Meet Our Staff

Filomena Acevedo, Director of Organizing
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Filomena coordinates the East Harlem and the Bronx Food Action Boards (FABs), which mobilizes low-income community members concerned with hunger and other anti-poverty initiatives in their communities.

She worked for over ten years at the Morrisania Health Center with the City of New York. She also worked at the Department of Refugee and Services, as well as the Immigration and Naturalization Services. She has lived and worked in New Orleans, where she was selected as a Representative of the Children’s Health Insurance for Low Income Children (C.H.I.P) to address the State Legislature in Baton Rouge, which resulted in the children being awarded with health insurance. Filomena studied Sociology at Herbert Lehman College in the Bronx.

Filomena's favorite foods are fresh fruits such as strawberries and blueberries, as she fights everyday for low-income individuals to be able to gain access to affordable, nutritious produce.

Joel Berg, CEO
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Joel Berg is a nationally recognized leader and media spokesman in the fields of domestic hunger, food security, obesity, poverty, food-related economic development, national service, and volunteerism.  He is CEO of Hunger Free America. He is also the author of All You Can Eat: How Hungry Is America? , the definitive and most well-reviewed book on American hunger of the last decade. Seven Stories Press just publish his second book, "America We Need to Talk: a Self Help Book for the Nation." Nobel Prize-winner Toni Morrison called the book important and entertaining.

Since 2001, Berg has led Hunger Free America, formerly known as the New York City Coalition Against Hunger throughout its many successes. Joel has grown the nonprofit into a multi-million-dollar, respected national champion for Americans struggling to obtain nutritious food. Hunger Free America is building a nonpartisan grassroots movement coast-to-coast to enact the economic policies and programs needed to finally solve the problem of domestic hunger. Operating on the philosophy, “Ending hunger lifts us all,” Joel and his team advocate for systemic change across the country, seeking higher wages, more living wage jobs, and a stronger nutrition safety net. The group also manages AmeriCorps*VISTA national service projects in 29 states and the USDA National Hunger Hotline, which provides callers the tools they need to obtain government and private food resources close to home. Joel is recognized as a powerful voice arguing for skilled volunteerism and has led his organization to establish a nationwide volunteer matching website, allowing people to best use their special skills like accounting, web design, or fundraising to help local soup kitchens and food pantries beyond packing cans or serving food.

Prior to his work with the Hunger Free America, Berg served for eight years in the Clinton Administration in senior executive service positions at USDA. For two years, he acted as USDA Coordinator of Community Food Security, a new position in which he created and implemented the first-ever federal initiative to better enable faith-based and other nonprofit groups to fight hunger, bolster food security, and help low-income Americans move out of poverty.

In addition, Berg worked as USDA Coordinator of Food Recovery and Gleaning for two years, working with community groups to increase the amount of food recovered, gleaned, and distributed to hungry Americans. Also while at USDA, he served as Director of National Service, Director of Public Liaison, and as acting Director of Public Affairs and Press Secretary. From 1989 to 1993, he served as a policy analyst for the Progressive Policy Institute and as a domestic policy staff member for then President-elect Bill Clinton’s transition team.

Berg has been published widely on the topics of hunger, national and community service, and grassroots community partnerships. These include recent papers on what President Obama can do to improve hunger metrics in the United States and other papers on childhood hunger and poverty, obesity, and practical solutions to end hunger when he was a Senior Fellow for the Center for American Progress.  He has also published papers on creating food jobs and other topics for the Progressive Policy Institute.

A native of Rockland County, NY, and a graduate of Columbia University, Berg now resides in Brooklyn. He is the past winner of the US Secretary of Agriculture’s Honor Award for Superior Service (one of the Department’s highest honors) and the Congressional Hunger Center’s Mickey Leland National Hunger Fighter Award. Joel also serves on the board of the Human Services Council.

