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Community FoodBank of NJ COO Retires after 33 Years of Fighting Hunger

The following is from Community FoodBank of New Jersey

Hillside, NJ, November 5, 2011 -- Cathy McCann (right), Vice-President of Operations at the Community Food Bank of New Jersey and Ernest Vaughan (left), warehouse manager, smile for the camera during their work with volunteers who sort and pack donated food at the Food Bank. The Community Food Bank of New Jersey is a state member of Feeding America, a national organization that is a member of the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (NVOAD). A non-profit organization that serves 18 of the 21 counties in New Jersey, the Food Bank of New Jersey provides food on a regular basis to non-profit organizations in New Jersey who distribute food to people in need. During times of disaster, the Food Bank of New Jersey coordinates its activities through FEMA's Voluntary Agency Liaison (VAL) to provide assistance to disaster survivors. Photo by Christopher Mardorf / FEMA.
Cathy McCann (right) and Ernest Vaughan, Warehouse Manager (left); Photo from fema.gov

Cathy McCann announced her plans to retire as Chief Operating Officer of the Community FoodBank of New Jersey. McCann will remain at her post through March 31 and will be succeeded by Tonya Walley, Vice President of Logistics. McCann’s decision to retire will bring to a close a remarkable career of nearly 33 years of service for New Jerseyans in need.

Before joining the FoodBank, McCann was a warehouse manager at PepsiCo. Her passion for fighting hunger grew from a conversation with the FoodBank’s founder and former president and CEO Kathleen DiChiara. When McCann started working at the FoodBank in July 1984 – only two years after its incorporation – the warehouse, then located at 75 Stockton St. in Newark, provided food to about 200 community partners and distributed 2.8 million pounds of food. It now provides food to more than 1,000 community partners and distributed over 43 million pounds of food in the last year alone. “We grew to address the growing need,” she said about the Community FoodBank of New Jersey.

McCann has played a major role in the organization’s impact in New Jersey and hunger-relief efforts across the country. In 1985, she helped lead the initiative to digitize the FoodBank’s inventory system, moving away from hand-written food orders to increase efficiency. She also worked with Feeding America® on emergency response plans, including preparation for natural disasters. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in 2012, she and her team made sure the FoodBank was up-and-running to provide food and other essentials to New Jerseyans affected by the storm.

“Everyone who has had the distinct pleasure of working with Cathy knows her heart is as big as our warehouses,” said President and CEO Debra Vizzi. “Cathy is one of our pioneers. She was a pillar of strength and leadership during Sandy and has been heralded throughout New Jersey as one of our finest. She has played an instrumental role in driving our mission to provide food, help and hope for over three decades. Her knowledge and expertise will be deeply missed.”

Chairman of the Board Josh Weinreich said, “On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank Cathy for her commitment to fighting hunger since Day One. She has impacted how the FoodBank addresses hunger in New Jersey, increasing the efficiency and productivity of the warehouses with her team, and she has created a gold standard mirrored by food banks across the country.”

Kathleen DiChiara, founder and former President and CEO, worked with McCann for 32 years. “Her skills, dedication and commitment to those in need and to those who worked with her has been inspirational and has helped us to accomplish so much,” DiChiara said.

Reflecting on her decision to retire, McCann added, “There are a lot of giving people and you don’t realize how much good is in the world. I feel good about being a part of this and hope that I’ve made a difference.” She looks forward to seeing the FoodBank continue its work toward a hunger-free New Jersey.

The Community FoodBank of New Jersey (CFBNJ), a member of Feeding America®, provides people across the state with food, help and hope. The FoodBank distributed over 43 million pounds of food last year to its more than 1,000 community partners including pantries, soup kitchens, emergency shelters, mobile pantries, and child and senior feeding programs. More than 4.7 million times a year, someone in need is fed by the FoodBank’s network of partners. For our neighbors, especially families, and for the volunteers and donors who support them, the Community FoodBank of New Jersey is the powerful change agent that fills the emptiness caused by hunger with the basic human essentials that people need to survive.

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