Each day in Silicon Valley, tens of thousands of pounds of excess food and surplus goods are dumped in our landfills and go to waste. In a Valley where one in three people experience food insecurity, Hunger at Home was created to connect the food and goods with those in need. Hunger at Home partners with local convention centers, hotels, and sports stadiums to collect excess food and goods to distribute to the hungry and homeless through a robust nonprofit network. To date, Hunger at Home has donated 11 million meals locally and helped distribute much needed items like towels, blankets, kitchen items, and hygiene kits. Hunger at Home also helps the clients of its nonprofit partners with job training and placement in the very businesses that donate excess food.
William (Ewell) Sterner, Founder and CEO. Ewell founded Hunger at Home in 2008 in San Diego and reactivated the nonprofit in 2015 after moving to San Jose. As a 30-year hospitality executive, Ewell was moved to start Hunger at Home when his son Cassidy volunteered and saw the devastating effects of hunger and Ewell knew of the extensive food waste in the hospitality industry. Ewell’s background makes him ideally suited to partner with hotels, convention centers and entertainment venues to channel excess food to those in need. Prior to joining Hunger at Home, Ewell served as Team San Jose’s general manager of operations at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center. Ewell also served as director of food and beverage at the Sundance Resort in Utah and area director for 26 Hilton Hotel properties in the San Diego area. While at the Hilton, Ewell was awarded the Gold Key Food and Beverage Person of the Year Award for launching the “Go Green” committee aimed at food sustainability. He was also awarded the Food and Beverage Person of the Year in Management from the City of San Diego for his work launching the first Hunger at Home Gala. Ewell strongly believes that as a community we will end hunger when we, “Make what has become acceptable, unacceptable. Make those who have become invisible, visible. If not now, when? If not us, then who?”
Dinari Brown, Chief Operating Officer. Since 2018, Dinari has served as Chief Operations Officer for Hunger at Home. Dinari brings more than 18 years of experience in the hospitality industry where he has led hundreds of team members in complex culinary operations. Prior to joining Hunger at Home, Dinari served as the executive chef for the San Francisco 49ers Levi’s Stadium where he led a culinary team of more than 350 employees including Super Bowl 50. He also held culinary leadership positions at the Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco and the Resort at Pelican Hill in Newport Beach. Dinari serves as an instructor of Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill and previously at Contra Costa College in San Pablo. Dinari holds degrees in hospitality management, culinary and pastry arts from Contra Costa College and a bachelor of arts degree in psychology from Loyola Marymount University. He has been an active member of the community since attending high school at Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose. Bellarmine’s motto “men for and with others" has been a guiding principle in his life and one that drives his commitment to the community.
Alyssa Houk is a seasoned Marketing and Communications professional and a long-time supporter of the non-profit community. She spent 12 years in high-tech startups, building and scaling their marketing and demand generation campaigns. While volunteering for a local nonprofit in 2016, she saw first-hand how small actions could positively impact people and their lives, so she decided to depart from the corporate world and apply her learnings and experiences to the non-profit sector. Alyssa spent 5 1/2 years as General Manager and then Executive Director of Jasper Ridge Farm, which provides therapeutic interactions with gentle farm animals for people in need. Under her leadership, Jasper Ridge Farm doubled the number of programs ran and achieved multiple milestones towards long-term sustainability. Alyssa is a Bay Area Native with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from UC Santa Cruz. She is passionate about sharing Hunger at Home’s mission as its Development & Communications Director, focusing on advancing the organization’s reach within the community.
Lisa’s nonprofit career was launched in 2005 when she joined Fresh Lifelines for Youth (FLY) as their community resources manager. She worked in the legal profession for more than 15 years, which included five years as a legal analyst for the San Jose City Attorney’s Office, when she wanted to change course after volunteering at her children’s school. After FLY, she joined the development team for Children’s Musical Theater San Jose, where she specialized in grant writing, events management and annual giving campaigns. Then she served as the development director at the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art until venturing out as an independent grant writer and fundraising consultant in 2015. After serving as a board member for Hunger at Home since 2018, Lisa joined the staff as their director of development in 2020. In this part-time position, she is charged with creating and implementing a sustainable fund development plan and assisting with elevating Hunger at Home’s visibility as they strive to transform how society responds to hunger and homelessness.
Michael Miller, Board Chair and Nonprofit Consultant. Michael’s career includes more than 20 years in nonprofit leadership on both coasts and serving as general manager and producer for events internationally. He has led two San Jose nonprofit arts organizations — Children’s Musical Theater and San Jose Jazz — through successful turnarounds. A longtime Silicon Valley resident, he works as a theatrical consultant, serves on several boards and collaborates on a variety of projects with his wife, Mary Curtis. Michael received his bachelor of arts degree in business administration from the University of Kentucky and is a graduate of Stanford University’s Nonprofit Leadership program.
