Cathy McCann announced her plans to retire as Chief Operating Officer of the Community FoodBank of New Jersey.
McCann will remain at her post through March 31 and will be succeeded by Tonya Walley, vice president of Logistics. McCann’s decision to retire will bring to a close a remarkable career of nearly 33 years of service for New Jerseyans in need.
Before joining the FoodBank, McCann was a warehouse manager at PepsiCo. Her passion for fighting hunger grew from a conversation with the FoodBank’s founder and former president and CEO Kathleen DiChiara.
When McCann started working at the FoodBank in July 1984 – only two years after its incorporation – the warehouse, then located at 75 Stockton St. in Newark, provided food to about 200 community partners and distributed 2.8 million pounds of food.
Now located in Hillside, the FoodBank provides food to more than 1,000 community partners and distributed over 43 million pounds of food in the last year alone.
“We grew to address the growing need,” she McCann said.
McCann has played a major role in the organization’s impact in New Jersey and hunger-relief efforts across the country. In 1985, she helped lead the initiative to digitize the FoodBank’s inventory system, moving away from hand-written food orders to increase efficiency.
She also worked with Feeding America on emergency response plans, including preparation for natural disasters. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in 2012, she and her team made sure the FoodBank was up-and-running to provide food and other essentials to New Jerseyans affected by the storm.
“Everyone who has had the distinct pleasure of working with Cathy knows her heart is as big as our warehouses,” said President and CEO Debra Vizzi. “Cathy is one of our pioneers. She was a pillar of strength and leadership during Sandy and has been heralded throughout New Jersey as one of our finest. She has played an instrumental role in driving our mission to provide food, help and hope for over three decades. Her knowledge and expertise will be deeply missed.”
Chairman of the Board Josh Weinreich thanked McCann for her commitment to fighting hunger.
"She has impacted how the FoodBank addresses hunger in New Jersey, increasing the efficiency and productivity of the warehouses with her team, and she has created a gold standard mirrored by food banks across the country,” Weinreich said.
DiChiara, who worked with McCann for 32 years, said "her skills, dedication and commitment to those in need and to those who worked with her has been inspirational and has helped us to accomplish so much,” DiChiara said.
“There are a lot of giving people and you don’t realize how much good is in the world," McCann said. "I feel good about being a part of this and hope that I’ve made a difference.”