55 YEARS OF HELPING OUR NEIGHBORS

Our mission: Common Pantry meets the emergency needs of our local community by providing healthy food, kinship and support to help overcome poverty-related challenges.

Our vision: Strengthen Common Pantry’s capacity to provide food and services for the overall well-being of our clients. We take a strategic, forward-thinking approach to reduce hunger and address the root causes of poverty, infusing compassion into everything we do.

STAFF AND BOARD

Margaret O’Conor (Executive Director)

Margaret comes to Common Pantry after serving as development director of the Greater Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce and Community Council. O’Conor has also served as a volunteer leader in several local organizations including the Chicago Park District, the Friends of Amundsen High School, and the Chase Park Advisory Council.

While at the Greater Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce, O’Conor worked to grow the organization’s member base and acted as lead event organizer for its annual fundraiser, Taste of Ravenswood. Her achievements also included advocating, connecting, and growing small businesses in Ravenswood.

“Margaret O’Conor is an established community leader with a passion for social work and the nonprofit sector,” said Common Pantry board president Anne Zender. “She has a strong track record of fund-raising and working with volunteers to support the missions of the organizations she served. The Common Pantry board of directors sought an executive director to provide vision, creativity, and compassion in managing the organization, and we look forward to moving forward with Margaret as the face of Common Pantry in the community.”

She has a master’s degree in social service administration from the University of Chicago and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the College of Santa Fe in Santa Fe, NM.

Abby Greaney (Common Community Programs Manager)

Abby started as the Common Community Program Manager in October 2019. She previously worked as a Pantry Coordinator at Lakeview Pantry and completed graduate level internships with the Cook County Circuit Court Social Service Department and Chicago Child Care Society. Abby has over five years of experience working in social services, focused on case management, workforce development, and food insecurity.

Abby holds a master’s degree in social work from the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago with a focus on clinical services and a bachelor’s degree in education from Valparaiso University. Her social work interests include trauma-informed care, crisis intervention, values based therapies, and mindfulness practice.

Isabel Markowski (Food Programs Manager)

Isabel joined Common Pantry as the Operations Coordinator after completing her dietetic internship at Edward Hines, Jr. Veterans Affairs Hospital and obtaining her credential as a registered dietitian nutritionist. Before coming to Chicago, Isabel was heavily involved with the Slow Food movement in promoting “good, clean, fair food for all” at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she graduated with a degree in nutrition and environmental studies. Isabel has also worked on multiple farms, including a chili pepper farm and product business, and is motivated to work within all aspects of the food system as she loves agriculture, cooking, sustainability, and sharing food with others.

Laine Kaehler (Development and Communications Coordinator)

Laine joins Common Pantry as the Development and Communications Coordinator. Prior to the Pantry, Laine worked for a Meals on Wheels Chapter in Northern Illinois, coordinating the delivery of daily meals for homebound seniors. She has always been passionate about helping others and doing more in her community but her motivation to fight food insecurity began in college. While at Northwestern University, where she received her bachelors in Learning and Organizational Change and obtained a Leadership Certificate, Laine was involved in Campus Kitchen, an organization dedicated to eliminating food waste and food insecurity in the local community.

Carlos Reyes (Operations Specialist)

Carlos started at Common Pantry in 2010 as our first Operations Assistant. Born and raised in Chicago, He loves two things with a passion…the Cubbies and cheeseburgers. He rarely misses a day of work and counts Common Pantry as a “second home”. He is one of the most thoughtful people and doesn’t miss a chance to celebrate a holiday by buying themed tshirts for staff or bringing in donuts for all! Carlos lives in Roscoe Village and enjoys spending time with his family (if he’s not at a Cubs game).

Shea Leibow (Community and Operations Coordinator)

Prior to Common Pantry, they worked as a National Organizer with CODEPINK and supported volunteers and community groups advocating for peace and community investment. They have also been involved in food systems work, including helping run a bike-powered food rescue program, pushing for better institutional food purchasing policies, and working on several farms. Shea graduated from Smith College with a degree in Environmental Science & Policy and Gender Studies and sees their work towards food access, peace, and sustainability as fundamentally intertwined.

Lindsey Weston (Operations Assistant)

Lindsey joins Common Pantry as the Operations Assistant following a position supporting increased food access to individuals in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago. Lindsey graduated with her masters degree in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania in 2020 after previously working in food access and broader social services in Philadelphia, Tucson and St. Louis for several years. Lindsey lives in Roscoe Village where she loves to board (and cuddle) dogs in her spare time.