Joel's desert island food: dumplings! "Properly prepared and cooked, Chinese pan-fried dumplings (known on the U.S. west coast as pot stickers) are crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, the perfect combination of textures. To eat them properly, you need to cover them with a mix of soy sauce, chili paste, and vinegar, which turns them from ultra-delightful to ultra-even more delightful." -Joel Berg

Charlene Caceres, Manager, National Hunger Clearinghouse and Hotline
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Charlene joined the Hunger Free America team in December 2014, where she serves as a Program Coordinator for the USDA National Hunger Hotline. Charlene is responsible for collecting and disseminating information about federal nutrition programs, emergency food providers, and public and private programs that improve the lives of low-income individuals and families contacting the Hotline. Prior to joining the NYCCAH team, Charlene was an Office Manager at Premier Health Care (YAI), a nonprofit organization that specializes in medical services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Charlene graduated from Kaplan University with a degree in Human Services Administration and is currently a member of Toast Masters International Club. Charlene’s goal is to utilize her leadership skills and abilities in order to provide services to individuals and families in need.

Charlene's favorite food are strawberries, "Because they are great low calorie snack and they are super yummy"

Benson Chan, Program Manager, Start By Asking Campaign
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Benson worked for the Chinese American Planning Council's (CPC) Chung Pak Day Care Center for 11 years as an Educator that provided Early Education for low income families from Manhattan's Chinatown. When Hurricane Sandy hit, he wanted to do more for the residents of Chinatown. He joined University Settlement's Project Hope as a Crisis Counselor immediately after the storm. He provided immediate Crisis Counseling to individuals affected by Sandy utilizing Skills for Psychological Recovery (SPR) to help them recover and become more resilient when faced with crises. He also connected residents to their neighbors in order to build a stronger sense of community while assisting them in accessing disaster related services such as long term counseling, Disaster SNAP benefits, and applying for FEMA assistance.

Benson's favorite food: Spaghetti and Meatballs! "It's a simple food that you can make very elegant with everyday ingredients, making it a very versatile dish. Growing up this was one of my favorite dishes that my grandma made for me as a child."

Sheila Ramos-Corrales, Benefits Access Specialist
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Sheila works on Hunger Free America’s Nutritional Outreach Education Project (NOEP) and visits farmer's markets, Bronx supermarkets, and community based organizations to prescreen clients for food stamp eligibility. She also assists clients with electronic food stamp applications and re-certifications as part of HFA's Paperless Office System (POS) and Recertification Improvement Project (RIP).

Sheila attended Bronx Community College and Lehman College for Business Administration. She has worked for over 20 years in the nonprofit sector, providing social services to the East Harlem community. Prior to working at NYCCAH, she worked at the Yorkville Common Pantry doing Single Stop services and administrative / secretarial duties for the Executive Director and Board of Directors.

Sheila's favorite food? Rice and beans with spaghetti squash and edamame instead of steak. "I come to work everyday as a Benefits Specialist. I prescreen people for SNAP benefits; and help them with the process to maintain their benefits. By helping clients along the way, they are able to afford to purchase and enjoy their favorite foods."

Miguelina Diaz, Director of Benefits Access
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Miguelina is part of the Benefit Access Team in NYCCAH. She dedicates the majority of her time to helping clients successfully complete the process of applying and recertifying for SNAP / Food Stamps benefits, ensuring that the correct amount of benefits are received in a timely manner. She also conducts outreach and pre-screenings at community-based locations, informing people of their potential eligibility for SNAP benefits.

Miguelina received her B.S. in Accounting from Hunter College. Prior to working at NYCCAH, she worked for the NYC Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene as a program assistant in an effort to increase healthier food access in corner stores. This included encouraging residents to demand healthier food in low income neighborhoods throughout the South Bronx and in East and Central Harlem.

Favorite Food: Pickles! "I selected Pickles because it’s a food I’ve enjoyed eating since I was a really young. As a child I was a very picky eater, however anytime  my mom mentioned pickles I was the first in line. Eating pickles reminds me of how much I’ve grown to liking different food."