Chuck Toeniskoetter, Board Member and Chairman of Toeniskoetter Development. In 1983, Chuck co-founded Toeniskoetter & Breeding Inc. with his partner, Dan Breeding. Toeniskoetter & Breeding received more than 30 awards for excellence and restored San Jose’s St. Joseph Cathedral and renovated Hewlett Packard’s world headquarters. In 2003, Chuck sold his portion of Toeniskoetter & Breeding Construction but maintains his role as chairman at Toeniskoetter Development (formerly Toeniskoetter & Breeding Development). Chuck received a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Notre Dame in 1967 and an MBA from Stanford University in 1973. He served as an officer in the Marine Corps from 1967 to 1970, including a tour in Vietnam. He has held leadership positions in numerous organizations. Community recognition includes Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame, Boy Scouts Distinguished Citizen Award and San Jose Chamber of Commerce Community Leadership Award. When not working, you can find Chuck riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
John Southwell, Board Member and General Manager, Marriott San Jose. General Manager John Southwell brings more than 20 years of hospitality experience to his position as General Manager of the San Jose Marriott. Prior to joining the San Jose Marriott, Southwell served in the joint capacity of General Manager of the Hilton San Jose and Vice President of Hotel Operations for the hotel’s ownership group, DiNapoli Capital Partners. For nearly two decades, Southwell has played a vital role in promoting San Jose as a destination. He is a founding member of Team San Jose, which operates and markets the San Jose McEnery Convention Center and many of the city’s cultural facilities. As past Chairman of the Board for the convention center, he helped guide its recent $130 million renovation and expansion. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the San Jose Convention & Visitors Bureau. Southwell is dedicated to improving the community for residents and tourists alike. An active member of the Mayor of San Jose’s Role Model Mentor program, San Jose State University’s Hospitality Management Advisory Board, the San Jose Office of Economic Development’s Work2Future program, the KIPP Foundation Charter School Program Board and Cornell University’s Hospitality Management Advisory Board, he views educational and job skills development as key to the well-being of the community. He supports the All Stars Project of the San Francisco Bay Area, the San Jose Sports Authority and is a coach for Sharks Youth Hockey League. Southwell holds a Master of Hotel Management from Cornell University and a Bachelor of Applied Arts, Hospitality and Tourism Management from Ryerson Polytechnic Institute in Toronto, Canada.
Jennifer Sant’Anna, Board Secretary and Sustainability Consultant. Jenny brings a strong mix of entrepreneurship, civic engagement, sustainability and technology to her role as sustainability consultant and partner at REV. Jenny co-founded a first-generation mobile software company, SoftMagic Corp. (acquired by Puma Tech) where she served as vice president of operations. She also co-founded the consulting group, UIX Global, a firm focused on urban innovation and civic engagement. Jenny has over 25 years of management experience working with employees and volunteers including serving on a private school board of trustees as finance chair and on a school parent association board as co-president. Jenny holds a Bachelor of Science in education and social policy from Northwestern University and a Master of Public Administration in sustainable management from Presidio Graduate School.
Hormoz Barandar is President and Chief Executive Officer of Green Bay Construction Company Inc. in San Jose California. He has been in the full-service contractor and builder industry for over 25 years. He has an extensive portfolio in design and build of residential, commercial, and industrial projects in Silicon Valley. Hormoz also serves as the President for Light Dream Foundation, a nonprofit organization that strives to provide underprivileged children access to a healthier lifestyle and opportunities to obtain a quality education. Light Dream’s recent projects have included trips to Vietnam where school supplies, scholarships, food, and access to clean water have been provided. He is passionate about giving back and volunteers regularly in the local community.
Edita originally joined Hunger at Home's Board in 2016 after assisting in its 501 (c) 3 filing. She took a leave after retiring from Martha's Kitchen and relocated to the Philippines where she is from originally. She led Martha's Kitchen for 18 years while overseeing its kitchen construction and exponential growth. She received her Business Degree from the University of the Philippines and spent the first 30 years of her career in the high-tech industry. She has been involved in various nonprofit endeavors. She is now enjoying her retirement with her 3 children and 16 grandchildren.
Mike Finnerty, Board Treasurer and President and CEO, Innovative Cost Management Services. As the leader of ICMS, Mike oversees all facets of the business in Northern California. ICMS is part of the Patriot Growth Insurance Services, a national comprehensive full-service insurance brokerage and consulting firm. Prior to joining ICMS, Mike held senior management roles with American Specialty Health, PacifiCare of California and Mutual of Omaha. Mike has served on the boards of directors of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County and Teammates Mentoring Program of San Diego, where he was president. Mike has a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration-marketing from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and an MBA from Pepperdine University.
