About Bounty & Soul – Its Mission
Bounty & Soul is a grassroots, volunteer-run non-profit dedicated to creating a health and wellness movement in underserved communities in Buncombe County. Our fresh, free food markets are providing healthy food along with nutrition awareness and health and wellness resources for children, families, individuals, and seniors who may not have access to these resources. We offer our services at five markets throughout the week serving seniors in a low income senior living facility; a non-profit daycare center; residents living in the greater Black Mountain-Swannanoa Valley area at St. James Episcopal Church, the Flat Creek Community, and Swannanoa Community surrounding Creative Village Daycare.
Bounty & Soul distributes produce that is donated by local growers such as Dr. John Wilson Community Garden, Barefoot Farms, MANNA Foodbank, and a dozen other local growers . MANNA Foodbank also provides additional nutritious necessities such as whole grains, beans, nuts, etc. Bounty & Soul will continue to dedicate its efforts to improving the lives of thousands of people in need in Western North Carolina and beyond through the help of our passionate neighbors and supporters. We hope to serve as a model to be implemented in communities everywhere to ensure that health and healthy eating is not a luxury, but a right.
About Our Team
Bruce Ganger, Executive Director
Bruce was excited to join Bounty & Soul as Executive Director in September 2016. He was sold on the opportunity to create change in community and individual health through our “whole person” model. Before joining Bounty & Soul, Bruce was the President & CEO of Feeding Northeast Florida and the Feeding America member food bank since September 1, 2011. Prior to joining Feeding Northeast Florida, Bruce served as the Managing Director of ISF Group, a business he founded with his wife, Peg, in 2006. Prior to starting ISF Group, Bruce had a very blessed 25-year corporate career where he held many different senior and executive sales and marketing positions with Xerox, Eastman Kodak and Océ Technologies BV, and his own software company.
Bruce has a BA in Sociology from Indiana University and a MBA in Business Management from Almeda University. Bruce and Peg have three grown children, six grandchildren and live in Waynesville, North Carolina. He enjoys playing golf, reading and hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and mentoring young professionals in their career development and education.
Ali Casparian, Founder and Director of Programs
Ali is the Founder of Bounty & Soul and the energy behind the vision. She oversees all programming and the implementation of that vision. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Muhlenberg College and spent over 25 years as a director in the food industry in New York. After experiencing her own personal health crisis, Ali left the corporate life to pursue a path of holistic health and wellness. She received her certification as a Health and Wellness Coach from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, the largest nutrition school in the world, and is also an Advanced Food-Healing Certified Instructor from the Supreme Science Qi Gong Center. Ali’s own personal experience with natural healing combined with her passion for growing and preparing foods, teaching, and service led her to create and launch Bounty & Soul. She is fiercely committed to not only eradicate food insecurity and malnutrition in Western Northern Carolina, but also to inspire each individual to live a happy and healthy life. She is making that happen one market at a time, and hopes to expand this model to other communities where malnutrition and food insecurity exists. Through Bounty & Soul, Ali has created a place where people can gather, feel connected and empowered to make healthy, sustainable choices. Ali has participated in nutrition and health-focused councils for MANNA FoodBank and The Black Mountain Health Initiative. Ali was a featured speaker on the topic of food insecurity and implementing healthy food markets at Feeding America National Hunger Summit in 2013. Ali was named Person of the week by WLOS of Asheville NC. Click here to watch.
You can find Ali at the markets buzzing around lovingly displaying the fresh produce, teaching a class, hugging a client, or cooking up an easy, affordable, and healthy dish. Ali’s gentle, compassionate, and fun-loving manner keeps people coming back.
Karla Gardner, Director of Operations
Karla joined our team as Director of Operations in 2016 after serving as a full-time volunteer, helping behind the scenes and spearheading the pilot program, The Cookbook Project. She previously worked with hunger relief organizations for more than four years, managing volunteers and community outreach efforts following a year of service with AmeriCorps. She has always been passionate about helping people which drew her to pursue Sociology and Anthropology in college.
Karla relishes in connecting with participants, gleaning and sorting produce from local farms and takes pride in knowing that this food is finding a home rather than going to waste. She looks forward to the possibilities that are to come in the food security sector and the shift to making a lifestyle of health and wellness accessible to everyone, regardless of income and life situation.
Mikey McCue, Food Source Coordinator and Truck Driver
Mikey has been at Bounty & Soul since February 2016. As the Food Source Coordinator, he can most often be found driving “Green Jean” (the Bounty & Soul truck) all over Buncombe County picking up good healthy food from MANNA FoodBank or directly from a number of local farms and farmers’ markets. While Ali and Karla are handling the internal business, Mikey does his best to keep up with all the amazing food that we process and distribute to our participants. He enjoys establishing and fostering relationships with farmers, participants and volunteers.
Bounty & Soul is Mikey’s first venture into the non-profit world. He enjoys helping plan and organize events, such as our VegOut fundraiser. When Mikey’s not driving the Bounty & Soul truck he’s probably kicking it on the drums or out riding his motorcycle.
