From its inception in 1984 as an emergency food pantry with a single location at St. Paul’s Church, the Brookline Food Pantry has grown to meet the increasing need of those in our town who are food insecure. We now serve over 600 households each week at our three locations, as well as an average of 400+ students through our Thrives weekend food program. Our clients represent every age and background, including children and seniors, recent immigrants and longtime residents, the well and the disabled. The Food Pantry has become a key player in our town.
Elizabeth Boen started at the Pantry in 2017 as the Operations Manager, and became Executive Director in 2018. She has a BA from Boston University, and her previous career was in catering and event planning. She has enjoyed engaging with the community by serving as a preschool soccer coach, a Girl Scout Leader, on the Heath PTO, as a Board member for the Brookline Education Foundation, and as a Board Member of the Friends of BHS X Country/ Track and Field. Elizabeth moved to Brookline in 2004, and lives with her husband, daughter and dog Caylee.
Arielle is the Operations Manager at the pantry. She oversees the day to day operations at all three pantry locations, manages the volunteer schedules, and handles client and community relations. Arielle is a Brookline native, an alum of Pierce School and Brookline High. Arielle moved back to Brookline after a number of years in California post college. She has several years of operations experience in the restaurant industry, managing some very well-known restaurants across the country. Arielle is an avid runner and has 17 month old daughter, Regan, who is the pantry mascot!
Kim Kushner has been a longtime volunteer of the Brookline Food Pantry and is the founder of Brookline Thrives, the Pantry’s weekend food program serving students in the Public Schools of Brookline. Kim draws on her years of product and project management consulting to build Thrives. A Massachusetts native, Kim lived in New York and London before moving to Brookline in 2012, almost 20 years after graduating from Boston College. Before getting involved with the Pantry, Kim was on the board of the Brookline Education Foundation, chaired the Brookline Dolphins PAC, and served on many school-related committees. Kim and her husband have two children who attended Runkle School and graduated from Brookline High School.
Sharon Brockmann moved to Brookline in 2015 from Scotland, UK and began volunteering at Runkle School where her two children were enrolled. Sharon was the PTO co-chair, newsletter editor, webmaster, PTO directory coordinator, plus various leadership roles in fund raising activities, school support and school-wide events. Sharon first volunteered with Brookline Thrives in 2019 and is now the incoming Project Manager for Thrives. In her spare time Sharon is the Team Captain for the Brookline Griffin Warriors Catchball team and has a passion for yoga. Before moving to Brookline Sharon worked in the pharmaceutical industry for 15 years, graduating from Strathclyde University with a MSc in Environmental Sciences.
Katie Bacon is a writer and editor, as well as a college consultant and writing specialist for Educational Advocates. She lives with her family in Brookline, and volunteers regularly for the Food Pantry, as well as for Beacon Academy, coaching Greater Boston students through the application process for independent schools as a way to help close the opportunity gap.
Kim Gainsboro Brooks is currently Senior Vice President at People’s United Bank, N.A. She joined the Food Pantry board in 2020 and is part of the Board’s Human Resources Committee. She has a BBA from UMass, Amherst and is a graduate of Suffolk University Law School. She is also on the board of the Dedham Health and Athletic Complex and lives in Chestnut Hill with her family.
Julia Clarkson enjoys contributing her general management and bag packing skills to the Pantry. She is a member of the Admissions Interview Board at Harvard Business School (HBS) and was previously the Executive Director of Community Action Partners, the volunteer consulting program for HBS and Harvard Kennedy School alumni in Greater Boston. She has worked in strategy consulting, marketing and finance and volunteered extensively in her sons’ schools. Julia has an MBA from HBS and a BA from Dartmouth College. She has lived in Brookline with her husband, two sons and dog Teddy for more than 10 years.
Gordon Cromwell and his wife, Wendy, have been involved with the Pantry as donors for many years and for the past five Gordon has volunteered at all the locations and also driven the truck to the Greater Boston Food Bank on occasion. Gordon is retired after a 25 year career in finance in the investment banking and asset management sectors, with the last 10 years as an analyst and investor at The Boston Company. Wendy and Gordon moved to Brookline with their two children in 2006. In addition to the Pantry, Gordon is also on the Board of the Martha’s Vineyard Museum.
Nancy Donahoe joined the BFP board in 2017 and currently serves on its H/R, Governance, and Nominating Committees. She and her family started volunteering for the BFP shortly after moving to Brookline from NYC in 2015. Nancy is a past co-President and volunteer at the Heath School. Nancy’s background is in television and film production. She co-founded the Newport International Film Festival in 1998 and is a co-Founder and current board member of newportFILM in Newport, RI.
Gaëlle From, following her career in finance in France and the UK, moved to Brookline in 2006 with her husband and two sons – both Brookline High Alumni. Gaelle has enjoyed serving her community through volunteering on the PTO and also at the Food Pantry.
