Who We Are

We’re a small and mighty team who gives all that we can to the Pantry and our clients.

We are an independent community food pantry governed by a Board of Directors comprised of representatives from local businesses and residents who care about our mission. We provide food and other necessary items directly to the people who need assistance in Lake County, Florida. We could not do what we do without the support of a generous community and guidance of the Second Harvest Food Bank, who primarily acts as the storehouse for millions of pounds of food and other products distributed to Central Florida food pantries.

In 2021 we served 55,563 individuals, with approximately 65% being senior and disabled clients. We also distributed over 25,000 pounds of food each week.

We have full-time and part-time staff members plus 200 trained, active volunteers.

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Did You Know?

On average it takes 60 to 70 pounds of food to serve one family of four for three days (3 meals per day)!

Give Us a Wave If You See Us Driving Around Town!

Lake Cares Truck Left Side
Lake Cares Truck Right Side

Meet Our Staff

Kelsey Gonzalez

Kelsey Gonzalez

Executive Director

director.lakecares@gmail.com

Learn more about Kelsey...

Kelsey began as Executive Director in January 2022 and works hard at keeping the organization moving forward.  Kelsey reports to the Board of Directors who make policy on behalf of the best interest of the Lake Cares.

Ruthie Haffner

Ruthie Haffner

Director of Development

ruthie.lakecares@gmail.com

Learn more about Ruthie...

Ruthie works directly with donors with designated and legacy giving and builds engagement and awareness through community outreach. Ruthie works with the Executive Director in securing important funding through writing grants and seeking opportunities for support.

Carly Sayles

Carly Sayles

Pantry Manager

carly.lakecares@gmail.com

Learn more about Carly...

Carly oversees daily pantry operation, places all food orders and is in charge of inventory control distribution.

Myra O'Maley

Myra O'Maley

Asst. Pantry Coordinator

Learn more about Myra...

Coming soon!

Florence Codding

Florence Codding

Office Manager

florence.lakecares@gmail.com

Learn more about Florence...

Office managers handle all emergency food requests, data entry, and phone inquiries. 

Joan Adkins

Joan Adkins

Office Manager

joan.lakecares@gmail.com

Learn more about Joan...

Office managers handle all emergency food requests, data entry, and phone inquiries.

Tim Engle

Tim Engle

Logistics Manager

timothy.lakecares@gmail.com

Learn more about Tim...

Tim is in charge of co-coordinating the pick-up of product from retail stores and food drives.

Kevin Stanaland

Kevin Stanaland

Building Manager

kevin.lakecares@gmail.com

Learn more about Kevin...

Kevin maintains the facilities, keeping everything in working order for the organization.

Patty Pabon

Patty Pabon

Volunteer Coordinator

patty.lakecares@gmail.com

Learn more about Patty...

More information coming soon!

Meet Our Board

John Pease IV

John Pease IV

President

First National Bank of Mount Dora

Learn more about John...

John Pease IV – Born and raised in Lake County, John heads up the Trust Department at The First National Bank of Mount Dora.  He is also the current Chair of the Mount Dora Chamber of Commerce and Trustee of a number of local foundations and charities like the Mount Dora Community Trust and the W.T. Bland Jr. Charitable Trust.  Lake Cares has such a huge impact in our community, John was thrilled when asked to be a part of the team.

Heather McPherson

Heather McPherson

Vice President

Food Columnist

Learn more about Heather...

Heather McPherson is a former food editor, restaurant reviewer and multimedia journalist for the Orlando Sentinel. She handles press and media for the Millennium Management Group. Millennium owns and operates restaurants and entertainment complexes across the United States. The author of three cookbooks, she has co-written five others and edited three cookbooks.

Cathy Hoechst

Cathy Hoechst

Secretary

Community Leader

Learn more about Cathy...

Cathy Hoechst has lived, worked and volunteered in Mount Dora for 35 years. Previously she was an executive for Orlando Health and then President of the Mount Dora Chamber of Commerce. She has served on Mount Dora city council as council woman, vice mayor and mayor.

Michelle Villani

Michelle Villani

Treasurer

G3 Development

Learn more about Michelle...

Michelle Villani is Executive Assistant for G3 Development. “I am a Lake Cares Board Member because I want to use my time and skills to support the cause I care about.”

Chuck Babbino

Chuck Babbino

Board Member

Real Life Church of Mount Dora

Learn more about Chuck...

Chuck Babbino is the Campus Pastor at Real Life Christian Church in Mount Dora. Chuck is involved with Lake Cares because meeting physical needs and combatting hunger is part of what living out the ways of Jesus looks like.  

Peter Marini

Peter Marini

Board Member

Triangle Bingo

Learn more about Peter...

Peter Marini Owner/operator of Triangle Bingo for over 25 years. He raises funds for more than 25 local charities monthly.

Sharon Smith

Sharon Smith

Board Member

 

Learn more about Sharon...

Sharon Smith is a Sales, Marketing & Business Development Executive with extensive experience working for Fortune 50 companies. She is currently a Consultant for the Small Business Development Counsel at UCF (SBDC) and resides in Mount Dora with her husband, Greg.

Monica Wofford

Monica Wofford

Board Member

CEO United Way of Lake and Sumter County

Learn more about Monica...

Monica Wofford serves as the CEO of United Way of Lake and Sumter Counties, as well as the CEO of her own Leadership Training firm, Contagious Companies. She is a 20+ year Lake County resident.

Pastor Bobby Rowe

Pastor Bobby Rowe

Board Member

Saving Faith Baptist Church

Learn more about Pastor Bobby...

Bobby Rowe pastors the Saving Faith Baptist Church in Mount Dora and the Executive Director of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes

Willie Hawkins

Willie Hawkins

Board Member

Commissioner, City of Eustis

Learn more about Willie...

Willie Hawkins is a longtime resident of Eustis, Florida and currently serves as a City of Eustis Commissioner.  Willie has spent the majority of his life dedicated to public service. He has recently retired as a Supervisory Special Agent who served over twenty-six years with the Department of Justice. Willie is a US military veteran having served in the US Air Force. He is actively involved in the Eustis community where he volunteers and supports youth education, sports, and music. He also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Saint Leo’s University.

Lou Buigas

Lou Buigas

Board Member

Learn more about Lou...

Information coming soon!

Kristy Marden

Kristy Marden

Board Member

Learn more about Kristy...

Information coming soon!

Ben Stoffernan

Ben Stoffernan

Board Member

Learn more about Ben...

Information coming soon!

Harmon Massey

Harmon Massey

Board Member

Learn more about Harmon...

Information coming soon!

Sheri Jamieson

Sheri Jamieson

Board Member

Learn more about Sheri...

Information coming soon!

Meet The Lake Cares Ambassadors

Sharon Smith

Sharon Smith

Board Member & Ambassador’s Chair

Christine Williams-Stewart

Christine Williams-Stewart

Mount Dora & Tavares

Leslie Rotarious

Leslie Rotarious

Sorrento Area

Kim Varnadore

Kim Varnadore

Eustis Area