Our Leadership Team
Bailey Weirens, a senior at the College of Saint Benedict, is a Nutrition-Dietetics major and a Psychology minor. Her favorite foods include anything with potatoes and chicken, along with fresh fruit and vegetables! Some of her hobbies include spending time outdoors, singing, traveling and going on adventures with her friends. Bailey joined Community Kitchen first as a volunteer and then a Operations Leader before becoming the Volunteer Coordinator, and now the first Student Director for the program. She felt that this program was a great aid to the hunger issue in the Saint Joseph area and rural communities, and wanted to help however she could to eliminate the hunger problem and reduce food waste at the same time. She enjoys the growth the program has had in the past two years, and looks forward to the progress that is up and coming. If you see Bailey around campus, don't hesitate to ask her how to become involved with the program, she is always looking for more wonderful volunteers on campus!
Gabbie Harvey is a sophomore English major. Her favorite foods are those with which you can eat buffalo sauce. She believes buffalo sauce is actually a food group in and of itself and any food on which it is placed is actually just an instrument with which to eat buffalo sauce. She is passionate about art, science, and literature, and believes firmly in the importance of social justice and community involvement. Gabbie was the Operations Manager for CK last year, and is involved this year as the Volunteer Coordinator.
Sara Goranowski, is a first-year at the College of St. Benedict. Her major is currently undecided. She is from the small town of Welch which is right next to Red Wing. Her hobbies include volunteering, reading, and spending time with friends and family. Her favorite foods include peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, pizza, and cheese tortellini. She is also involved in the Bonner Leader Program at CSB/SJU. She joined Community Kitchen because she loved the dual component of reducing food waste while also helping community members facing food insecurity. She hopes to gain an even greater passion for serving others and some awesome new experiences and opportunities.
Campus Relations Coordinator
Pete Johnson is a first-year student at St. John's University and is a political science major. His favorite food is a Minnesotan classic, the Juicy Lucy, or anything that has to do with meat. Some of his hobbies include fishing, fantasy sports leagues, and anything outdoors. He is also a member of the Johnnie football team and the Bonner Leader Program at CSB/SJU. He joined Community Kitchen because he believes everyone deserves to have access to sustainable food, and that we must help other members in our community. He hopes to make great connections with the community and to gain a better understanding of those living around us.
Logan Connor is a senior from St. Peter, Minnesota. He is majoring in biochemistry, pre-dental. His favorite foods include cheesecake, buffalo chicken wraps, and crab. He is involved intramural sports. He is involved in Community Kitchen because he has a desire to become more involved and to create a positive image for the CSB/SJU community (he also loves food). He hopes to gain experience representing a leadership role. He wants to create more connections and relationships with new individuals who are outgoing and fun.
Nathan Johnson, a senior at Saint John's University, is a Nutrition and Hispanic Studies double major. His favorite food is beef/chicken tacos! His hobbies include camping, hiking, rock climbing, and canoeing. Nate chose to become a part of Community Kitchen because he wanted to help reduce the food waste that occurs at Saint Ben's, as well as help provide nutritious meals for fellow community members. In addition, this program fits well with both of his majors, and he hopes to continue on with work like this once he graduates from SJU.
Meg Schrafft is a senior Biology major from the Twin Cities. She loves trying out new foods from a variety of cultures; Indian, Thai, Latino foods are her favorite. Besides Community Kitchen, she is involved with the Bonner Leader Program, Jackson Fellows, Companions on a Journey, and she works in the office of Experiential Learning and Community Engagement. She firmly believes in the Benedictine Values of hospitality, service, and community, and believes that Community Kitchen follows these values well. She hopes to meet more people who love creating connections around food and justice this year!
Sarah Blaida, is a senior Dietetics Major at the College of Saint Benedict, with a psychology minor. Her favorite foods include any type of fruit and all forms of sushi and seafood. She loves to try new and unique foods and learn the history behind food and its culture. A fun fact about Sarah is that she loves to travel and actually enjoys airports. She is also an avid yogi and enjoys running to release the stress from classes. Sarah joined Community Kitchen because she wants to reduce food waste in her own backyard and be able to help provide meals to those who are food insecure. She is looking forward to seeing this program expand and help more people every day!
Ellie Vanasse is a senior Nursing major at the Colllege of Saint Benedict. She is excited to be in an apartment this year, because she loves to bake and cook. Her other hobbies include watching baseball and football (go Brewers and Packers!), crafting, reading, and playing volleyball and basketball. There is very little that she wouldn't eat; in fact, she would love to be able to travel and eat like Andrew Zimmern! This appreciation of food and her interest in social justice propelled her to work with Community Kitchen this year. Not only does food nourish the body, but it does so much to build relationships, serve others, and nourish the soul as well!
