Arianna Johnson has served as the Executive Director of the Wood Buffalo Food Bank since April 2011. Arianna feels her work has allowed her the opportunity to learn more about the importance of food security, the desire people have for education about “smart giving”, and the importance of helping others to understand the operation of Food Banks and the role they play. Her work with staff that genuinely cares about the clients has enabled the development of new programs, such as The Basic Shelf and Slow Cooker programs, and the Mobile Pantry Program, among others in the works. Her philosophy as an Executive Director is “Say YES, and figure it out later” this philosophy is often where some of the most amazing and innovative things happen, it is truly amazing what we can do when we say yes. Residing in Fort McMurray since April 2006, Arianna is the proud recipient of many awards and honours, including the 2016 Top 50 under 50 by Your McMurray Magazine, 2012 Woman of Inspiration, and 2013 Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal. She is involved in several volunteer pursuits, including currently serving as a co-vice chair of the Social Recovery Task Force and as Chair of the Food Banks Alberta Board of Directors. Arianna enjoys spending her free time with her husband, step son, family, friends, and their two dogs. Her favourite motto is “GOD GAVE US DREAMS A SIZE TO BIG SO WE COULD GROW INTO THEM.”
Client Services Manager
Dan has served as the Client Services Manager since October 2011. Dan believes his work has allowed him to grow in his career while also developing an understanding of those facing challenges in our community and our country as a whole. He feels his new understanding has enabled him to share his knowledge in his personal networks and impact how others see food banks and their role in their communities. He finds working with clients deeply satisfying, particularly by sharing kindness with those who may feel hopeless, and especially children. He also makes special note of the generosity of the youth in this community who ask for food bank donations at their birthday parties instead of gifts, an act he calls “magical”. Born in Edmonton, and raised in Peterborough ON Dan has been in Fort McMurray for 2009 and was married in March 2013. He previously served on the board for Big Brothers Big Sisters Wood Buffalo and volunteers for KAOS Radio. Dan’s favourite quote (and formula for living) is from Cary Grant: “I get up in the morning and I go to bed at night. In between I occupy myself as best I can”.
Jason is the Wood Buffalo Food Bank Warehouse Manager and has been with the organization since January 2015. Jason believes working at the Food Bank has made him a better person all around. He has always said when you get out of bed in the morning and can’t wait to go to work, that is truly where you wanted to be, and this is how he feels about his role at the Food Bank. He enjoys the company of his fellow coworkers, and finds it quite satisfying to know every day you go to work it is helping more people get something healthy to eat. Married with two children, Jason has been active on several political campaigns. His favourite quote comes from his parents: “Some of the richest people in the world haven’t got a cent”.
Educational Program Manager
Yvonne joined the Wood Buffalo Food Bank in September 2014, and is the Education Program Manager. She facilitates the Basic Shelf and Financial Literacy, and the Slow Cooker programs, and is working on developing other group and individual programs that will assist the WBFB clients in developing skills and social networks. Yvonne is deeply honoured to work for the Food Bank, and believes working for the food bank has impacted her by allowing her to make a positive difference in the community which she now calls home. Facilitating programs such as Basic Shelf and Financial Literacy and Slow Cooker allows Yvonne to make a real difference in the everyday lives of clients. She is able to connect with clients on a deeper level and use her own life experience and education to guide the client towards both financial and food security. She finds the most satisfying thing about working for the food bank is being a part of a team of amazing people, both employees and volunteers, who share a common vision, and goal, to alleviate the very real problem of hunger in our community. Her favourite quote, which she feels really applies to her position, is “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”- Anne Isabella Thackeray Ritchies.
