Jennifer Denson, Executive Director
I’m Jennifer Denson. I have lived in Eugene most of my life. I got involved after seeing Facebook request for more volunteers 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. Bonus is I get to share this wonderful project with my brothers Charles and Steve.
Board of Directors
Kathy Calise, President
I live in Eugene with my husband Chris. We first heard about the Burrito Brigade when a group of folks were making burritos out of a house in the Whit and they were looking for donations. We have supported the Burrito Brigade almost from the beginning.. We believe in the mission of the organization and the impact it can and has had on the community. Burrito Brigade brings people together for a better Eugene/Springfield. People helping people.
Liz Hurkes, Vice President
I’ve been in the PNW for 16 years, and am originally from North Dakota. I became a Burrito Brigade dabbler during a time when I was obsessed with burritos and couldn’t believe that there was an organization in Eugene that was obsessed with burritos, too, and in a really great way. I finally became a regular in 2019. Making hundreds of burritos with a group of people is a great social activity, but handing them out with dignity and connecting to the community is even better. And now it’s gone beyond with food rescue efforts and pantries. I’m excited to be here, and to see what is in our future.
Asher Kramerberry, Secretary
I am Asher Kramerberry, a Eugene Oregon native and avid animal lover. I joined Burrito Brigade in 2017 with my family. As a young person, I appreciated that Burrito Brigade valued my participation. I wanted to become involved because I felt that it was important to work towards the changes that I wanted to see in our community, one of which being food insecurity. I think that organizations like Burrito Brigade are fundamental to creating a positive and equitable future by helping to provide those in need with a basic human necessity; food.
Karen Sonntag, Treasurer
I have a deep and passionate belief that delicious, healthy food is a human right. In 2010, I co-founded a non-profit in Norman, Oklahoma called Food for Thought Learning Institute where I taught kids and adults how to make healthy meals at home via our mobile teaching kitchen. I heard about Burrito Brigade from a co-worker prior to moving to Eugene in 2018 and knew it was right up my alley. I volunteer on Sundays making the burrito mix for 400+ burritos. It is a wonderful feeling working together as a group and knowing the impact we have on the community.
As someone who has grown up in Eugene my entire life, I’ve always been surrounded by inspirational people and organizations that encourage fighting for social justice causes. When the pandemic gave me the opportunity to help those in need, I started to volunteer regularly with the weekend Burrito Brigade. Soon after, I spread out to the other branches of Burrito Brigade, and I now focus on the Little Free Pantry project, which is a unique way to both strengthen the community and fight food insecurity. Burrito Brigade has not only given me a wonderful group of people to hang out with every Sunday, but it has also widened my perspective on the many aspects of food insecurity. I am super excited to see what I can do to help and learn.
Eugene has been home to me since 1979 and I can’t imagine living anywhere else. I’ve worked for local government, for myself, in the bicycle industry, and at both the UO and OSU and have volunteered with my neighborhood association, Egan warming center and recycling events. These days, I’m retired from paid work and find myself “working” in the community (and in my garden!). While I’ve been a Burrito Brigade fan for a few years, I’m relatively new to being a volunteer. Waste to Taste is a perfect fit for me. I love the dual purpose we have of rescuing food and feeding people. I’m excited to be a small part of Burrito Brigade’s work, growth and evolution!
I am a new Eugene resident and have been volunteering with Burrito Brigade for a little under a year. I have worked in community mental health and local government agencies for more than 20 years. I love the mission of Burrito Brigade and feel priviledged to be part of such an amazing organization that does so much for the community.
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 Adminstriation 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.