Meals on Wheels Staff-Administration-
Ilsa Svoboda – Executive Director, Ilsa Svoboda is a social worker by training, with extensive experience in nonprofit operations and client services. She most recently served as Director of Social Work Services at the New York MOW program that provides in-home meal delivery, senior center sites, adult day care and other senior services. Ilsa is a trained gerontologist and has worked with the senior population for the past 15 years. She brings many rewarding qualities to the Meals on Wheels of Bennington County program including fundraising, volunteer management, senior programing, and community development. Ilsa has long ties to Bennington County and resides in North Bennington. On her downtime, Ilsa enjoys all aspects of the outdoors, running, hiking, kayaking, and xc skiing.
Vicki Gardner – Assistant, has worked at MOW since 2011. She is that friendly voice that greets everyone on the phone and helps clients who come to the Café. She is responsible for all reporting, client records, and correspondence. She is graduate of Southern Vermont College, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts. Her hobbies include jewelry making, reading, and knitting. Vicki loves animals, and has two dogs and two cats, parakeets, and fish. Previously, she worked at the Humane Society in Menands. “I always worked for nonprofits,” she says. “It feels good to help people who don’t have their basic nutritional needs met. To me the food is important, but I think the visit from the drivers is even more important.” Vicki would like to coordinate a Meals on Wheels for pets, since “I see how much companionship pets provide to the homebound clients.”-Kitchen Staff-
Marin Iwashka – Executive Chef, has been with Bennington County Meals Program for almost 2 years. She is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. Chef Marin as many years experience in preparing creative, low-cost meals for schools and nursing homes. She continues to teach culinary classes at the CDC in the evening. ” I’m excited to be able to use my skills and prepare healthy food for the people that use Meals on Wheels. We have great ingredients to work with!”.
Darlene Lyden – Manchester Kitchen Manager, is responsible for coordinating all the volunteer drivers, and serving the Community Meals at the Manchester Site. Darlene’s friendly nature experience as a waitress make her an easy person to talk to. She specializes in creating soups and vegetarian meals. Darlene became motivated to help elders while taking care of her ailing mother during the last seven months of her life. She believes in the cause of nutrition for the elderly, and she values being part of the MOW team. “It’s a great place to work. We have a lot of fun while helping people.” Darlene delivers meals from time to time; she has seen many situations where Meals on Wheels can help someone remain at home. She states “It’s not welfare, Meals on Wheels is a helping hand.”
Michael Giannini – Lead Cook, has just recently joined the team to advance Bennington County Meals program as the lead cook. Michael has over 10 years of culinary and restaurant experience with the addition of 2 years of culinary schooling. Michael has just moved to Vermont from Rhode Island where he was the head chef at a local to Providence, Rhode Island restaurant and now is wanting to utilize his skills in a way where he can be creative and be helpful to the community.
Luke Shaw – First Cook, has been with Meals on Wheels for a few years now and continues to progress the kitchen with delicious foods and innovative ideas. Luke has been cooking for over 11 years and is happy utilize his skills while helping the elderly and the community he belongs to.
Wendy Lampman – Waitress, has worked for Meals on Wheels for just over a few years and loves interacting with the elderly when taking their orders. She feels that this is a great responsibility to serve the community and the elderly who are in need of young help. Wendy is a joy to be around and feels the same for the seniors she serves.
Brian Seitz – Waiter/Delivery Driver/Dietitian, is a will -do type of guy. He serves as our” roundsman”. His duties include managing special dietary meals, organizing the Home Delivered Meals, delivering meals, picking up donated food, and helping in the cafe. “Every day is different at MOW”, states Brian,” and there are many things that need to be done”.
Ted Dow, Driver Coordinator, has been with the program since its inception – 22 years with Meals on Wheels, following ten years with the Council on Aging. He enjoys visiting with our home-delivered clients, and sometimes takes our mascot Harriet along with him for deliveries. He says that the people he visits become like family to him. Ted’s hobbies include oil painting, hunting and fishing.