ZERO HUNGER - Fighting Food Insecurity Regionally
Regional Summits on Issues that Matter
THursday, May 18, 2023 | 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. | Ware Center
A one-day conference at the Ware Center in Downtown Lancaster featuring a noted speakers and informative panels addressing the important topic of food insecurity in Central Pennsylvania.
- Identifying the Problem: Current Research on Food Insecurity
- Addressing Hunger in PreK-12 Settings
- Sharing Best Practices among Higher Ed Institutions
- Advocating for Policy Solutions
- Supporting and Mobilizing the Nonprofit Sector
Our Mission and Purpose:
Food insecurity is a profound challenge facing people and communities across the region, the Commonwealth, and the nation. Food insecurity means not having access to reliable and nutritious meals, a condition impacting nearly 1.7 million Pennsylvanians, according to the PA Department of Human Services. Hunger touches the lives of individuals from across the Commonwealth, urban and rural populations alike, and people from every age cohort, including our most vulnerable populations of younger and older residents.
Working together, our private, public, and nonprofit sectors are making progress in battling this crisis, but gaps remain, and individuals and families remain undeserved. Join us and learn more about the significance of food insecurity in the region and explore some best practices in service provision. As leaders in the community, we will highlight areas of advocacy and potential solutions in combating food insecurity in South Central Pennsylvania.
Sustainable Development Goals:
In 2015, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, 193 world leaders committed to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These are a series of ambitious objectives and targets to address poverty and hunger, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change, by 2030.
A few years into the aggressive agenda, there is evidence of progress across the private and nonprofit sectors, and within federal, state, and local governments. Civil society is translating this shared vision into plans and strategies. The Sustainable Development Goals are the blueprint for achieving a better and more sustainable future for all.
Millersville University’s Link to UN Sustainable Development Goals:
Millersville University has adopted the UN SDGs as an action item in our 2025 Strategic Plan – “Tradition and Transformation.” By 2025, we seek to expand curricular and co-curricular experiences that support Sustainable Development Goals. We also recognize our public mission to enhance the economic and social well-being of our region by advancing knowledge transfer and best practices. Hosting annual conferences of practitioners, policy leaders, and community advocates to support a shared understanding of the SDGs and accelerate the adoption of best practices aligns with our public mission and our strategic goals.
*Offering 7 hours of continuing education credit.
Learn more about the conference by contacting the Office of Community Engagement, Governmental and Economic Development at 717-871-5742 or Victor.Desantis@millersville.edu.
8:00 – 8:45am - Continental Breakfast/Networking - Lobby
8:45 – 9:00 am - Opening the day - Steinman Hall
- Dr. Daniel A. Wubah, Millersville University President
9:00 – 9:55am - Framing the Issue of Food Insecurity in South Central PA - Steinman Hall
- Vanessa Philbert, Chief Executive Officer, Community Action Partnership (CAP)
- Zackary Zook, Senior Policy Research Manager, Central Pennsylvania Food Bank
- Moderator: Dr. Karen Rice, School of Social Work, Millersville University
9:55 – 10:00am - Break
10:00 – 10:55am - Policy Actions and Solutions to Address Food Insecurity - Steinman Hall
- Senator Carolyn T. Comitta, 19th Senatorial District (serving Chester County)
- Sally Zubairu-Cofield, Bureau Director, Pennsylvania Bureau of Women, Infants and Children
- Moderator: Dr. Victor DeSantis, Office of the President, Millersville University
10:55 – 11:00am - Break
11:00 – 11:55am - Addressing Hunger in PreK-12 Settings - Steinman Hall
- Keila Torres, Social Worker, Penn Manor School District
- Joy Meley, Social Worker, Penn Manor School District
- Lisette Rivera, Site Coordinator for the Families in Transition, School District of Lancaster
- Moderator: Dr. Jennifer Frank, School of Social Work, Millersville University
11:55 – 1:00pm - Lunch and Food Insecurity Simulation with CAP - Atrium (3rd Floor)
1:00 – 1:55pm - Best Practices on Combating Hunger at Higher Education Institutions Panel - Atrium
- Marian V Wilson, Ph.D., Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer and Title IX Coordinator, Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology
- Derek Wadlington, Besch/Clarkson College Chaplain, Wilson College instead of just Chaplain
- Mary Beth Williams, Ph.D. Vice President for Student Affairs, Millersville University
- Moderator: John Johnson, Executive Chef, Dining Services, Millersville University
1:55 – 2:00pm - Break
2:00 – 2:55pm - The Nonprofit Sector's Fight Against Food Insecurity - Atrium
- Jacob Marino, Director of The HUB & Campus Cupboard
- Julie Rhoads, VP - Health & Nutrition at CAP
- Brad Peterson, Executive Director of Power Packs Project