Jackie Kemnic, a senior at the College of Saint Benedict, is a Nutrition Dietetics major. She enjoys cheese, or any type of food made with cheese. Jackie loves spending time outdoors, running and rollerblading, playing with her nieces, and grocery shopping. She joined Community Kitchen after hearing about the program from one of her nutrition professors, and decided to get involved as soon as she could. Jackie found Community Kitchen to be right up her alley of interest, and she also wanted to be a part of an effort to reduce food waste on campus as well as addressing and raising awareness of the food insecurity within the community. "It has been a great volunteer opportunity, where I have been able to build relationships with people throughout the community as well as with students on campus".
Cassi Roline is from St. Francis, MN. She is a junior and is double majoring in Math and Gender Studies and hopefully minoring in Psychology. It is very hard for her to choose a favorite food, but she would probably have to say burgers! She is a member of the service sorority Alpha Kappa Sigma on campus, but she also volunteers at the women's shelter in St. Cloud. She wants to be a part of Community Kitchen, because she loves to volunteer. Helping others makes her so happy! She also thinks that this is a great program that promotes service, community, and sustainability. She is hoping to gain better leadership skills and get more involved in the community.
Brian Burroughs is a senior and a Biology and Nutrition double major from Byron, MN. His favorite food is cottage cheese because you can mix it with everything. His favorite way to eat it is with Chinese food. He is on the track team, a member of the Knights of Columbus and Global Health affairs club, a student health assistant at the St. Cloud Hospital, and he is a tutor in the Math Skills Center. He wants to be involved with Community Kitchen because it feeds both his passion for service and nutrition. He hopes to meet new and interesting people on campus and in the community.
Ryan Kuester is a junior from the small town of Glencoe, Minnesota. He currently is a double major in both the psychology and environmental studies programs, with a minor in exercise sports science. His favorite food is macaroni and cheese with cut up hot dogs mixed in. He is a short sprinter on the St. John’s track and field team. He also just started participating in the Marketing Club this year as well. He is involved with Community Kitchen to help others and give back to the community. He has too much free time on my hands, so he felt the best way to fill that time is by providing for others. He also enjoys the strong bond that the surrounding local communities in this area have. First and foremost, he hopes to become a better person through Community Kitchen, and he would also like to gain friendships that continue past when his time with Community Kitchen is up.
Katie Rothstein is a junior from Sauk Rapids, Minnesota. She transferred to the College of Saint Benedict from St. Cloud State University in hopes for a better college experience. She is majoring in Nutrition with a concentration in Dietetics. She does not need a minor for this major but she is currently exploring the options of psychology and communications. Some of her favorite foods include ice cream, curry with rice, pasta, and fresh fruit. She loves so many foods so it’s very hard for her to choose! She currently works for the SJU Stream Team and is hoping to get a job in the SJU mail room as well. She also has an off-campus job teaching dance at a studio in Sauk Rapids. She is involved in Community Kitchen to meet new people, volunteer with a great program, and to give back to the community. She hopes to gain leadership, confidence, motivation, selflessness, and a true respect for our school and how we are helping the community.
Lexi Rice is a junior Nutrition major at CSB and is from Ham Lake, MN. Her favorite food is anything that's being served at Gorecki brunch on Sunday mornings and anything she can cover with peanut butter. Aside from endless hours in the library, she spends her time watching Netflix, doing anything outside, playing intramurals, and spending time with her family and friends. Lexi is also a barista at Starbucks and volunteers with Big Brother, Big Sister. She decided to become involved with Community Kitchen because she has always loved volunteering and believes it is important to help everyone have access to food. Her goal is to become more involved with the CSB/SJU community and make connections with the people who live around us.
Niesha Ford is from a small town called Hayward in California near San Franscico and Oakland. She is a junior majoring in Biochemistry with a minor in Psychology; Pre-med focus. Her favorite foods are any type of pasta and almost anything with grilled chicken. She would eat pasta for every meal. She is the Pre-med club treasure, a Big Sister in the Big Brothers, Big Sister organization, an Eco-Rep, and an active member in BenCo Swimming. She got involved in Community Kitchen because she has a passion for helping others in need and loved the mission of reducing food waste- especially when so many people go hungry every day. She hopes to gain a greater appreciation for the food she is provided with and connect with the St. Joseph community.
