While 5Loaves2Fish is powered almost 100% by volunteers (thank you!), we do have two crucial staff members that are paid to keep this very active operation running smoothly and efficiently. Operations Director Emily Kanitz does an incredible job of handling the myriad of end-to-end logistics tied to sustaining a food outreach program. And now Emily has a part-time assistant, Caleb Piersma.
“I see my role as facilitator, ensuring food is getting out the door to our guests and our wonderful volunteers have a sense of purpose and direction,” Caleb says of his new position.
Michelle White, who volunteers along with her husband Bill, explains that Emily and Caleb ensure that “in the event not a single volunteer shows up, the people we have committed to will still get fed — including on holidays!”
We recently caught up with Caleb to find out a bit more about him.
- When did you join 5L2F and what’s your title and role?
I have been a part of the team at 5L2F since mid March and my title is Operations Assistant. I see my role as facilitator, ensuring food is getting out the door to our guests and our wonderful volunteers have a sense of purpose and direction.
- What were you up to before you joined us?
Prior to joining the team I spent a few years traveling abroad on the missions field. My wife and I were blessed to mentor high school and college kids as they took part in service trips. Prior to that I spent a few years working with several nonprofits in Grand Rapids with a focus on fighting food insecurity.
- Where are you from originally, and what led you to a career of service?
I grew up in Grand Haven and I was raised to serve others. My mother has worked for nonprofits all of my life and my grandfather was a pastor. My earliest memory of serving is sorting canned goods at a pantry with my cub scout troop in first grade.
- What has your experience with 5L2F been like so far?
My experience with 5L2F so far has been an absolute blessing. My wife and I have lived on the peninsula for about a year when I joined the team and I was eager for an opportunity to get involved with our community. This opportunity completely aligns with my values and my passion for people and food.
- Anything else you’d like to add?
As I mentioned above my wife Corrie and I have lived in Suttons Bay for a little over a year. We have a two year old puppy named Franklin. Our little family loves being outdoors, biking, hiking, camping, foraging, etc.