Andrew Haber, Board Treasurer
Andrew is president and founder of Synaptic Communications, and has a diverse background in information technology, application development and management. He has over thirty years of experience creating and implementing solutions to business problems in Fortune 500 and privately held companies. Andrew and his wife, Ann, are the owners and founders of Sunshine Academy Early Education Centers. First opened in January 2006, and then expanded to three locations in 2009 and 2012, Sunshine Academy was successfully sold to The Learning Care Group in April 2021 following a 12-month sales process. Mr. Haber was awarded a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in 1989 and a Masters of Business Administration in 1993, both from Boston University.
Mini Kolluri has been a resident of Brookline for the last 16 years, and recently joined the Food Pantry board. Originally a native of Mumbai, Mini moved to NYC to complete her MBA, and worked in the financial services industry. She has been an active volunteer in several local organizations including her neighborhood association, the Brookline Community Foundation, and PTOs at Runkle Elementary and Brookline High School. Mini lives in Brookline with her family which includes her husband, son, who is now at college, and dog.
Susan Martin, Board Chair
Susan Martin’s career spanned several years at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and then transitioned to the high-tech world where she led a small consulting company. Since retiring, she has been on the boards of Climate Action Brookline, Choral Arts New England, and the Metropolitan Chorale (where she is also a long-time singer). She began volunteering at the Food Pantry in 2016, and joined the Board in 2019. She’s lived in Brookline since 1973 and has three grown sons.
Nathaniel Mason grew up in Brookline. His kids also grew up attending the Heath School and Brookline High School. Nathaniel became interested in helping out at the food pantry after his teenage daughter volunteered throughout the Pandemic. Nathaniel has worked in real estate finance for over twenty years. Nathaniel has put his focus and efforts at the Brookline Food Pantry primarily into the Development Committee. He is also on the board of the Brookline Center. He lives in Brookline with his wife, two children and their very friendly dog Zephyr.
Joe Ranft has lived in Brookline for 22 years. He started with the Food Pantry by driving and loading the food truck. His twin sons attended Driscoll School and Brookline High School. He has coached baseball, basketball and soccer in Brookline. He’s a past member of the board of the Brookline Education Foundation and the founding team of the Brookline Teen Center. Joe is VP of Product and Design at Allurion Technologies. He lives in Washington Square with is wife Katie, twin sons Hal and Wes, and their dog Enzo.
Anne Turner, Board Secretary
Anne Turner is a long-time donor and started volunteering at the Pantry during COVID. She knows Brookline well having lived here since the ‘80s and held leadership roles on Extended Day Boards and the Brookline Community Foundation. Professionally she began her career in the financial services sector but transitioned to aid educational nonprofit organizations with strategic planning and development.
Even in Brookline, with one of the highest single home prices in the state, there is hunger. Too many of our neighbors face food insecurity.
In 1984, after some conversation among the Brookline clergy regarding our response to persons with food needs, it was decided to put together a group discussion with clergy, school social workers and front-line Town services. St. Paul’s was suggested for a location and, following Vestry approval, it was established as a de-facto ministry of St. Paul’s and was named the “Brookline Emergency Food Pantry.” Other congregations undertook to collect and deliver canned and dried food and help with promoting the Pantry in the community. In the beginning there were no hours, and no volunteers beyond the rector, secretary and sexton.
In October of 2003, St. Paul’s applied to be a member of the Greater Boston Food Bank and began offering more products and purchasing food to distribute to those in need. In December 2014, the Pantry incorporated as a 501(c)3 and dropped the word “Emergency” from its name as it became a consistent and stable food source for those in need.
At least 11%, or 6,000, Brookline residents live below the poverty level and 24%, or 14,000, face economic insecurity. To meet these needs, the Pantry opened its second site, 55A Egmont Street in May of 2015 and its third site, 226 High Street, in April 2020. Both the Egmont High Street pantries were opened in housing developments and with the partnership of Brookline Housing Authority (BHA). In the summer of 2021, the pantry saw that it had outgrown St. Paul’s and moved to expanded accommodations at United Parish on Harvard Street.
In August of 2018, BFP decided to support and start the Brookline Thrives program, which provides weekend food backpacks for 400+ students each week. The struggle to meet basic needs, including food, has a direct impact on the academic performance of Brookline students. Using a large network of volunteers, Thrives fills the gap where school meals leave off, providing breakfast and lunch over the weekend throughout the school year.
In May 2018 Elizabeth Boen became the Brookline Food Pantry’s full-time Executive Director, succeeding long-time Executive Director Rene Feuerman, who assumed the role of Chairman of the Board of Directors. This represented the first fully paid position for the BFP, and was made possible by the partnership and support of the Brookline Community Foundation and the Hamilton Foundation whose grants fully funded the ED job for its first year. The Pantry now has four full-time staff, supported by a number of part-time staff as well as a cohort of over 150 volunteers. In addition, the Thrives program has a full-time Program Manager supported by 60 volunteers.