MEET OUR AMBASSADOR COMMITTEE

The Feeding Chittenden Ambassador Committee is a volunteer group of committed individuals who strive to make a difference and promote hunger relief efforts. Members are professionals from a diverse range of private, public, and non-profit organizations who are passionate about growing their networks and making an impact in the lives of marginalized, underserved Vermonters. 

BETH WARREN

Beth is the owner of Inspired Closets of Williston and Organize My Home .  Volunteer leadership positions at her church, her children schools, and in professional groups in and around Chittenden County has been an important part of her life for 25 years. The opportunity to chair the very first Ambassador Committee for Feeding Chittenden is a great fit for her skills and her passion to help with the important social issue of food insecurity in her own neighborhood.

“I have always supported efforts to alleviate food insecurity and feel that this new community group for Feeding Chittenden can be very impactful, especially in the current climate of Covid and its implications for many regarding job security” explains Beth.

Beth lives with her husband Todd in Burlington very close to the lake and bike path where she enjoys walking, paddle boarding, and just hanging at the beach! She has two grown children, Tyler and Ashley.

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TIM FORTUNE

Tim Fortune is a Vermont native and co-owner of Paw Print & Mail, a commercial printing, mailing, and promotional products supplier in South Burlington. He has long been active in the nonprofit community, including with the Alzheimer’s Association, the Cancer Patient Support Foundation, and through his annual benefit golf tournament, Golfing 4 Life. He is eager to bring his marketing background and fundraising experience together to support Feeding Chittenden’s mission. In his free time, Tim enjoys golfing, camping, and spending time with his family.

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STEVE GENTILE

Steve Gentile is a First Vice President and Financial Advisor at a large National Investment Firm.  Steve has volunteered for many different causes for the past 40 years in Chittenden County.

He is a Trustee Emeriti at Champlain College, the longtime Public Address Announcer for University of Vermont Men’s and Women’s basketball, an originating member of the Burlington Sunrise Rotary Club and the Dock master/volunteer coordinator for the Dragon Boat Festival since its inception.

Steve has been an avid supporter of Feeding Chittenden for over 15 years, leading business Food Drives, providing financial support, volunteering opportunities and Chairing the committee for Trotting of the Turkeys event to kick off the Turkey donation season for Thanksgiving.

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BARB DEVINE

Barb has over 20 years of marketing, public relations, and brand management experience, including various roles at agencies in Boston and Vermont. She has worked at Seventh Generation for the past 6 years and is currently a member of the homecare innovation brand team. She has been a volunteer with Mobius Mentoring and board member for the South Burlington Library.

“No man, woman and especially no child should ever go to bed hungry or worry where their next meal will come from. Anything I can do to help alleviate that – I’m all in!”

Barb lives with her husband and teenage son in South Burlington. She enjoys running, biking, hiking, skiing – anything that gets her outside and moving.

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DEB LIGHT

Deb is a retired IBM Engineering Program Manager and Middle School Math and Science Teacher. She currently owns a rental property business.

Deb has been drawn to work addressing hunger and food insecurity in her local Vermont community for as long as she can remember. She has volunteered extensively with Feeding Chittenden, Vermont Foodbank and the Salvation Army’s Friendly Kitchen.

“Good food and nutrition is a fundamental human right. It is tragic that so many of our neighbors experience hunger on a regular basis and worry how they will feed their families day to day. I look forward to joining forces with the Feeding Chittenden Ambassador Committee to make a real difference together.”

Deb lives in Burlington with her husband John. She has two daughters, Hannah and Maddie, who both live in Colorado. Deb loves hiking, cycling, alpine and nordic skiing, exploring the far corners of Vermont and, in normal times, the rest of the country

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A.J. LAROSA

A.J. is a partner at MSK Attorneys in Burlington Vermont where he focuses on real estate and land use litigation.  Serving the greater Burlington community has been primary goal of A.J.’s since he moved to Vermont a decade ago.  A.J.’s a member of the Burlington City Arts Advisory Board and the Burlington Development Review Board. A.J.’s greatest passion however is food and he believes every person should have access to high-quality nutritious food and be armed with the skills and education to make healthy decisions for their families.  Being a member of the inaugural Ambassador Committee for Feeding Chittenden is a great fit for A.J.’s passion because it gives him a chance to help with the important social issue of food insecurity in Vermont.

“It is simply unacceptable that any person in this Country is food-insecure.  COVID-19 has exposed just how tenuous our community members’ food security really is.  I feel that this new community group for Feeding Chittenden can be very impactful and I look forward to working with Feeding Chittenden.”

A.J. lives with his Partner Tracie in the South End of Burlington. He enjoys running before anybody wakes-up, skiing early morning powder snow, traveling and cooking.

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TOM MESSNER

 

First Alert Chief Meteorologist Tom Messner has been with NBC5 since 1990, forecasting and covering severe weather events for the Champlain Valley and beyond.

Tom received a degree in Business Economics from the College of Wooster in Ohio and went on to study meteorology at the State University of New York and Mississippi State.

Tom is a member of the National Weather Association and American Meteorological Society and was among the first meteorologists in the country to earn the title of Certified Broadcast Meteorologist from the AMS.

Tom’s weather is a perennial favorite in the Champlain Valley. His forecasts can also be heard on local radio stations WOKO, WKOL, WJOY, WIZN and The Buzz.

He was honored to be inducted into the Vermont Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2016. He’s also earned honors from the Associated Press, as well as loyal viewers, being named Best Meteorologist in the Seven Days readers’ choice awards every year the category has been offered.

Tom was honored to be included in Robert J. Resnik’s book Legendary Locals of Burlington.

His weather reports have been seen nationwide on The TODAY Show, LIVE with Regis & Kelly, The Weather Channel and MSNBC.

 

Tom has reached out to area schools for years, visiting thousands of kids in their classrooms to talk about how the weather works. He frequently speaks to community organizations and has served as a high school commencement speaker as well as a motivational speaker for the United Way and area business groups.

Through the years, Tom has worked with the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf, American Red Cross, United Way, Ronald McDonald House, American Heart Association, Share with a Hungry Neighbor, D.A.R.E, Make-a-Wish and the Alzheimer's Association.

While Tom is known for forecasting round-the-clock during weather events in the Northeast, he has also traveled to cover extreme weather in other parts of the country. After braving the winds and rains of Hurricane Frances in Florida, chasing tornadoes in Oklahoma, and enduring what’s been called the worst

weather in the world at the top of Mount Washington, New Hampshire, Tom is happy to be settled on the shores of Lake Champlain with his family.

You can catch Tom’s NBC5 First Alert Weather forecasts weekly at 5 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. on NBC5 and at 10 p.m. on The Valley CW.

 

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Andrew Thomson

Andrew is retired after spending over 30 years in the Financial Services industry. Through his work in various leadership roles in a local church he helped create a more open and affirming congregation. When Andrew’s children were young, he was involved with coaching and refereeing youth sports.

“One of my goals, in working with Feeding Chittenden, is to find ways to bring the surplus of food produced to the people who need it. It is amazing how much food is wasted every year.”

Andrew lives in Burlington with his partner Melissa Lafayette. Their extended family includes seven adult children and 5 grandkids. He enjoys golf, playing with Charlie and Winnie, their dogs, and spending time with family and friends

A Huge Thank You

We're so grateful for all of these individuals who have stepped up in the fight against hunger!