James Gibbons-Shapiro grew up in San Jose, attended Gunderson High School, Yale University, and UCLA Law School. He worked at the law firm of Fenwick & West for 2 ½ years before joining the Santa Clara County DA’s Office, where he has worked for 24 years. Currently he is one of the six Assistant DA’s that manage the trial and other teams in the DA’s Office. He supervises the Family Violence Team, The Crime Strategies Unit (using data analytics and information sharing to solve more crimes and prosecute them better), the Victim Services Unit, the High Tech Crimes Team, and the Regional Auto Theft Task Force prosecutors. He chairs the County’s Domestic Violence Death Review Team, and the annual effort to update and revise the County’s Domestic Violence Protocol for Law Enforcement, and the Child Abuse Protocol for Law Enforcement. In 2020-21 he led the successful effort to bring together child sexual assault medical examinations, child forensic interviewing, victim advocacy, social services, and more under one roof at the new Children’s Advocacy Center that is overseen by DA Victim Services. In 1999, he organized the first Board meeting for Downtown College Prep, a non-profit network of charter schools serving kids who would be the first in their family to go to college. At that time, there were no charter schools in the South Bay. Downtown College Prep was the first. He served on the Board (minus a break in 2005-06) until 2017, and was the Board President from 2011-17, helping to lead the effort to bring Downtown College Prep’s flagship campus to a permanent home at the site of what used to be the Southern Lumber Company in San Jose. During his work with Downtown College Prep, the school graduated its first class in 2004, expanded to two middle schools and two high schools, and built a strong alumni network (some of whom now teach at the schools).
Yinghua Huang, Board Member and Associate Professor, San José State University (SJSU). Dr. Huang holds a Ph.D. degree of Hotel and Restaurant Administration from Oklahoma State University. She has been teaching at the Department of Hospitality, Tourism, and Event Management at SJSU since 2012. She is a Certified Hospitality Educator (CHE) with more than ten years of experience in hospitality and tourism education. Her research interests include sustainability issues in hospitality and event industries and consumer pro-environmental behaviors. Dr. Huang currently serves on the Hospitality Financial and Technology Young Professional's Advisory Council, and the Editorial Board for several international journals in hospitality and tourism research. Dr. Huang actively incorporates community engagement and service-learning in her teaching and has received the 2017 Superior Faculty Service Award from the College of Health and Human Sciences at SJSU.
Janette Sutton, MBA is a 10+ CFO veteran. She graduated with Honors from Saint Mary’s College in the MBA program for Global Business. Janette was instrumental in establishing and developing the Team San Jose Finance Team and re-building relationships with the City of San Jose. Janette was an original Hunger at Home board member in 2016.
Andrea Urton, Board Member and CEO, HomeFirst. Andrea joined HomeFirst in March 2015 after serving as the agency’s interim CEO. She received her Master of Science in Clinical Counseling Psychology from San Jose State University in 2001 and her license as a Marriage Family Therapist in 2005. Andrea has spent her career striving to provide the highest quality, innovative and culturally competent services for youth and families in Santa Clara County’s highest-risk communities. Andrea is keenly grounded in service to people experiencing homelessness or marginalized by lack of housing. Prior to HomeFirst, Andrea was the program coordinator for Gardner Family Care Corporation Prevention & Early Intervention Services, a clinical director for Families First and the Chief Operating Officer for Alum Rock Counseling Center. She was an adjunct lecturer for Santa Clara University, where she worked to increase awareness around issues of diversity and inclusion, organizational sustainability and industry best practices. Her goals are to ensure that everyone has the cultural resources and supportive services that allow them to thrive.
Jennifer Van Every, Board Member and Principal, The Van Every Group. Jennifer founded The Van Every Group in 2011, a Silicon Valley-based consulting company providing strategic communications and marketing to corporations and nonprofits. She has more than 20 years of experience in a wide range of communications and marketing activities, including content development, media relations, social media, demand generation, executive and employee communications, speech writing, branding and event planning. She has worked with leading corporations and nonprofits in Silicon Valley, including Altera, Gardner Health Services, The Health Trust, HomeFirst, Kids in Common, Intel and Xilinx. Jennifer is actively engaged in many philanthropic activities, particularly those aimed at ending hunger and homelessness and building more affordable housing. Jennifer received her bachelor’s degree in United States History from San Francisco State University.
Vinni Walia, Board Member and Director of Facilities, Team San Jose. Vinni is the director of facilities at Team San Jose where he oversees seven City of San Jose-owned buildings, including the San Jose McEnery Convention Center, San Jose Center for Performing Arts and the San Jose Civic. Vinni serves on the Board of the San Jose Arena Authority, which oversees the SAP Center at San Jose, Solar4America Ice at San Jose, and Excite Ballpark. He has more than 20 years of hospitality management experience and has worked for the Hilton, Marriott and Westin. As a hobby, Vinni hosts a 5:00 p.m. prime time drive show on KLOK 1170 AM radio where he interviews state and local elected leaders on issues affecting the community. He is an English as a Second Language instructor with the San Jose and Hayward public libraries. In 2017, he was recognized as “Volunteer of the Year” by the San Jose Public Library. Vinni has great interest in public speaking, speech presentation and coaches students for the nonprofit The Ideal Kids.
Created in 2020, the Hunger at Home Youth Council is made up of students with a passion for ending food insecurity and growing sustainability efforts in our community. The council is made up of students from high schools throughout Silicon Valley who are dedicated to supporting the initiatives and activities of Hunger at Home through volunteer efforts. The council brings an important perspective and voice to Hunger at Home’s work as next generation leaders of our community and stewards of the environment.