Skylar is a sophomore environmental studies major, biology minor with a passion to make a difference. A professional napper by trade, she also has a love for the outdoors, Netflix, and service. Being OL for Community Kitchen is a big deal to her because she sees a huge connection between sustainability and social justice with the program. By taking uneaten food and redistributing it, she believes we are not only limiting our footprint at CSB but also helping to make a difference in the local community.
Jamie McCarthy is a sophmore English major excited to finally be on campus! Her favorite food is the glamorous potato, especially curly fries. She is a hopeless Netflix devotee, and not overly bothered by the amount of shows she's watched. Okay, maybe a little bothered. Besides spending her time watching Tangled for the millionth time, there is nothing she loves to do more than meet people. She picked Community Kitchen as a way to connect with people who both share her love of service and who each have an incredibly interesting story that she would like to hear.
Erin Boggs is a sophomore, Psychology major and Nutrition minor. Her favorite foods are Sesame Chicken and anything Italian. She enjoys traveling, doing volunteer work, and her dog. The reason she decided to be an Operations Leader for Community Kitchen is to help make a difference with hunger in our St. Joseph community. She hopes to bring a smile to the faces she meets in the community and help Community Kitchen grow and serve more people.
Alexandria Daggett is a sophomore Hispanic Studies major and Pre-med student. She is a bit of an obsessive studier but when she finds some free time, she loves being active, she plays on the CSB club Ultimate Frisbee team and also loves to rollerblade (She finally did the Wobegon Trail for the first time this fall). She is excited for the new school year and the chance to make new friends and continue finding ways to get involved in the CSB/SJU community. She loves being a part of Community Kitchen because it gives her a chance to serve with fellow Bennies and Johnnies while also interacting with those in the local community.
Hosanna Fortmeyer is from Fairview, Kansas. She is a sophomore majoring in Nutrition-Dietetics, and she loves anything related to food and nutrition! There are so many delicious foods and recipes out there, that she is unable to pick a favorite… she loves anything her mom makes! Some CSB/SJU activities that she is a part of include Nutrition Club, Global Health Affairs, Students for Life, volleyball intramurals, Benedictine Friends, Companions on a Journey, and now Community Kitchen as an OL! She is really looking forward to helping with Community Kitchen in this capacity because she thinks it’s an awesome effort and she wants to help ensure that it continues. CK is able to effectively address two very important issues, food insecurity and food waste, at the same time and that’s super cool! She can’t wait to begin!
Chelsea Schwarzkopf is a sophomore. Her hometown is Geneseo, Illinois near the border of Iowa. She is a double major in Communication and Oboe Performance. My favorite food is sushi and fried rice. On campus she is involved in Orchestra, Communication Club, HR Club, and she occasionally writes for The Record. Community Kitchen is a way for her to volunteer while spending time with people. As an Orientation Leader, she hopes to gain skills such as leadership and volunteering.
Aaron Schwietz is a first-year Johnnie from Mendota Heights, Minnesota. He is currently majoring in Global Business and Hispanic Studies. His favorite foods include but are not limited to calzones, lasagna, pizza, and Chicken in a Biskit. He works as a Technical Aide in the Fine Arts Programming and is involved in Nordic Skiing and Climbing clubs. He sees Community Kitchen as a great opportunity to serve the community effectively. He hopes to help take a stand against the food waste in our area while helping to support those who do not have access to sufficient food.
AmeriCorps VISTA is the national service program designed specifically to fight poverty. Authorized in 1964 and founded as Volunteers in Service to America in 1965, VISTA was incorporated into the AmeriCorps network of programs in 1993. VISTA has been on the front lines in the fight against poverty in America for more than 45 years (Corporation for National & Community Service).
VISTA members commit to serve full-time for a year at a nonprofit organization or local government agency, working to fight illiteracy, improve health services, create businesses, strengthen community groups, and much more. With passion, commitment, and hard work, VISTA members both create and expand programs designed to bring individuals and communities out of poverty (Corporation for National & Community Service).
The Initiative Foundation is a non-profit organization based in Little Falls that aims to improve the quality of life in central Minnesota. At the core of their work is the belief that local people possess the talent, passion and ability to achieve a brighter future. Their programs and investments strive to give every person an opportunity to contribute to a shared vision and plan of action that strengthens community character and relationships (Initiave Foundation).
As an AmeriCorps VISTA sponsoring organization, the Initiative Foundation oversees the recruiting, placement, training and supervision of 20 VISTA members across central MN. Host sites interview and select their own VISTAs from a pool of local and national candidates. In 2012, the College of Saint Benedict became one of these lucky VISTA host sites for the first time in its history, a new tradition that the Office of Experiential Learning and Community Engagement hopes to continue (Initiave Foundation).