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GET TO KNOW US

Get to know us by learning more about our mission, history, and team!

Our Mission

OUR MISSION

nourish.NJ creates lasting solutions to the problems of hunger, homelessness and poverty. We offer food, housing, work readiness, medical, social and educational services 365 days a year in a warm, safe and caring environment, free of charge, no questions asked. 

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OUR VALUES

nourish.NJ is committed to authentically embodying the values of equity, diversity, and inclusion. We are devoted to fostering an environment that is accepting, affirming and empowering. Our core values guide this work;

SERVICE nourish.NJ strives to create a welcoming and inclusive environment every single day. SOCIAL JUSTICE nourish.NJ recognizes that systemic inequities, especially related to race, have created and perpetuated barriers in our community. Those representing nourish.NJ are committed to learning more about the diversity within our community, incorporating diverse-input from our community members, and partnering with agencies that share our values of diversity, equity and inclusion. ​ DIGNITY AND WORTH OF A PERSON nourish.NJ creates policies and procedures with the community’s dignity and worth at the center. Above all, nourish.NJ recognizes that the community we work with are the experts of their own experience and we will follow their guidance. ​ INTEGRITY nourish.NJ strives to uphold these values in all we do. We continue our learning and understanding of these topics through consistent education, honest dialogue, and personal humility.  OUR COMMINITMENT TO HOUSING FIRST We recognize that housing is a human right and plays a uniquely important role in our lives. We believe that everyone has a right to safe stable housing. We embrace the housing first philosophy by serving our neighbors without preconditions of treatment, compliance, or other readiness requirements. We work with individuals and families, offering robust client-centered planning and individualized, self-determined support services to identify, secure, and sustain permanent housing that is safe and affordable, and supports individuals on their path to wellness. ​ We serve all our neighbors regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, nationality, gender-identity, sexuality, age, education, ability, identity, or citizenship status, and we neither provide nor require any religious or sectarian instruction.

Our Values

OUR HISTORY

nourish. NJ has spent over three decades working to create lasting solutions to the problems of hunger, homelessness and poverty. We began our mission serving chicken noodle soup and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to guests in the mid 1980’s, and since then, we have expanded our offerings to include a variety of dynamic relief services, and programs.

 

We offer these services 365 days a year in a warm, safe and caring environment, free of charge, no questions asked. In addition to providing fresh and healthy meals every weekday, we provide housing, medical, and employment assistance. We continue to expand our offerings to meet the needs of our guests.

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OUR IMPACT

nourish.NJ creates lasting solutions to the problems of hunger, homelessness and poverty. We offer food, housing, work readiness, medical, social and educational services 365 days a year in a warm, safe and caring environment, free of charge, no questions asked. For more information about our impact please reference our Annual Reports.

OUR TEAM

Teresa Connolly

Chief Executive Officer

terry@nourishnj.org

​About Terry: When Terry first walked through the door of nourish.NJ in 1997 as a volunteer she knew she had found a place that would be an important part of her life. The organization’s mission connected deeply with her commitment to social justice and equality, and the warm and welcoming atmosphere made her feel instantly at home. After completing her Masters in Social Work at Rutgers University later that year, Terry joined the staff as the Executive Director. Over the years the organization has expanded its mission and has seen many exciting changes, but through it all, Terry is most proud that the organization’s commitment to community has remained constant. Terry is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the state of NJ and is a certified clinical supervisor. She is a passionate advocate and currently serves as the Chair of the Permanent Housing Committee of the Continuum of Care to End Homelessness, is a Member of the Morris County Human Services Advisory Council and serves on several non-profit boards. She is a frequent presenter on topics including food justice, housing first programs, trauma informed care, non-profit administration and diversity, equity and inclusion. In her personal life, Terry can often be found with her nose in a book, taking a yoga class or spending time with her husband and two children.

Amir Dawud

Director of Food Services

amir@nourishnj.org

About Amir: Amir became a part of the nourish.NJ team in December of 2021. He currently serves Nourish as the Director of Food Service. He has a passion for providing the community with healthy, but flavorful restaurant quality meals. Even more than that he just loves to help people. Prior to working for Nourish Amir worked with some of the top hospitals in the country as a Chef and Food Service Manager(Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Institute and RWJBH). This is where his passion for helping people through food began to develop. He was also just brought up to always do work in his community. Currently, Amir is close to obtaining a Bachelor's Degree in Business administration, and plans to pursue additional certification following completion. Amir enjoys spending time with his wife Chiquita, and supporting the goals of his three children. Zahmir, Jahir, and Nahzir. He also enjoys learning about the outdoors and history.

