Loaves & Fishes—Feeding Those in Need

August 2015 View more

Megan Selck , Chief Executive Officer

Megan Selck , Chief Executive Officer

As the new CEO of Loaves & Fishes Community Services, Megan Selck combines her love of food with her passion for serving others. “I wasn’t looking to be a CEO of a nonprofit, but the timing was perfect and everything fell into place,” said Selck. She had been working at Loaves & Fishes for two years when CEO Charles McLimans stepped down to relocate out of state. She immediately threw her hat in the ring. “I knew I wanted to be in charge of one of the best nonprofits in Chicagoland.”

Selck began working at Loaves & Fishes in 2012 when she was hired as director of development. “I quickly fell in love with the organization and the people we serve,” Selck explains. In January of 2014 she transitioned into the role of vice president and chief development officer.

Prior to working at Loaves & Fishes, Selck worked in the health care industry. “I wanted to make a career change and work closer to home,” said Selck, who lives in St. Charles with her husband and young son. She describes Loaves & Fishes as a perfect fit. “Aside from my family, my main passion is food,” she explains. “I always say I was a foodie before it was cool to be a foodie.”

Serving Those in Need

Loaves & Fishes Community Pantry began in a small closet at St. Raphael Catholic Church in 1984. During that first year, the pantry provided food for eight families in need. Today, the organization annually serves more than 130,000 people throughout DuPage County, distributing an average of 60,000 pounds of food every week.

More Than A Food Pantry

Loves & Fishes has also grown into more than a food pantry by offering empowerment programs to clients. “As the saying goes: ‘Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime,’” said Selck. “We want to teach people how to fish.”

“Our most requested, and frequently used program is our job support program,” said Selck. Clients can receive onsite help with their resumes, job applications and interviewing skills. Loaves & Fishes also partners with Samaritan Interfaith Services to provide onsite counseling. In addition, the nonprofit helps clients apply for LIHEAP utilities assistance, SNAP (food stamp) assistance, as well as enroll in health care programs. It also offers English, nutrition and computer skills classes as well as money management and tax services. “We’ve been highly successful with helping clients become more self-sufficient and less reliant on our services.”

To better reflect its evolving role, the organization officially changed its name last November to Loaves & Fishes Community Services. “The name is a better reflection of who we are and who we want to be,” Selck explains.

How To Get Involved

Loaves & Fishes is able to help so many people thanks to its volunteer base. “We have a very small staff compared to the number of people we serve, so we rely heavily on our volunteers.” There are a variety of volunteer projects suited for everyone, from stuffing envelopes to stocking shelves to assisting with the empowerment programs. “We need volunteers from all walks of life—both physical and intellectual volunteers. No specific background is necessary.”

While the nonprofit gladly accepts food donations, Selck points out that monetary donations go even further. “We are able to purchase food at a deeply discounted rate. For every $1 we receive we can purchase $10 worth of food.”

Loaves & Fishes hosts several fundraisers throughout the year. Its next major fundraiser, “A Concert to End Hunger” will be held Saturday, September 9 at the Arranmore Farm & Polo Club in Oswego. Tickets are available at www.loaves-fishes.org.

Photo by Robyn Sheldon