Staff & Board of Directors

Staff

 

Executive Director, Jennifer Denson smiles at the camera. She has short, dark hair, and is wearing a purple shirt with the words "Burrito Brigade" in white print, with the logo. She stands against a sage green background.
Jennifer Denson, Executive Director of Burrito Brigade

Jennifer Denson

Executive Director

I’m Jennifer Denson, Executive Director of Burrito Brigade. I have lived in Eugene most of my life. I got involved with this project after seeing a Facebook request for more volunteers, back when Burrito Brigade was in a home in the Whit (June 2014). I have always wanted to help others and this is a great way to give back. I’m passionate about helping feed my community while reducing waste. When I’m not working on Burrito Brigade projects, I love visiting the Oregon Coast with my dog, Molly, hanging out with friends and family, and traveling.

 

 

 

Maya Herb

Program Coordinator, Waste to Taste

 

 

 

Ash Martins

Outreach Coordinator & Administrative Specialist, Burrito Brigade 

Ash began volunteering at Waste to Taste in the spring of 2022, with a drive for community-based work that targets equity, food justice, and environmental stewardship. After overhearing Jen’s call for help with a spreadsheet while volunteering one day, Ash eagerly responded, and the rest is history! Now, Ash is the resident data[base] devotee who is passionate about mixed methods research approaches to understanding human problems and finding human solutions. Having majored in Sociology at the University of Oregon, Ash gets excited about the beauty of data, the stories it can tell, and the difference it can make in communities. Beyond Burrito Brigade, Ash teaches Empowerment Self Defense workshops at the University of Oregon. Ash is also the resident taste tester for new recipes in the Burrito Brigade kitchen. 

 

 

Ruin TC

Kitchen Coordinator, Weekend Burrito Brigade

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

Board of Directors

 

Kathy Calise

President

Kathy Calise, along with her husband Chris, have been Burrito Brigade supporters since its inception when Burrito Brigade was a small group of folks making burritos out of a house in the Whitaker neighborhood. Kathy is retired from Lane Community College and throughout her 22 year career, supported students in transforming their lives through education. Kathy has a Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Leadership and Masters in Business Administration. She was a Public Member for eight years on the Oregon Board of Massage Therapists serving for two years as its Board Chair. As the Board President for the Oregon Association of Community and Continuing Education, Kathy led a work group to successfully pass the Non-Credit Training Certificate through the Oregon Legislature in 2015. Kathy believes that a Community is better when we all work for the common well being of each other.

 

 

Barbara Berkley

Member-at-Large

I’m a retired 4J teacher, and I’ve lived in Eugene since the late 1970’s after moving here from from Springfield, Massachusetts where I grew up. My daughter Sarah is a teacher in Seattle. I’ve been volunteering in the Waste to Taste store during customer hours since fall 2021, and I love my time there including all of the connections I’ve made with other Burrito Brigade folks and customers. I’m passionate about Burrito Brigade’s mission and excited to have recently joined the board. I also volunteer as a CASA with CASA of Lane County, and I love to read, play card and board games, swim, spend time in nature, hang out with friends (and their grandbabies), and watch women’s basketball. Go Ducks!

 

 

Lynn Huynh 

Member-at-Large

Whenever I move to a new city I always look for ways to give back. As a university staff member in a position that has a high attrition rate it’s important to me to know about concerns happening beyond the campus. Just because I might be a resident of a community for one year doesn’t mean I shouldn’t care about what’s happening around me. That’s something I hope to role model to the students that I work with. I hold a Master in Educational Administration with a specialization in Student Affairs. I have seen the growing trend of houseless college students and what food insecurity looks like in my role, and see the support provided from the university, but know this is an ever changing and growing concern in the community. I started volunteering with Burrito Brigade in June 2020 on Saturdays.

 

 

Jacque Klaus

Member-at-Large

I have lived in Eugene since 1995. I love gardening, dancing and coastal adventures. Since retiring in 2016, I look for ways to contribute back to our community. Burrito Brigade does amazing things for Eugene and its residents. Food insecurity is a huge issue for many in Eugene. I am honored to join the board of this grassroots organization.

 

 

Petra Shenk

Member-at-Large

Dr. Petra Shenk is a Pacific Northwesterner, originally from a small town in central Washington State, and has lived in Eugene, Oregon for 21 years. She is a sociocultural linguist by training and an academic editor by trade. Petra also volunteers for Burrito Brigade’s Waste to Taste project. Her childhood home in the 1970s and 80s relied on food stamps, food banks, government cheese, and welfare checks. Thus, as an adult, she advocates for a strong social welfare system that prioritizes basic human needs like nutritious food and safe housing.

 

 

Debbie Williamson-Smith

Member-at-Large

For over two years, Debbie Williamson-Smith has been a Little Free Pantry host at a very busy downtown location. Seeing the work Burrito Brigade does inspired her to join the board. Williamson-Smith works at the University of Oregon’s Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art and is a passionate arts advocate. She is the past Chair of the City of Eugene’s Public Art Commission where she served for six years. She frequently leads mural tours throughout Eugene and was the Director of Communications for the 20×21 Eugene Mural Project, an initiative that created over 40 new works of art in the community. In her free time, she is Very Old SLUG Queen Holly GoSlugly.

 

 

 

 

 


 

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