goods and services delivered are presented at their best to end-users.

His life mission is supporting the larger human family, so working at the agency is a perfect fit. His work allows him to make a living while making a difference. He sees his most significant contribution to the agency as bringing a greater bandwidth to the administrative team—helping build the organization’s capacity to deliver direct client services. 

Tom just finished listening to John Grisham’s “Sycamore Row.” He’s now eagerly awaiting the next installment in Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive series. He’s also watching “Critical Role” on YouTube, and playing “Civilization VI.” When he’s not restricted by a global pandemic, Tom helps his partner Kyle prepare for amateur disc golf tournaments. And when he needs a good laugh, he watches “Friends,” “Everybody Loves Raymond,” and “How I Met Your Mother.”

Tom and his late wife share six children, ranging in age from 28 to 14. He and Kyle bought a house in Springville last year.

 

David Robinson

David Robinson

As the finance and operations director, David is responsible for managing a set of clean financials while also being the primary contact for human resource matters. It’s his job to ensure the agency collects the maximum amount possible from its funding sources.

David is new to the position, but he already loves the people with whom he works. His favorite part of the job is assisting with big-picture challenges while also working on an individual level. The most important lesson he’s learned at the agency is that not all social programs are created equal.

To cope with COVID restrictions, David said he is currently “playing too many video games” instead of swimming, which he did before the pandemic. He also enjoys laughing through episodes of “Parks and Rec,” and reading classics like “The Screwtape Letters” and comedy fun like “Calvin and Hobbes.”

 

Jennifer Durrant

Jennifer Durrant

As communications director, Jennifer is responsible for ensuring everyone—clients, donors, volunteers, and the general public—knows how Community Action Services and Food Bank can help end poverty. She uses the relationships and connections she developed through 25 years in the media and public relations industry to help her communicate the agency’s mission. 

The best part of her job is hearing the inspirational stories of people the agency has helped and the lives the agency helped change. Her work has taught her that poverty comes in many forms, and understanding those forms can help us get that much closer to ending the poverty cycle.

In her spare time lately, Jennifer has been spending time in the kitchen trying out new recipes. She also loves to read. She’s currently reading “Braver Than You Think” by Maggie Downs. She enjoys traveling and cruising around the mountains in a RZR with her husband of almost 10 years. Before COVID hit, they also enjoyed going to concerts and movies. When she needs a good laugh, she turns on “Schitt’s Creek” and “Modern Family.” 

Jennifer is step-mom to four grown kids.