Board of Directors

Meet the Saukville Community Food Pantry Board of Directors

Mary Ellen Backes has served three years on our Board as its Secretary, after retiring from the bank data processing industry. She has one daughter, Meghan, who lives with her husband Jonathan in Nashville along with Mary Ellen’s darling two-year-old granddaughter, Charlotte.  In addition to her service on our Board, Mary Ellen plays in the Praise Band at Immanuel Lutheran Church, is Treasurer of the Ozaukee Chorus, a member of the Grafton Area Chamber of Commerce (Ozaukee Bank), on the Stone and Century House Tour Committee of the Cedarburg Chamber of Commerce, President of the Women’s Auxilliary at Hartford Memorial Hospital (Aurora), a member of the Board of the Cedarburg Community Scholarship Fund, and a March of Dimes volunteer.

Paula Butler has been working for social justice, anti-poverty groups for her entire career and is currently hard at work for Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity. During her tenure, Habitat has employed a successful and award-winning Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy, serving 1000 people in the Washington Park neighborhood and increasing home ownership from 40% to 90%. Paula has three children and an amazing husband and a whole bunch of animals, including a toad named Al. She enjoys canoeing, reading, and quiet (parents will “get” that!), and “loves, loves, loves her job.” Paula moved to Saukville in 2013 and immediately became involved with the Pantry and with other local civic organizations to make it her home.

Fred Felder is a retired mechanical engineer and businessman, and is married to Karen with 2 children and 4 grandchildren. He was President of Continental Equipment Corporation in Milwaukee, where he worked for 42 years. He has lived in Milwaukee, Germantown, Richfield, and now, Saukville, and serves the pantry by doing pickups, stocking, performing database support, and handling cardboard recycling. He joined the Board in 2019.

Mark Gierach, the Executive Director and Founder of the Pantry, was born and raised in the City of Mequon, and moved to Grafton just before his junior year in high school. After graduating from Grafton High, he attended MATC in Milwaukee for Police Science and began working for the Ozaukee County Sheriff’s Department in 1974.  He retired at the rank of Sergeant in 2004.  He worked for Business International Network (BNI) from 2005 to 2015 and operated his own promotional products business. Mark started the Saukville Community Food Pantry in 2011 and became its Executive Director in 2012. He currently lives in the town of Farmington with his wife, Nancy, who also gives much time to help run the Pantry and the Community Meal Site hosted by the Pantry.  They are both active at Parkside Community U.C.C. in Saukville and enjoy time with their extended families and friends.

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink.”  (Matthew 25:35)

Steve Jensen is Chief Compliance Officer for US Bank.   A career accountant, he brings those skills to the Board as Treasurer, taking office in 2019.  Steve is also organist at Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Milwaukee.  He and his partner live in Bayside with two dogs and a cat.

Carla Karrels has been a member of our Board since the food Pantry opened. She regularly volunteers during open hours and for Mobile Pantries. Carla was born and raised in the Saukville/Port Washington community and has lived in Grafton for over 20 years. She’s a lifetime member of St. Peter’s/Parkside UCC, has been married to Bill (also a wonderful Pantry volunteer) for 33 years, and has two fantastic adult children, Jason and Jamie. You may have seen Carla at St. Mary’s Ozaukee, where she’s been a nurse for over 30 years!

Hanna Luete-Caron is our newest Board Member, but she’s been a fantastic volunteer for the Pantry for some time. Hanna moved to Port Washington in 2012 and, together with her husband, has three children. She is a Registered Dental Hygienist for her brother, Dr. Josh Leute, in Port and she works part time for Dr. John Olsen at Franklin Dental. She loves to travel with her family, golf, scuba dive, and make people laugh. She also loves giving back by helping out at the Pantry and seeing the smiles of people who come in who know how much we care. She finds helping others to be a heart-warming experience and aims to do it daily at work, with her family and friends, and in her community.

Sara Pashak, who currently serves as the President of the Board, began volunteering with the Pantry as a way to get her then-third grade Christian Formation class at St. Joe’s in Grafton some exposure to community service. Impressed with what the Pantry was already doing, she dove in to help them do more, beginning first as a volunteer and then as Meal Site Ambassador for the bimonthly meal site, which she continues to coordinate (and enjoys very much). She is Associate Professor and Chair of the Political Science Department at UWM and resides in Port Washington with her husband and two amazing and busy children. She is heavily involved in the Music Boosters at both PWHS and TJMS and in her free time (??) enjoys kickboxing, reading novels, and drinking wine (the latter two often in combination and, whenever possible, outside in her husband’s gorgeous perennial gardens).

Michael Scaffidi is an Employee Benefits Consultant at Infinity Benefit Solutions. He’s worked in sales and business consulting (managing auto dealerships for 40 years) and joined our board in May 2019. Michael and his wife, Donna, have been married 29 years and have lived in Mequon since 1992. They have three daughters in their early twenties and they love their family time, four cats, cooking, yard work, golf, fishing, and sporting clay shooting.

Shannon Schultz is mother of three who lives in Cedarburg, where she works as a real estate agent with Keller Williams. She and her family belong to First Immanuel Lutheran and are dedicated to helping others. (You may have read her Kindness Countdown!) In addition to the Pantry, Shannon also serves as a breast cancer family mentor with ABCD. In her free time, she loves to read and travel and is halfway through checking off distilleries on Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail!

Erica Turner is an RN, an IT professional, and founder/facilitator of Bridge the Divide. She believes that her relationship with God should be mirrored in her relationships with others. Erica gained a unique perspective growing up in episodic poverty, experiencing racial injustice, and overcoming both to become a passionate advocate in the community. She is committed to interacting with love, listening while reserving judgment, fostering healing from racial injustices, and waking up apathetic attitudes. She and her family reside in Cedarburg and she joined the Board this year.

John Zalewski worked 43 years in the produce industry from clerk to buying, merchandising, and directing. In 1997, his store was recognized for the best produce in Ozaukee County. John lives in Saukville with his wife of 45 years and they have three sons and eight grandchildren (with twins on the way!). John loves helping at the pantry, where he’s indispensable, and loves serving his community. John has been a member of our Board since 2015.