- Dr. Carol Welsh, Chair and Board Member of Homefeilds
- Moderator: Mary Beth Williams, Ph.D. Vice President for Student Affairs, Millersville University
2:55 – 3:00pm - Break
3:00 - 3:50pm - Action Planning and Recap - Atrium
- Facilitators: Drs. Karen Rice and Jennifer Frank
Learn more about your speakers for May 18, 2023
Vanessa Philbert, Chief Executive Officer for the Community Action Partnership of Lancaster County, has been engaged in community-building and non-profit work in Lancaster County for the past 20 years. A native of New York City, Vanessa previously held roles locally at the United Way of Lancaster County, the Gate House for Men, and Pressley Ridge. In her role at CAP, she provides leadership and strategic vision to CAP’s 15-plus programs. Vanessa brings a unique perspective to community problem-solving based on her lived experiences and journey out of poverty. She works to address generational problems with generational solutions and through a cross-sector, strategic approach. She is married to Ronnie and has three daughters. She holds a Masters Degree in Strategic Leadership and Organizational Development from Elizabethtown College and a Bachelors Degree in Applied Phycology and Organizational Development from Albright College. Vanessa serves on the Board of Directors and as Equity Chair of the Community Action Association of Pennsylvania and is Board Chair of Lancaster Equity Community Development Corporation, and she serves on the Board of Directors of the Lancaster City Alliance and the Board of Trustees of the Lancaster Chamber. She is also a member of the President’s Advisory Council at Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology and the Grants & Programs Committee at the High Foundation. She received the Lancaster Chamber’s 2022 Athena Award and the YWCA of Lancaster’s 2020 Woman of Achievement Award.
Zach Zook is the Senior Policy Research Manager for the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, where he leads the development of a research, policy analysis, and data infrastructure for the CPFB and its network of 1,100 food pantries across 27 counties, along with a fantastic four-person team. This work includes leading yearlong community hunger mapping projects designed to assess the food insecurity situation and charitable food system in all 27 CPFB counties over the next 5 years, including one scheduled for completion in summer 2023 in Lancaster County.
Zach previously worked in Beirut, Lebanon with Mennonite Central Committee where he managed more than 50 food security, humanitarian relief and livelihoods projects in Lebanon and Syria. Zach has also worked as a data and financial analyst.
Zach earned a Master’s in Public Affairs with a focus on domestic policy, poverty and social policy from Princeton University in 2021 and a Bachelor’s in Economics from Eastern Mennonite University in 2014.
Zach lives in Harrisburg with his wife Meghan and their joyful and brave 10-month old son Ezra. Zach grew up in Lancaster County and comes back frequently for work and to visit family and friends.
Dr. Victor DeSantis
Dr. Victor DeSantis currently serves as Chief of Staff and VP for External Affairs at Millersville University, having previously served the institution as Dean of Graduate Studies and Adult Learning and as Associate Provost for Civic and Community Engagement. Prior to joining Millersville in 2005, he held several administrative positions at Bridgewater State University, including three years as Executive Assistant to the President. His faculty background in the fields of public administration and public policy spans over two decades at American University, University of North Texas, and Bridgewater State University. Dr. DeSantis holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Washington College (MD), and a Masters and Ph.D. from the School of Public Affairs at American University.
State Senator Carolyn T. Comitta
Senator Comitta is a leader in championing our communities, defending our environment, and working to ensure a safer, cleaner, and brighter future for the next generation of Pennsylvanians and beyond.
From the classroom to the board room to the state legislature, Carolyn has consistently advocated for the issues that matter to all residents and their families – quality education, affordable healthcare, sustainable energy, safe schools and neighborhoods, clean air and water, a competitive economy, strong transportation infrastructure, and communities that welcome and respect the contributions and dignity of every person.
Carolyn is known for her success in building diverse coalitions, her resolve in tackling tough issues, large and small, and her ability to inspire the optimism and hope needed to prevail against seemingly overwhelming odds.
As a result of her leadership, Carolyn was elected to serve as State Senator for Pennsylvania’s 19th District, representing the people of Chester County, in 2020.
In the Senate, Carolyn serves as minority chair of the Environmental Resources and Energy Committee and on the Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Education, Health and Human Services, and Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committees. Before being elected state Senator, Carolyn served two terms as a State Representative.