Victoria Dumbuya, Director of the National AmeriCorps Anti-Hunger and Opportunity Corps VISTA Program
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Victoria Dumbuya manages Hunger Free America’s AmeriCorps*State program. In this capacity, she is responsible for managing the program, which places 26 full- and part-time members at soup kitchens, food pantries, and anti-poverty organizations throughout New York City. She joined the Coalition in Fall 2006.

A graduate of Rutgers University, Victoria previously served as an AmeriCorps national service Team and Service Leader at Hands on Atlanta, a non-profit that coordinates tens of thousands of volunteers with service opportunities in over 400 organizations and schools throughout Atlanta, Georgia.

Vicky's favorite food: Baked Ziti!

Denise Fernandez, NOEP Program Coordinator
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Denise is a member of Hunger Free America's Nutrition Outreach and Education Program (NOEP) staff. NOEP offers free and confidential services to connect hungry New Yorkers with nutrition assistance programs, especially food stamps. In an effort to reach eligible NYC residents, Denise travels through out the city to educate the diverse communities about ways to apply for and receive food stamps.

Denise graduated from Skidmore College with a major in Government and a minor in International Affairs. She worked in the private sector for 3 years before joining Hunger Free America's Benefits Access team.

Denise's favorite food: Chocolate!  "Because it's so easy to share with others…or not :)"

Kristian Harrington-Colón, Manager for Institutional Giving and Evaluation
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Kristian joined the then-New York City Coalition Against Hunger as a VISTA in 2010 and served his term of service supporting fundraising efforts. While continuing to support fundraising he took on the primary responsibility of updating and producing NYCCAH's Neighborhood Guides to Food and Assistance, expanding them to cover the entire city. Now his responsibilities are focused on managing HFA's grants and contracts as well as helping to track information of all kinds as HFA's Manager for Institutional Giving and Evaluation. Kristian is bilingual English-Spanish and occasionally assists with translations of materials. He grew up in Bangkok and Mexico City and earned a double degree in international relations and Spanish-language literature from Brown University.

Kristian's favorite food: arroz con gandules (rice and pigeon peas) "I've adjusted the recipe a little to be vegetarian but mostly-traditional arroz con gandules (rice and pigeon peas) is still definitely comfort food - and pretty good for you too."

Fabio Martinez, Benefits Access Specialist
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Fabio meets with clients at our community-based host agencies to submit electronic food stamps applications and recertifications on their behalf, utilizing the Paperless Office System (POS). He is also the lead trainer for new staff utilizing this process. Fabio has been with Hunger Free New York City in this capacity for four years. Prior to joining HFNYC, Fabio worked with a non-profit agency in the Bronx, where he managed a food pantry and soup kitchen and performed other administrative functions.

Fabio's favorite food? Pizza!

Joyce Parr, Accounting Associate
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Joyce currently serves Hunger Free America as an Accountanting Associate. In her role she supports finance team by orgnanizing staff benefits, coordinating time sheets, as well as general administrative and bookkeeping tasks.

Joyce has more than 30 plus years in the nonprofit sector. Prior to working for Hunger Free America, Joyce worked at the Studio Museum in Harlem as the controller. Since retiring from there in 2004, she has continued to work as a part time accountant/consultant for various nonprofits. She is a graduate of Bernard Baruch College with a dual degree in accounting and business management.

Although, Joyce does not have a “food advocacy/public service” background she brings a commitment to serve “the least of these”. She has always been active in her community, church, and church pantry. Influenced by her “call” to serve she returned to school. She subsequently, earned a Certificate in Christian Ministry, a Master in Divinity, and a Master in Pastoral Care and Counseling from New York Theological Seminary. She is a licensed minister and chaplain.

Two of the many other “hats” that Joyce wears, is that of a dancer and professional storyteller.

Joyce's favorite food? Classic pepperoni pizza!

Maria Remache, Benefits Access Specialist
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Maria was born and raised in Ecuador. Since coming to the US, she attended Borough of Manhattan Community College and has worked for 11 years for different nonprofit organizations, including Sunnyside Community Services and Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty. Most of her experience has involved helping eligible NYC residents access the SNAP (food stamps) program. Maria joined Hunger Free America in December 2013 and provides SNAP pre-screening and application assistance from several host locations in Queens.