Charles Herrig (Board President)

Charles began working with Common Pantry in Summer of 2017 volunteering in evening food distribution, providing translation service, and working with clients. He has over 10 years of experience in food manufacturing, first managing operations at Good Foods Group based out of Chicago and currently manages fruit procurement for Zentis North America. Charles has a BS and MS in accounting from Northeastern Illinois University. In addition to his work at Common Pantry he is a member of the Emerging Leaders Auxiliary Board at Casa Central.

Amy Pagliarella (Board Vice President)

Amy is a Presbyterian Minister — as “Free Range Pastor”, she serves a variety of churches and organizations as retreat leader, leader of “spiritual parenting” gatherings, preacher, and consultant. Amy is a co-founder/moderator of “Common Kids,” which provides opportunities for parents and children to volunteer together at the Pantry, as children grow in compassion and their understanding of food insecurity. She has two sons who attend Rogers Park Montessori School, where Amy enjoys leading children to make and serve lunch at the pantry each month.

Beth Benjamin (Financial Secretary)

Beth has lived in the North Center community for more than nine years. She is a recently retired attorney who is excited that she now has more time to help others by volunteering and serving on the board of Common Pantry and other not for profit organizations. She volunteers at the pantry on Produce Days and assists with various issues. Beth also serves on the boards of Friends of Amundsen and Erie Neighborhood House and is a volunteer at the Chicago History Museum.

Chris Landgraff (Secretary)

Chris has lived in Lincoln Square and North Center for over 20 years. He is a partner at Bartlit Beck and has served on the boards of Rogers Park Montessori School and About Face Theatre. He is a full-fledged music fan and a fair-weather sports fan.

David Camp (Treasurer)

David has called Chicago home for over a decade and currently resides in the Ravenswood Manor community. He is originally from Michigan where he attended Western Michigan University majoring in finance. David has spent the last 15 years working in banking and is currently a loan officer with CrossCountry Mortgage.

David has always been passionate about being active in the community and has focused his volunteer efforts on housing and food insecurity, financial education and the environment. David is the past Chair of the Lincoln Park Community Services Associate Board, past President of the Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce and past Vice-Chair of Math at No Cost. He also volunteers with Inspiring Connections Outdoors (Sierra Club), Junior Achievement and the Lakeview Roscoe Village Chamber of Commerce.

Brittany Barson (Director)

Brittany has lived in the community her entire life. Her whole career has been in restaurants and hospitality so she understands how important it is for people to have healthy, delicious food readily available. Currently she works for Educational Advantage, Inc. which, in part, works with the Chicago Housing Authority to train and help CHA residents obtain and retain jobs in the hospitality field.

Stephanie Willis-Bonner (Director)

Stephanie is a veteran of the U.S. Army. She served 4 and ½ years (active) and 4 years as an active Reservist, where she was a Supply Specialist and Military Police. She has been with CNA Financial for over 25 years working in Case Management, Claims Operations Support and Human Resources

She loves to volunteer and has participated in many capacities with her husband over the past eight years for Common Pantry.

Stephanie was also the Treasurer of her Condominium association and the Vice President of the Democratic Party of the 49th Ward. She earned her Bachelor’s degree at DePaul University and is currently a member of the Veterans Employee Resource Group at CNA.

Laura Harwood (Director)

Laura has worked as a psychologist in the Chicago area for most of her life. When looking for a local volunteer opportunity about which she felt passionate, Common Pantry fit the bill. She is a person who loves eating, sharing and preparing food with others. Providing meals with thoughtfulness and love has always been Laura’s instinctive way of taking care of those around her. She began volunteering at Common Pantry in 2015 by stocking, shopping and working produce days. She is very excited to contribute more time and energy as a Common Pantry board member.

Sarah Hummel (Director)

Sarah has lived in the Lakeview and Roscoe Village neighborhoods since moving to Chicago to attend law school at Loyola University Chicago almost twenty years ago. In addition to her J.D. from Loyola, she also received her M.Ed. in secondary education from DePaul University and completed her student teaching at Amundsen High School in the community served by the pantry. She currently works as an examiner at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and volunteers often at the pantry, as well as with other local groups including the Chicago Training Center (youth rowing program) and Precious Pets Almost Home (animal rescue).

Amy Masters (Director)

Amy was first introduced to Common Pantry as a volunteer distributing food to clients. She currently chairs Common Pantry’s Communications Committee and has a background in communications, advocacy and government relations. Amy is the Director of Government and External Affairs for the Building Owners and Managers Association of Chicago (BOMA/Chicago) and lives with her husband Chris and their son in the North Center neighborhood.