Care and Share seeks donations, CEO

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Care and Share Food Bank volunteer Kathy Patterson gathers food for Cornerstone Baptist Church.

Care and Share Food Bank volunteer Kathy Patterson gathers food for Cornerstone Baptist Church.

Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado, whose CEO was fired this month, is doing what it can to forge ahead during this critical time of year.

Demand for food is up 30 percent over this time last year, a reflection of the region’s high unemployment. Donations, however, are running about the same level as usual, leaving the agency with a gap to fill. What it needs most is canned meats, pasta, peanut butter, beans and similar items.

More than 400 agencies in 31 counties depend on Care and Share for food for their clients. Each year, the agency distributes more than 11 million pounds of food.

The fall and winter months are the busiest for Care and Share and this year, complicating matters, it is in the search for a new CEO. Deborah Tuck was dismissed in early December after slightly more than a year on the job. She joined the organization in September 2009.

Tuck did not return repeated phone calls. Her last position was founding president and CEO of the Grand Canyon National Park Foundation in Flagstaff, Ariz., a position she held for 10 years. The park foundation’s phone number has been disconnected.

No reason was given at the time that her dismissal was announced.

This week, Rich Wood, Care and Share vice chief governing officer of the board and an attorney with Wood and Ramirez, said Tuck was let go for reasons related to her management and leadership style.

Wood said the board’s decision was not rushed but “well-thought out.”

“I am happy to tell you that fundraising was not a part of it,” he said.

Asked why the board didn’t wait until after the holidays for such a big decision, Wood replied, “Because it was a management decision at the top and does not affect our ability to get food out.”

Lori Kapu, the nonprofit’s chief operations officer, is now leading affairs and has been with the food bank for 20 years.

“We’re leaning very heavily, but have not made any decisions, toward having an interim CEO come in for some period of time,” Wood said.

“We feel it’s important to get someone in there as soon as possible on an interim basis. Then at the beginning of the year, we’ll think of bringing in a long-term permanent successor for Deborah.”

Despite the turmoil, Ecumenical Social Ministries, one of Care and Share’s partner agencies, said it has not experienced any problems receiving food.

“We’ve worked with them for quite awhile, and so we are well-acquainted with all the staff there,” said Carolyn McDole, executive director of Ecumenical ministries. “So far, we haven’t had any difficulties.”

Want to help?

Food can be dropped off at Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado, 2605 Preamble Point, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information, call 719-528-1247 or e-mail info@careandshare.org

To host your own food drive, contact Shannon Coker at 719-434-4682 or shannon@careandshare.org

For information on becoming a Care and Share food partner, contact Don Lloyd at 719-434-4688 or don@careandshare.org

To donate money by phone, call Al Siracusa at 719-434-4680.

To donate money online, visit www.careandshare.org

Donations may also be mailed to:

Care and Share Food Bank

2605 Preamble Point

Colorado Springs, CO 80915