Vernon’s Upper Room Mission has announced new leadership for the agency that provides meals for the less fortunate.
Executive director Rick Lavin will be retiring at the end of the month, and current employees Lisa Anderson and Lisa Church are the new co-executive directors.
Anderson now oversees retail operations and media relations, and Church will look after human resources and food services.
Anderson, former director of resource development, joined URM in 2012 after a stint as volunteer in the kitchen. Over the years she has held several roles at the URM, including managing the retail store, fundraising and media relations.
“Through the partnerships and community support Rick has created, he’s set us up well to be able to continue succeeding with our mission to feed people who are hungry,” says Anderson.
Church joined URM in 2016 with 25 years of experience managing staff and food services in the hospitality industry.
“This is so exciting and positive, and I’m doing something I love and feel good about,” says Church. “I’m looking forward to growing our team and even further strengthening our relationships in the community.”
Lavin had been with the Mission since 2014 and led the organization through major changes to staffing, strategic direction, programming and more. He also walked into the role just weeks before a pipe broke and flooded the entire building less than a month before Christmas.
“I’m proud of how we pulled together through that and never missed a meal, largely because of how the community just jumped in to help us,” says Lavin.
“We’ve done some amazing things. We have a team now that works from a place of servitude and giving back. We’ve gone from being an organization that’s struggling to one that’s a leader and an example of how nonprofits can succeed,” says Lavin.
The Upper Room Mission is hosting a come-and-go farewell event for Lavin, which is open to the public, at the URM May 29 from 1:30-3 pm.
The Mission has been feeding Vernon’s hungry since 1980, and serves up nearly 300 meals a day.
The URM also raises funds by running a thrift store, along with the Bottle Ministry, which supports snack programs at local schools.