Maria's Favorite Food: Grapefruit!

Eugenia Salgado, Benefits Access Specialist
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Eugenia, born and raised in Mexico City, joined Hunger Free NYC in April 2017 as a Benefits Specialist. She assists individuals and families with submitting SNAP applications and recertifications, primarily from several community-based host locations in Queens. Previously, she worked with a non-profit that assisted low-income families with filing their tax returns, and she also held a clerical position at Baruch College. Eugenia enjoys the opportunity to help low-income working families access SNAP benefits since this helps them afford more nutritious foods for a healthier diet.

Cherries are her favorite food because they have such a sweet flavor and are full of antioxidants and fiber.

David Stillman, Manager of Child Nutrition Policy and Programs
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David Stillman serves as the Manager of Child Nutrition Policy and Programs for Hunger Free America.  He supervises our three Child Nutrition Engagement VISTAs in Los Angeles, Illinois, and Tallahassee as well as the ten Summer Associates working here in New York City. 

Before coming to Hunger Free America, David served as a Capacity Building VISTA for Northern Illinois Food Bank where he consulted for food pantries on various projects.  He helped food pantries with fundraising, board development, disaster preparation, and technology implementation.  For college, David studied Environmental Science at Northwestern University where he became enamored with fixing the current food system and providing healthier options for low-income areas. 

When David is not working he enjoys trying as many restaurants as he can, with no food being off-limits.  After living in the Midwest for five years, he loves experiencing the amazing food scene here in Manhattan.  He loves the inexpensive dumplings found throughout China town, and Kossar's Bagels and Bialy's is his number one bagel spot. 

His favorite food is a poppy seed bagel with egg salad.  His grandmother used to make them for him when he was younger, and he loves their silky texture.  If you can, try and get one on a freshly baked bagel that is still warm when you take the first bite. 

Jim Wengler, Senior Program Manager, Benefits Access

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Jim has been with Hunger Free America since 2003, and currently serves as Director of Benefits Access.  He manages projects that help connect low-income New Yorkers with the public nutrition benefits available to them, with a particular emphasis on SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). Jim is a graduate of Rutgers University and has 20 years of experience in the social services field, previously working with agencies serving those affected by HIV/AIDS. He also spent a year in Nicaragua as a volunteer for an organization that served impoverished and orphaned children.

Jim's Favorite Food: Bananas and Peanut Butter! Because it's fast, healthy, and a great source of protein.

Stephanie Wu Winter, Director of Strategic Volunteer Initiatives
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Stephanie recently joined Hunger Free America as the Director of Strategic Volunteer Initiatives. She is tasked with continuing to strengthen HFA’s national volunteer program, Ending Hunger through Citizen Service, which seeks to move volunteers beyond food drives and holiday time physical service in order to engage in more focused and effective activities to increase participation in federal nutrition assistance programs (such as SNAP and the School Breakfast Program) and activities to advocate with elected officials to improve government anti-hunger and anti-poverty policies.

Stephanie brings to the role a lifetime of experience as a volunteer herself, giving her a distinct outlook. From her teen years volunteering at a children’s museum to years of corporate volunteerism leadership, volunteering has always been a part of her life. She was inspired by the HFA mission to go beyond her own volunteerism efforts and join the anti-hunger movement in a more meaningful and long-term way.

Prior to joining HFA, Stephanie spent more than a dozen years in the financial services sector, working in project management, communications, and client services. Stephanie studied public relations at Syracuse University.

A native New Yorker, who has lived in all five boroughs, if you count summers at Yankee Stadium, Stephanie enjoys traveling and experiencing culture through food.

Stephanie’s favorite food is noodles. From hand-pulled noodles to pasta, spätzle to noodle kugel, macaroni and cheese to spiralized veggie noodles, all are equally delicious.