Lois Nichols

Director of Operations

lois@nourishnj.org

About Lois: As Director of Operations of nourish.NJ, Lois has considered her position to be as much of a passion as a career. She joined the nourish.NJ team in 2007 as a part-time administrative employee when the organization was known as the Community Soup Kitchen and Outreach Center and assumed a full-time position several years later as Assistant Director and now Director of Operations. Prior to joining nourish.NJ, Lois was a District Sales Manager for The Guardian after graduating Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA with a double major in English and Business Administration. Lois is especially proud of her adult daughter and son who were born and raised in Morristown and are pursuing their careers and passions. Still in Morristown, Lois loves to read and is an avid DIYer.

Alicia Alvarez

Landlord Liaison

alicia@nourishnj.org

About Alicia: Alicia began working with nourish.NJ in November of 2022. Before that, she sat on the Board of Directors. Alicia’s work and advocacy has helped identify existing barriers to housing people experiencing long-term homelessness and voucher recipients. Through this work, Alicia participated in a Community Based Participatory Action Research project as a Community Researcher, which resulted in the county developing a Landlord Incentive Program. She is currently a member of several Morris County Continuum of Care Committees, including the Executive Committee, Allocations Committee, Coordinated Assessment Placement System Committee, and Chairs the Advisory Board for People with Lived Expertise. Alicia completed the Garden State Leaders Advocacy Program and an internship at CSH, advising on the New Jersey Housing First work. She has also served as an Americorp Vista in her work with NJCEH and The Shelters Providers Consortium. Alicia has shared that “this work serving on these committees and boards has ignited a fire inside me and allowed me to find my voice. It is my mission to help others find theirs; through our stories and experiences, we can work together to help bridge this gap in the system."

Grisery Rodriguez

Director of Outreach Services

grisery@nourishnj.org

About Grisery: Grisery joined nourish.NJ May of 2022 and serves as Resource Manager. Compassionate social worker committed to assisting clients in developing healthier, more positive life choices, Grisery works with clients in the community, builds relationships and creates positive living situations. My goal is to provide services to individuals and families using an integrated approach tailored to the unique needs of each new client. My belief is that change happens when people are given the support they need to draw on their own strengths and realize their potential to live fulfilling, happy lives. Grisery holds a Master in Social Work from Chamberlain University. Throughout her education she has been able to work as a therapist and provide psychotherapy treatments based on cognitive behavioral therapy, narrative therapy and mindfulness. Grisery has also provided care to hospice patients approaching the end of life, grief, and loss. She finds great interest in working with people of all ages and helping them find a path in life. Grisery provides a safe environment of compassion and support to help individuals and families thrive. In her free time, Grisery finds joy spending time with family and friends.

Sandra Abadia

Volunteer Liaison

sandra@nourishnj.org

About Sandra: Sandra, an oral hygienist by profession, came from Colombia to the United States 4 years ago. A few months later she joined the nourish.NJ team, where she served as a food service assistant. Despite the fact that cooking was never part of her field of work, she was fascinated by the mission of nourish.NJ, and felt that the work of the organization was beautiful. She is grateful to have had so much support from her superiors and co-workers in learning and mastering the English language, which she did not speak upon her arrival. Now, due to her effort and dedication, she has been promoted to Volunteer Coordinator at nourish.NJ's new Victory Garden location. In her free time, Sandra likes to spend time outside.

Darnell Tillet

Site Manager

darnell@nourishnj.org

Darnell joined NourishNJ in August 25, 2017 serving as a part time security officer, with dreams of retiring a few years later. He now serves as the Site Manager for the Sussex Avenue location overseeing the day to day operation. He’s responsible for ensuring that the community has a safe and clean environment to acquire both nutritional needs and program services that all human beings are entitled to. Before joining NourishNJ, Darnell worked as an Assistant Manager for Daughter of Israel where his knowledge and experience in the kitchen allowed him to help reconstruct several floors into mini dining halls. He also served 27 years in the United States Air Force where he retired as a Technical sergeant and developed the model “Service over self for all”. Darnell received his first of three degrees in Hotel/Restaurant, Nutritional Science and his Bachelors of Arts in Business Administration. He was born and raised in Morristown NJ and prides himself on being a Colonial but lives in Flanders NJ, with his wife and kids. He is an avid inventor and loves challenging bike rides in the countryside and walking his dog Pepper.

