Bill Pursell: Board Chair
One of the goals instilled in me by my parents and community, was to leave this place in a better condition than you found it. My involvement with Master’s Manna is a small attempt to reach for that mark. The mission at Master’s Manna is to alleviate food insecurity from the list of monthly issues that people face. Fortunately, we live in a land of plenty, so our daily task is to reclaim the excess and quickly turn it around to those in need. The fundamental belief at Master’s Manna can be summed up straightforwardly by stating, “Food is not an option.”
Ian Brooks: Board Vice Chair
Ian was raised in the United Kingdom and came to the USA in 1978 after serving as a residential Social Worker in Edinburgh. With his wife, Beth, they are both very active in Wallingford, North Haven and New Haven helping residents access the basic needs of daily life.
Working in semi-retirement, with all three children launched in their lives and careers, Ian presently serves on the Boards of Master’s Manna, Inc., Community Mediation and the local Toastmasters chapter. He particularly enjoys making connections between people and organizations that are mutually beneficial.
Upon his first visit to Master’s Manna, Ian was cautioned that “when you enter the third time you are addicted”. That first visit occurred in 2013. Ian possesses a natural ability to speak with people, make them feel comfortable and deduce where they may volunteer. Ian likes to see accomplishments.
Elizabeth “Liz” Gagliardi: Board Treasurer
Liz was born and raised in Wallingford and educated in local schools. She and her husband, Jim, chose to raise their family, a daughter and two sons, in Wallingford as well. Liz holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing with 35 years of experience in local hospitals and currently serving as a substitute school nurse for the Wallingford Board of Education.
After obtaining certification from the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference in Track and Field, Liz coached middle and distance runners at Dag Hammarskjold Middle School, Sacred Heart Academy and Mark T Sheehan High School for a total of 18 years. Liz presently serves on the Board of the Wallingford Historical Society.
Liz looks forward to bringing ideas to Master’s Manna, Inc., after being closely involved with Gaylord’s non-profit EBG Fund for MS. After learning about Master’s Manna through a friend, Liz toured the facility and thought it would be a fantastic opportunity to be in service with and for such a remarkable Community of people.
Gail Powell: Board Director of Administrative Services
As an active member of the Yalesville United Methodist Church, one of Master’s Manna’s first partners, Gail had long been acquainted with both the needs and accomplishments at Master’s Manna. She witnessed its “growth” from a church basement on Parker Farms Road in Wallingford to its present location.
In most cases, growth of an entity is a good thing. However, in this case, Gail perceived this growth trend at Master’s Manna as a disturbing indicator that many in our community are unable to attain basic human needs and struggle with food insecurity.
We are told “to love our neighbor – as ourselves.” The great commandment provided the motivation for Gail to accept an invitation to join the Board of Directors. The Mission Statement of Master’s Manna is in synergy with Gail’s core belief that every person has (not only) an inherent ability – but also the responsibility – to make a difference.
We abide in community specially purposed to help and encourage one another. At Master’s Manna, Board Members, Staff, Volunteers and the community of donors endeavor to improve the quality of life for those in need by “Building a Stronger Community ~ Together.”
Ray Demers: Board Secretary
Ray has been a lifelong volunteer working with many organizations to give back to the community. He was first exposed to the essential services that Master’s Manna provides when he was a Boy Scout leader and brought Scouts in to volunteer. When Ray retired in 2015, it was the first place he thought of to volunteer.
Ray has found volunteering at Master’s Manna to be a very rewarding and an amazing experience. He learned that helping alleviate food insecurity for families is not the only service we provide. Giving a friendly smile and partaking in small talk may help someone make it through the day.
Ray has great respect for the Volunteers, Staff, and Board members at Master’s Manna. The Master’s Manna team really cares about the communities and families we serve, treats everyone with respect, and provides additional support whenever possible.
Ray will continue his service as a volunteer in the food pantry. He also looks forward to his new role as a Board Member to help build upon the essential services that Master’s Manna has provided to the community.
Jeanette Bronsord: Board Director & Past Chair
Jeannette Bronsord, Director of Surgical Services, Yale New Haven Hospital followed Master’s Manna for several years as the organization grew to meet an increasing need for services in Wallingford, Meriden and surrounding areas. As a lifelong resident of Meriden and Wallingford, becoming a member of the Board of Directors at Master’s Manna provided an opportunity to contribute to the community in a meaningful way. Jeannette states, “The philosophy for providing services such as food, clothing, and meals with respect, preserving the dignity of persons served is consistent with my own personal values. I believe this experience will enrich me as a leader and most importantly as a person.”
William Barnes: Board Director & Historian
William “Bill” Barnes was introduced to Master’s Manna after reading an article in the paper about a new food pantry in Wallingford. Like many people he did not realize there was a need in this town for such a service, and quickly learned differently.
“Food is a basic necessity for life, and I am thankful to be able to help feed people in need. In my involvement with Master’s Manna, I have received far more than I have given by knowing that people are being helped” states Bill. Bill has been involved with Master’s Manna since 2007.
Bill is a hometown person who grew up in Wallingford, is married to his wife, Kathy, and works for Spectra Energy.
Robert McKenzie: Board Director
Over many years, I have been actively involved in several business and community organizations. After a friend told me about Master’s Manna, I stopped in, received a tour and decided this was a non-profit where I could volunteer effectively. I strongly believe in the mission at Master Manna. After visiting a Board Meeting, I was pleased to join the Master’s Manna Board of Directors. The vast amount of Marketing experience gained from my work and other volunteer activities can help me to make a positive impact as a Director. My experience and love of interacting with people will help to provide some of the basic needs of the organization. I believe I can help Master’s Manna grow develop a network of support.
Randall Pelletier: Board Director
Randall Pelletier began volunteering at the beginning of the 2020 pandemic and became instantly connected with the mission of Master’s Manna. Growing up in Wallingford, Randall has a deep connection with the people in the community. He connected with a member from Master’s Manna and wanted to help out because of the increased need for volunteers at the food pantry during the pandemic. In Randall’s previous life as a probation officer, he volunteered his time with various community programs in the Naugatuck Valley area.
Volunteering at Master’s Manna has given me the ability to give back to the community that had supported me when I was growing up in Wallingford. As a volunteer I played different roles at the food pantry as needed. In my new role as a Board Member, I want to continue to help and build upon the great work that Master’s Manna has provided to the community.
Randall grew up in Wallingford and is married to his wife Kerry, they have two adult daughters. After retiring as a probation officer from the State of CT, Randall is currently a licensed insurance producer with Wentworth-DeAngelis Insurance.
Bill Pappas was the President and CEO of Fosdick Fulfillment and specifically well acquainted with the non-profit world of the greater Wallingford Meriden area having served on several other non-profit boards. Building collaborative partnerships was one of Bill’s strengths. When Bill was first introduced to Master’s Manna a few years ago he stated that “Master’s Manna is the best kept secret in Wallingford”. Along with an understanding of and commitment to the mission of Master’s Manna Bill brought a willingness and know-how to “leak the secret” and poise this organization for continued growth and success. Bill’s passion and personal belief was that “Food is not an option.” Master’s Manna, Inc. has been saddened by the loss of his presence, sage advice and guidance. Bill Pappas’s life was a light in the world and a gift to Master’s Manna, along with several other non-profits, to which he held a lasting commitment. The Board of Directors, Staff and Volunteers all agree to perpetually keep the memory of Bill’s passion alive in every way possible at Master’s Manna, Inc. and at the Food Pantry that now bears the name: “Pappas Family Food Pantry”.