Previously, Carolyn served two terms, beginning in 2016, as State Representative for the 156th Legislative District. In the House of Representatives, she served as Secretary of the Environmental Resources and Energy Committee and on the Appropriations Committee and the Aging and Older Adults Committee. Carolyn was also Vice Chair of the Pennsylvania Joint Legislative Air and Water Pollution Control and Conservation Committee, Vice Chair of the Climate Caucus, Vice Chair of the House Southeast Delegation, and a member of the Pennsylvania Commission for Women.
Carolyn was first elected to public office on West Chester Borough Council, where she served from 2006 to 2010. In 2010, she became the first woman and first bipartisan-elected mayor of West Chester. During her time on council and as mayor, she helped guide local, state, national and international organizations and gained a deep and broad knowledge of public policy and governance.
Carolyn began her professional career as a public school teacher and curriculum advisor, developing special and gifted education programs for the Octorara Area School District. She has combined her lifelong passion for teaching and learning with the need to address the climate crisis threatening our planet. Carolyn is an active member of World Information Transfer, a nonprofit United Nations NGO focused on educating people and communities about the connection between our environment and public health. Through her ongoing efforts, she has touched the lives of thousands of young people, opening their eyes and minds to the impacts of the environment on everyday life.
Beyond her legislative work, Carolyn is Vice President of Thomas Comitta Associates, a town planning and landscape architecture firm committed to excellence in planning, design, environmental sustainability, education, and public health.
Carolyn is also actively involved in a number of community efforts, including the Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary Club of West Chester, the League of Women Voters, and has served on various boards at West Chester University, including the Dean’s Advisory Board to its College of Arts and Humanities.
Sally Zubairu-Cofield is the Director, Bureau of WIC, Commonwealth of PA. Previously Sally had been the WIC Program Manager- Prince George’s County Govt., Nutritionist II/Outreach Coordinator- Prince George’s County Govt., Nutritionist Senior with the Virginia Department of Health, Lead Nutritionist at Greater Baden Medical Service Inc., and Nutrition Counselor at Community Clinic Inc.
Zubairu-Cofield received her Bachelor of Science, Nutrition and Food Science/ Dietetics from the University of the District of Columbia, Washington, DC, in 2009. Sally completed her Masters of Public Health, Global and Community Health at George Mason University, in Fairfax, VA in 2014. Proceeding her masters Sally completed a MD/VA WIC Dietetic Internship Program with the Virginia Dept. of Health, Dietetic Internship Program, in Richmond, VA which began her long her long and successful career working for the Bureau of WIC.
Sally is proud to be born and raised in the DMV area (shout out to Prince George’s County, MD). She currently lives in Harrisburg, PA with her three children Malachi (17), Mason (9), Madison (2). Sally is the regions PA WIC Director serving 22 local agencies including Community Action Partner of Lancaster County and the CAP Formula Warehouse Distribution Center.
See More of Sally Zubairu-Cofield’s Schusses as Director of Bureau of WIC
Keila Torres has been a Social Worker for eleven years. She received her Bachelors and
Master’s Degree in Social Work from Millersville University. Keila began her Social Work career as a Therapeutic Support staff at T.W. Ponessa and Associates for five years. Upon graduation from graduate school in 2019, Mrs. Torres worked with Lancaster Lebanon IU13 as a Bilingua School Social Worker for students with multiple disabilities and with pregnant teens in high school through the ELECT program. It was after that, that Keila was hired at Penn Manor School District as their School Social Worker for Secondary Education. She has been working in the district for 5 years. Keila takes great pride in her work but, in her spare time she likes biking and relaxing at home with her 2 dogs.
Joy is a lifelong resident of Lancaster County. She graduated from Hempfield high school and Millersville University before graduating from the University of Pittsburgh with a masters degree in social work and a home and school visitor certificate. She started her career at Red Lion Area School district in 1998. She has worked in the Penn Manor School District as an elementary school social worker since 2003. She resides in West Hempfield Township with her husband, four children, and two dogs. In her free time, she enjoys finding the best ice cream the area has to offer, making homemade pizza, and going to the beach with her family.