Gerardo Segovia

Building Ambassador, Victory Gardens

gerardo@nourishnj.org

Gerardo joined the nourish.NJ team in October of 2023, and serves as a building ambassador at our new building in Victory Gardens. He is the first face our guests often see upon visiting, and enjoys greeting and getting to know them. He is always there to help direct them to the service or Outreach Team member they are looking for. Gerardo started out as a volunteer with nourish.NJ. When the opportunity to join the nourish.NJ team as a staff member arose, he was excited to jump on it! This career choice is a bit different from his previous experiences, but is nonetheless fueled by his headstrong commitment to helping people. In his spare time, Gerardo loves to spend time with his dog, Thor and always looks forward to seeing him when he comes home. Thor’s friendly attitude enhances Gerardo’s as well!

Kiera Mitru

Cook

kiera@nourishnj.org

About Kiera: Kiera joined nourish.NJ in January 2022, and currently works as a Cook. She is committed to making flavorful and nutritious meals accessible to all in our community and beyond. Before her time at nourish.NJ, Kiera enjoyed learning about the world through volunteerism. From a young age, her family would engage in community service opportunities throughout northern New Jersey. These experiences led her to Siena College, where she pursued a B.A. in English with minors in journalism and Italian. Her degree can speak to her passion for communication, however, her involvement in campus community and the Franciscan Center for Service and Advocacy gifted her a knowledge more unique than any book or professor could. In addition to working with agencies around Albany, NY, Kiera traveled to Nicaragua, Philadelphia, PA, and Tucson, AZ to support regional organizations in meeting immediate needs in their communities. Engaging with issues surrounding migration, hunger, homelessness, and poverty, these opportunities have radicalized Kiera to continue serving and advocating for others in her career and personal life.In her free time, Kiera enjoys staying active, trying new recipes, and spending time in nature.

Dave Bein

Chief Operating Officer

dave@nourishnj.org

About Dave: Dave joined nourish.NJ in 2021 and serves as the Chief Operating Officer. Dave has oversight over all nourish.NJ operations including food services, maintenance, transportation, and security. Prior to joining nourish.NJ, Dave served as Director of Food and Training Services for Eva's Village in Paterson, NJ. With over 30 years in food services, from NJ to Vegas, Dave's operational knowledge and leadership was a natural fit for nourish.NJ's COO position. Dave earned a Bachelor of Arts in from The George Washington University and Culinary Arts Certificate from New York Restaurant School. Dave lives in Westwood with his wife and two daughters. Outside of work Dave enjoys coaching his daughters' softball, basketball, and soccer teams. He is also an avid crossword and trivia buff as well as a former contestant on both "Jeopardy!" and "Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?"

Heidi Griffee

Director of Volunteer Services

heidi@nourishnj.org

About Heidi: Heidi joined nourish.NJ in 2007 as a part time office assistant. Much to her delight, her position soon expanded to full time and she has been hooked ever since. Knowing the history of the organization, the struggles, hurdles crossed, and barriers broken, gives her much perspective when it comes to volunteering at a nonprofit. As Director of Volunteer Services, Heidi enjoys introducing volunteers not only to the mission of nourish.NJ, but to the heart behind it all; Everyone deserves respect and kindness. Everyone in the community is valued, and each day, we have the opportunity to show someone that they are supported. Heidi earned her B.A. in Speech Communications from the University of Washington. Prior to joining nourish.NJ Heidi worked at a small Private Equity Firm where she was able to watch new ideas formulate, acquire funding, and take flight. This is how she now views programs and services at nourish.NJ - you start with the idea and watch it grow! Heidi and her husband have 4 children so the days are full, but in the best way possible. To keep busy, Heidi serves on the Board of her Church and on the Board of Parents for the Advancement of Girls Gymnastics at the local gymnastics gym.

Mariah Acree

Individual Giving Manager

mariah@nourishnj.org

About Mariah: Mariah joined the nourish.NJ team in 2021, and currently serves as the Individual Giving Manager. She is passionate about sharing nourish.NJ’s cutting-edge approach to addressing hunger, homelessness and poverty with community members, and securing funding to support programs and services that help transform lives. Her passion for humanitarianism started in childhood when she began volunteering with her family in Harlem, NYC. Since then, she has extended her enthusiasm and skill set toward human-service focused endeavors by engaging in content creation and research initiatives for various altruistic entities, leading a pro-bono trans-media campaign, taking part in the direction and production of multiple advocacy-centered film projects, and more. Mariah has a B.A in Communications Studies with a minor in Anthropology from Montclair State University. In her personal life, she enjoys all things creative, spirituality, and spending time with her cats and dog.