Communications and Development Coordinator
Anna joined the Wood Buffalo Food Bank team in June 2015 as she took on the role of Communications and Development Coordinator. Since that time her work has shown her the need and importance of food security and nutritional knowledge, and has given her the opportunity to feel good about the impact that she makes every day by spreading the information to the community. Having worked in the social profit sector for her entire career so far, she has witnessed such a wide and positive impact it has on the community, and sees it as a great way for everyone to come together to support each other. An avid volunteer, she loves to help others out, experience new things, and meet new people. In her past time she enjoys practising and teaching yoga, exploring nature, and curling up with a good book on those chilly days. Favourite quote: “The more I think it over, the more I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.” – Vincent van Gogh. Anna believes every person you meet has their own incredible story to tell.
Mobile Pantry Coordinator
Mike is the Wood Buffalo Food Bank’s Mobile Pantry Coordinator. He credits his position at the Food Bank with making him feel like he is doing something meaningful and with purpose. Not only is his role a job, but it is also somebody’s next meal. When he wakes up in the morning and gets ready for work, he’s really getting ready to make a difference in someone’s life. He finds satisfaction in the atmosphere with coworkers and the gratitude of the clients with whom he interacts.
Leslie was a volunteer at the Wood Buffalo Food Bank since December 2015, which led her to join the team in the Fall of 2016. Working at the WBFB has affected Leslie in showing her what the community is capable of. She is comforted by the fact that everyone cares about every person regardless of colour and beliefs. Leslie finds it very touching that someone will give a smallest of what they have to share with the people who needs them most, and it inspires her. At the end of the day when she is physically exhausted, she is also emotionally content that she did something, and that she has helped those in the community with food to bring home for their families. “If you don’t like your destiny, don’t accept it ; instead have a courage to change it, the way you want it to be.” – Uzamaki Naruto
Client Intake Worker
Colin joined the team as a Client Intake Worker in October 2015. Colin believes that once an individual dedicates themselves to the betterment of others, they become different. Colin credits his work with the Food Bank as the catalyst of changes that he has experience in wonderful and unexpected ways. By working alongside his new staff team, Colin has grown compassion, empathy, and an unrelenting need to care for this community. The time with clients has given him perspective, patience, and tested his resolve. Colin enjoys learning the stories of the clients; investing in them, and making sure he does everything in his power to ensure that the next time he sees them they are dropping food off, not picking it up. He finds great value in linking clients with other resources that will also help better their future. Favourite quote: “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.” – Ernest Hemingway
Client Intake Worker
Julia joined the Wood Buffalo Food Bank team in April 2016 as a Client Intake Worker. She was born and raised in Fort McMurray, and the constantly changing community is her heartbeat. Through her time at the Wood Buffalo Food Bank, she has gained an invaluably deep understanding of her hometown and the challenges with food security that many residents face. The best part of her work is being able to act on that understanding to make a difference with every appointment she has. What Julia enjoys most is getting to know the unique and diverse lives of each resident she meets. Before working at the Wood Buffalo Food Bank, Julia was a student and research assistant at Keyano College and focused on Anthropology and First Nations History, as well researching the one-of-a kind economic and sociological challenges faced by our region. She also supports our local performing arts community through volunteer work, and is a passionate advocate for the adoption of rescue animals. Julia’s favourite quote is “There is nothing so stable as change.” — Bob Dylan.
Client Intake Worker
Kora has been employed with the Wood Buffalo Food Bank since April 2016. She gets a sense of pride every single day that she can help clients that are finding it hard to keep food on their table. She finds it has been such an incredible change in atmosphere, coming from a retail background to a community-focused one, and the people she gets to work with every day work extremely hard and are genuinely amazing, caring people. Kora is excited to be able to go to her job day to day knowing that it is going to be another great day putting a smile on someone’s face, and provide food for them and their family. Kora says she has never in her life lived in a more giving community. Wood Buffalo residents are always there for every body, no matter race, gender, age or situations one may be in. She is especially heart-warmed by those people who will take to Facebook groups in Fort McMurray to come together to help eachother, even strangers. What she enjoys most about working for the Wood Buffalo Food Bank, is that she can be amazed and inspired by the people in our community every single day, the people willing to help one another. “There are two types of people who will tell you that you cannot make a difference in this world: those who are afraid to try and those who are afraid you will succeed.”