Lisette Rivera serves as the Site Coordinator for the Families in Transition Program as well as the Foster Care Point of Contact for the School District of Lancaster (SDOL). She has worked within the School District of Lancaster in many different capacities since 2002 that include a Special Education Teacher, School and Family Engagement Specialist, and a Community School Director, The majority of her professional career however, has been spent working within her community in more of a social work aspect. Lisette received her Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education from Millersville University and her Home/School Visitor Certification along with her Masters of Education from Widener University. Though Lisette is not a graduate from the School District of Lancaster, she has deep roots within the district, as both of her parents are retired school administration from SDOL. Throughout her childhood, she was surrounded and involved within the Lancaster City community and continues to do the work that her parents were involved in. Lisette is resident of Lancaster City and active member in her community
Jennifer M. Frank,
Dr. Jennifer Frank is an associate professor in the Millersville University School of Social Work. Jennifer holds a Phd in Social Work from the Bryn Mawr College Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research. A licensed social worker in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, her research, teaching, and practice interests are in poverty and homelessness. In 2022, Dr. Jennifer Frank was named Social Work Educator of the Year by NASW of Pennsylvania.
Her current research foci include human connection, poverty perceptions, basic needs, and social action. She recently presented her work on social isolation with Dr. Granruth on our local NPR program, Smart Talk. In 2022, they received a PASSHE grant to implement a letter writing project between MSW students and individuals from local agencies that address poverty. The project, Stepping Stones, demonstrated a decrease in loneliness among letter writers and produced a recent publication, “Please Mr. Postman:” Exploring the Use of Letter Writing to Address Loneliness in the Journal of Evidenced-Based Social Work.
Dr. Frank is a research fellow with the Millersville University Center for Public Scholarship and Social Change. Most recently with the Center, Dr. Frank and her team published a community research report about unsheltered homelessness called People & Places: Community Need and the Use of Public Spaces in Binns Park. This report was based on 18 months of local community-based data collection and analysis.
Dr. Frank is active in the community as a founding member and board vice president of the Loft Community Partnership. Dr. Frank is also a board member of the HUB, which operates the Campus Cupboard and Campus Closet offering food and clothing for college students in need.
Marian V Wilson, PhD, Bio
Marian V. Wilson, PhD, is the Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer and Title IX Coordinator at Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology. Marian’s hometown is Williamsport, PA. She went to Bloomsburg University where she completed her bachelor’s and master’s degree in Communications. Marian later earned a PhD from the Pennsylvania State University in Educational Administration in 1995. After earning her doctoral degree, Marian made several stops where her primary responsibilities were organizational development and institutional equity. Her interest and efforts in all the positions she held was to assure fairness and inclusion while assisting students with food insecurity and safety.
After earning her degree at Penn State, Marian made a stop at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College in Ohio for six years. After Cincinnati, Marian moved to Massachusetts for five years to become the Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. She then had an opportunity to move to Washington DC to become the Senior Advisor and Chief of Staff to the President of Howard University. After Howard, Marian moved to Middle Tennessee State University as the Assistant to the President for Institutional Equity and Compliance for nearly seven years before she joined the team at Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology two years ago. Marian currently lives in Lancaster where she has family close by in the Harrisburg area.
Rev. Derek Wadlington has served as the Besch/Clarkson College Chaplain at Wilson College since 2017. One of his responsibilities at Wilson is to oversee Sarah’s Cupboard, the on-campus food pantry established in 2016. During his tenure he has expanded the reach of the Cupboard to provide fresh produce from Wilson’s Fulton Farm, worked with Sage Dining Service to provide food boxes to students who need to stay on campus over breaks when the dining service is closed, and supported various classes to help students engage in work and study around issues related to food security. Derek was active in establishing Shippensburg Produce and Outreach (SPO), a feeding ministry in Shippensburg, PA created to provide fresh, healthy food items to families in need.
Derek, an ordained Minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (USA), holds a BA from Bowdoin College 1990, an MFA in Technical Theatre from Ohio University 1995, and an MDiv from Columbia Theological Seminary 2006. He lives in Harrisburg with his wife, Kim, and has three adult children. He worked with Dr. Mary Beth Williams (VP, Student Affairs, Millersburg) for five years, sharing a passion with her for helping those in need in thoughtful and caring ways.
Mary Beth Williams
Dr. Mary Beth Williams is a passionate student advocate who currently serves at the vice president for student affairs at Millersville University. Originally from Little Rock, Arkansas, Dr. Williams has served in various university leadership roles for over 24 years. She holds a BA in English from Rhodes College, an MS from the University of Memphis, and a PhD from the University of Southern Mississippi.
"I have been serving as the Director of The HUB & Campus Cupboard since 2021. I also serve as a local Pastor in the Millersville area. My passion is serving students both at Millersville University and in the Penn Manor School District. I serve on the Penn Manor Counseling Advisory Board and partner with the Penn Manor School District in helping provide resources to students and families in need. I also oversee numerous other outreach ministries that help provide other resources to students and families including financial assistance, cancer care, mentoring, and other resources. During the summers I lead high school and college students on Wilderness Trips to Maine. These trips help students improve their health mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I see myself serving in my role and in this area for a long time."