Manny Diaz

Housing Manager

manny@nourishnj.org

About Manny: Manny began working with nourish.NJ in 2016 and was the first bilingual Outreach Worker. Manny supported individuals and families regardless of income or documentation status with empathy and client-centered problem-solving. In 2023, he was promoted to Housing Manager due to his passion and knowledge surrounding housing. Manny advocates for those who are facing homelessness or are at risk for eviction by creating strong relationships with various agencies and landlords across northern New Jersey. Manny strives to ensure everyone has access to safe and affordable housing. In his free time, Manny likes to go on hikes, take care of plants, and is interested in photography.

Julie Hess

Volunteer Liaison

julie@nourishnj.org

About Julie: Julie serves as a Volunteer Liaison. She focuses on educating and developing supportive relationships, helping on and off site volunteers to understand and feel a part of the nourish mission. Julie especially enjoys working with volunteers as they become advocates for our community. Julie began volunteering with nourish.NJ in 1998 and was drawn to the strong commitment and purpose among the volunteers to provide hunger relief to anyone in need. She became the coordinator for her church’s team of volunteers, then served on the nourish.NJ board, before joining the staff in 2007 as a part-time community educator. Over the past 15 years, Julie has fulfilled many roles within nourish.NJ, working in communications and operations, before settling into her current role as volunteer liaison. She enjoys the sense of community shared by staff, volunteers, and guests. Julie has a B.S. in Design from the University of Delaware. She uses her creativity to help conceptualize, design and implement programs that support our guests in innovative ways, like Camp nourish.NJ, Purposeful Acts of Kindness and Purple Apron. In its first 2 years, volunteers donated over 18,000 nutritious, delicious Purple Apron meals to our neighbors. Julie believes that everyone can make a profound difference in our community through volunteering.

Nancy Rudgers

Corporate Giving Manager

nancy@nourishnj.org

About Nancy: Nancy Rudgers, joined nourish.NJ in 2009 and currently serves as the Corporate Engagement Manager. Nancy has tackled every aspect within the organization including Business Development, Administration, Volunteer Liaison, Grant Writer, Community Advocate & Speaker, Food and Market distribution. Nancy’s lives by the motto,"Be the Change!". Nancy has a Bachelor of Science in accounting and finance from St John’s University. She previously had a corporate banking career as Vice President in Commercial Lending and has spent the last 20 years in fundraising and development. In her free time, Nancy enjoys tennis, biking, boating and spending quality time with family & friends.

Ashley Nunez

Social Worker

ashley@nourishnj.org

About Ashley: Ashley joined the nourish.NJ team as a bilingual Social Worker in October 2022. Ashley obtained her Bachelor’s Degree from William Paterson University in Sociology and in Criminal Justice. Prior to the pandemic, Ashley worked as a case manager at Good Shephard Medical Adult Day Care. By May 2022, Ashley completed her Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Southern California. Ashley believes in utilizing a strengths based approach while working with clients to achieve their goals. Ashley is a proud wife and a mother of two amazing and energetic boys. Ashley is compassionate and driven to helping those in need within the community.

Santiago Almeida-Dantaz

Social Worker

santiago@nourishnj.org

About Santiago: Santiago joined the nourish.NJ team in October 2022 as a bilingual social worker. Previously, Santiago was working as a caseworker at Family Promise of Sussex County where he was able to gather a vast knowledge on the at-risk of homelessness/ homelessness population. Santiago also has experience with providing individualized psychotherapy while interning with Rutgers University. Throughout all of Santiago's college journey he was adamant on working with Hispanic/ Latino individuals and families and communities. With nourish.NJ, Santiago is able to do just that and more! Santiago earned his Bachelors in Social Work from Monmouth University in 2020 and shortly after in 2021 he earned his Masters in Social Work from Rutgers University. Santiago is someone who always aspired to be able to assist others with their present needs through his sarcasm, dry sense of humor and charisma. During Santiago's free time he spends time either rock climbing, skateboarding, learning about cars and discovering different ways to explore his creativity.

NOURISH.NJ'S BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Taiisa Kelly 

Board Chair

Monarch Housing

 

Katie Kennedy

Board Vice President

Truist

 

Armond Kinsey

Board Secretary

Atlantic Health

 

Michael Kulick

Board Treasurer

Withum, Smith, and Brown

Shari Hoffman

Adath Shalom Synagogue

 

Dawn Walker

Calvary Baptist Church

 

Oliver Esman

Strawn Arnold

 

Carol Kennedy

Community Representative

 

Jessica Padilla Gonzales

CUMAC

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