Introducing Carmen Del Guercio, MFB’s President & CEO
On December 12, 2016 the Maryland Food Bank welcomed a new President and CEO, Carmen Del Guercio. We sat down with Carmen to learn more about his background, why he applied for the position, and where he sees the organization heading.
Q: What was your first exposure to the Maryland Food Bank?
A: I have worked in Baltimore in the banking field for nearly 30 years. My prior employer — M&T Bank — is a long-time supporter of the Maryland Food Bank so over the years, I had various opportunities to volunteer. I got to see how the operation worked, was inspired, and wanted to do more. Last December, I was invited to join the Board of Directors and not too long after that, the CEO role opened up. So, I stepped down from the Board and threw my hat into the ring.
Q: Tell us a little bit about your personal story.
A: My parents immigrated to the U.S. from Italy in the 1960s. When I was a kid, I remember my family receiving food assistance — back then it was called “government cheese” — and I thought that it was pretty cool that we could get that help. Now, as an adult, I recognize that long before the first food bank was ever formed, America placed a shared value on providing basic nutrition for people in times of need. And while my family wasn’t food insecure for long, that experience I had growing up has stayed with me.
Q: Why does the food bank’s mission to end hunger matter to you?
A: As a long-time resident of Maryland, I know first-hand that our state is affluent and many residents are well-educated. I also know that many Marylanders don’t know — or don’t believe — that problems like hunger exist here. The truth is, hunger is a problem here in Maryland. And we have a lot of work to do to change this. Honestly, I’m inspired by the food bank’s mission itself, because we really do have the potential to solve hunger.
Q: As you have learned more about the issue of hunger, has there been anything that really surprised you or that you didn’t know?
A: As I have become more familiar with the issue of hunger, I recognize that food is at the core of our most basic human needs and the presence of food insecurity is dragging down entire communities.
I was surprised when I found out how many people are food-insecure in Maryland. And, I realized that I shared a common misconception about how the Maryland Food Bank works. I thought the food bank directly served food-insecure people.
I was impressed to learn that, in fact, the Maryland Food Bank partners with more than 1,200 organizations to distribute food directly into communities. The size of this network clearly demonstrates how much hunger-relief work is being done and that’s a testament to how large of an issue it is. And while progress is being made, I would have to say that I’m a bit shocked that we haven’t yet solved the problem. I’m hoping to change that.
Q: What other causes are you passionate about?
A: In general, I’m interested in helping organizations that allow folks at the end of the line to access support services and live a full life.
I spent 10 years as a Board member at Humanim and loved that human services angle. I also served as a Board member at the Baltimore Urban Debate League, where we helped young people expand their skills and get exposure beyond the classroom.
Q: What are you most excited about when it comes to this opportunity?
A: The Maryland Food Bank is a tremendous organization and has experienced significant growth in the past four years. I hope to draw on my experience in the for-profit world to help the food bank effectively and efficiently meet the needs of the people it serves today, while helping position the organization for continued growth in the future.
Additionally, I’m looking forward to working with everyone throughout the larger hunger relief community. I’m very excited and honored to have the opportunity to build on the many successes that the Maryland Food Bank has achieved and position the organization to have an even bigger impact across the state.
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