Julie Rhoads, Vice President of Health and Nutrition at CAP, provides leadership, vision, and strategic oversight for the Health and Nutrition impact team. The Health and Nutrition impact team includes WIC, SNAP-Ed funded Nutrition Education Program, Senior centers, and the Food Distribution program that serves over 40 partner pantries throughout Lancaster County. She is an proud member of Hunger Free Lancaster Coalition, which is a group of over 40 nonprofits with the mission to build a hunger-free Lancaster County by creating a nutritious, accessible and sustainable food system. Julie holds a Master’s of Social Work degree from Millersville University and has more than 12 years of experience managing nonprofit teams, programs, and grants, including federal grants.
Brad joined Power Packs Project as Executive Director in 2020 and brings 30+ years of nonprofit experience in communications, marketing, public relations and branding to Power Packs. Under Brad’s leadership, Power Packs has forged multiple new relationships with growers, wholesalers and distributors of food, implemented weekly fresh milk distributions, streamlined operations to enable growth, and expanded into a new market (York County). Prior to his time at Power Packs, Brad was VP of Strategic Communications at United Way of Lancaster County. Prior to his time at United Way, Brad was Director of Communications and Marketing at Central Pennsylvania Food Bank.
Brad has a passion for assisting those less fortunate and suffering the indignity of food insecurity. Brad is an active volunteer for a variety of organizations in the area. He graduated from Penn State with a BA in Communications/Broadcasting and resides in Elizabethtown.
Carol Welsh, Ph.D.
Carol Welsh, Ph.D. serves as the Vice President of the Board of Homefields, a nonprofit 501©3 organization and residence for five adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and a 19-acre Organic Care Farm at 150 Letort Road, Millersville. Homefield’s mission is to nurture meaningful experiences that connect people of all abilities to each other and to the land. The Homefields Care Farm seeks to create opportunities for people of all abilities for meaningful employment and volunteer service. Homefields is the longest operating CSA in Lancaster County. Carol works closely with executive committee and the farm team to develop grant submissions to lead the care farm toward sustainable organic agricultural practices and land stewardship while providing meaningful opportunities for employment and volunteer service for the community. Homefields is grateful to receive the Positive Energy Grant and the Community Grant from Millersville in 2023 as well as the Stabler, SARE, NRCS, Sierra Club and Xerces grants to support Homefields mission.
Dr. Welsh retired from Millersville University’s Educational Foundations Department and was Director of the PA Governor’s School for Teaching at Millersville. Carol then became Vice President of Project GRAD USA which supports college access for underserved youth and worked in schools across PA, and nationally in Memphis, Massachusetts and Connecticut. After her second retirement Carol became a juried artist with the PA Council on the Arts working with multiple age groups to provide Nature Journaling experiences. Many of the Experience Homefields events allow her to share and teach Nature Journaling. Carol has been a lifelong Millersville resident and graduate of Millersville University along with four generations of her family.
Karen Rice is Professor and Department Chair within the School of Social Work at Millersville University of PA where she’s been employed since 2006. She is a licensed social worker and obtained her PhD in social work from University of Maryland Baltimore. Her research areas include ADEI, global education, human rights, sustainable development goals, child welfare, and behavioral healthcare.
Location and Parking
Logistic and Venue Details
The Ware Center – Millersville University
42 N. Prince St.
Lancaster, PA 17603
Millersville University's Ware Center is Lancaster’s premier performing arts center. Located on Lancaster’s famous Gallery Row, our mission is to foster creativity, learning, and understanding in our great community.
Parking: Event parking at the Ware Center can be found at the Prince Street Garage (corner of Prince and Orange) or the Hager surface lot, both of which are within a block of our facility.
Food donations will be accepted at this conference. Please feel free to bring items you would like to donate to the campus cupboard. Below you can find a list of the most needed items at this time.
The Campus Cupboard is a food pantry to Millersville University students. The only requirement that is asked of the students utilizing The Campus Cupboard is that they sign in and fill out The Emergency Food Assistance Program ( TEFAP) form.
The Campus Cupboard has a variety of perishable and non- perishable food for students to pick from. The Campus Cupboard Food Pantry serves hundreds of students by providing supplemental food assistance. Ever since 2012 the need for food security among the Millersville University students has increased. The Campus Cupboard meets the students where they are and expands their services as needed by the Millersville students.
Donate today and help feed hundreds of food insecure students at Millersville University.
Follow Link for Tickets
For tickets visit Eventbrite at https://bit.ly/ZERO-HUNGER5-18