50 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 Program Manager)
Isabel Markowski (Operations Coordinator)
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.
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.
Brittany Barson (Board Vice President)
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
Cheryl Imo (Treasurer)
Cheryl has been a resident of the North Center Neighborhood for almost 20 years. She is a CPA with a BS of Accountancy from the University of Missouri and an MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management. Cheryl spent 14 years in the workforce with roles in public accounting, corporate finance and investment banking until taking off time to raise her two children. During this time away from the workforce, Cheryl spent several years as a volunteer Treasurer and Board Member of Friends of Bell School, a 501(c)(3) organization.
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.
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.
David Brown (Director)
David is the Chair of Community Outreach for Common Pantry and has been very active in the Roscoe Village/Lakeview community for more than a decade. In addition to various volunteer and charitable activities, David has served on the Boards of Roscoe Village Neighbors and Epiphany United Church of Christ. David is currently on the Board of Rogers Park Montessori School.
David is particularly passionate about ensuring that pockets of need in Chicago’s relatively affluent north side are not overlooked or ignored. David attended Northwestern University and subsequently received a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, concentrating in Housing and Community Development. David has been in the commercial real estate business for 25 years and is president of Harrington Brown, LLC.
Sarah Mihalik (Director)
A Northcenter resident, Sarah began volunteering at the Pantry in spring 2016, starting first with Wednesday evening food distribution and building relationships with clients in need. As a former journalist, she specializes in connecting with people to understand their story and serves as chair of the communications committee at the Pantry. Sarah works at a global biopharma company as the lead writer and content creator for the corporate responsibility and philanthropy group.
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.
Amy Pagliarella (Director)
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.
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).
Peggy Titterington (Director)
Peggy Titterington, is the Executive Donor Advisor for the Alzheimer’s Association. She has been with the Alzheimer’s Association for over nine years and in her capacity as Executive Donor Advisor, she raises major and planned giving support throughout the Midwest. She has been the top producing major gift officer for the past two years. Prior to coming to the Association, she was with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for 12 years where she served as Vice President for Development, overseeing all fund raising activity for the Orchestra. The early years of Peggy’s career was spent with smaller performing Chicago arts organizations including Music of the Baroque and Chicago Opera Theater. She has more than thirty years of fund raising experience.
Gregg Friedman (Director)
Gregg is a 20-year resident of the Northcenter/St. Ben’s neighborhood. He’s an Information Security Advocate & Mentor for the private sector. Gregg has served on local school councils for both CPS elementary & high schools and has been involved with community fundraising for the arts, anti-hunger, social justice, music, and education. Gregg is bilingual in English & Spanish and enjoys time with family, travel, and bicycling safely around Chicago.