Adam Tonkyn, Volunteer Coordinator and Truck Driver
Adam Tonkyn recently joined the Bounty & Soul team because he wanted to feel a part of something important. As soon as he experienced his first Bounty & Soul market, he knew he’d found a home. Adam will be splitting his time working with our amazing army of 130 willing and able volunteers at the green house, and driving the truck to food pickups and mobile markets. He will oversee all of the warehousing and storage of food at “the green house”. One constant is that he will always be smiling. He is a strong advocate for a healthy lifestyle, apart from Bounty & Soul’s work. He and his wife moved to Swannanoa from Charleston, SC where Adam was a USPS Postal Carrier. Prior to that, Adam was a Raft Guide, supervising more than 40 other guides and daily trips. He holds a BS in Travel and Tourism from Clemson University. He loves being outdoors – hiking and gardening – and enjoying the mountains. Wave at Adam when you next see the Bounty & Soul truck around town.
Our Board of Directors
Joellen Maurer – Chair
An MA from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and a BS from Milligan College in Education and Bible, her lifelong passion has been to help others to move forward. She has done this in many roles including women’s ministry leader, spiritual formation director, discipleship leader, retreat speaker, mentor, and Bible study leader. Her work helping others develop and market curriculum has been a constant in her roles along the way. Joellen also serves as a faculty member for some online leadership courses, and travels and speaks about building high trust cultures.
Joellen has been a member of the Bounty & Soul Board since January 2015 and Board Chair since March 2015.
She and her husband, Paul, (President of Montreat College) live in Black Mountain, NC and have four children: Jon -who is married to Jenny, Liz, Daniel and Sarah. On her day off you can find her hiking the local trails with her 90-pound Weimaraner named Jack.
Bill Hollins – Treasurer
Bill was born in New Orleans, LA and found his way to Georgia Tech where he achieved a BS in Mechanical Engineering. After college, he served for three years in the US Air Force as an aircraft pilot. Bill joined the electric power company in Beaumont, TX where he had a 30-year career in many aspects of the business including engineering, industrial sales, marketing, operations, and various headquarters staff responsibilities. Bill retired to Montreat and actively served the community as a town commissioner, a volunteer for the Montreat Conference Center and a Board member of the Black Mountain Swannanoa Valley Endowment Fund. Bill and his wife, Judy, are currently members of the Black Mountain Presbyterian Church. Bill keeps busy playing tennis and hiking. He is an avid fan of model railroading and gardening. He has three children and three grandchildren.
Berdjette Barker – Secretary
Berdjette Barker has been living in the Swannanoa Valley area for over 15 years and has family roots that go farther back than that. She and her family relocated from Florida in 1999 when her husband moved his business from Miami to Black Mountain. Berdjette was born in Lausanne, Switzerland and continues to hold close ties to her native country. She spent most of her years in South Florida where she attended Florida International University and received her BS in Hospitality Management. Her career included time working for two different Marriott Corporation properties and Resort Management for the Walt Disney Company at six different properties. She spent several years at Asheville Christian Academy as Director of Food Services. Currently, she is owner and manager of Imagine Mountain Properties in Black Mountain. She is married to David Barker and has 3 grown children. She enjoys working out, hiking, raising chickens and caring for her home and family.
Katheryn “Kitty” Fouché
Katheryn (Kitty) Fouché spent her early years in Bluefield, WV before her family relocated to Huntsville, AL. She received her BS in math/science education from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and earned her MEd and PhD in mathematics education from the University of Florida. Following graduation, she was a faculty member in the Department of Mathematics & Statistics and Associate Dean at the University of West Florida in Pensacola. She then accepted a position as Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Executive Director of Outreach Centers at Columbus State University in Columbus, GA. In 2009 she retired and moved to Montreat where she has been active in that community. She is currently an elder and chair of the Finance Ministry at Black Mountain Presbyterian Church. She is a member of the Town Council and the Mayor Pro Tem for the Town of Montreat. Her two sons and their wives have blessed her with five grandchildren. She enjoys playing bridge and other board games, camping, and travel.
Keith Grogg is the pastor of Montreat Presbyterian Church (PCUSA). He has served churches in Carolina Beach, NC; Kannapolis, NC; Oak Lawn, IL; and Bedford, England. He has been involved with local food ministries in various locations since 1989. He is married to Vivian Hare, and they have a son at the Environmental Law Institute in Washington, D.C. and a daughter attending Davidson College.
Mary Ann Heinen
Prior to her coming to North Carolina two years ago, Mary Ann Heinen worked for 23 years at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital a physical rehab hospital in Michigan. While most of her time at MFB was in human resources, the last 13 years she was a recruiter and was instrumental in hiring staff to fill their new hospital building. As a certified health care recruiter (CHCR) she was active on both the national and state level serving several times on the local Board and was a presenter at local chapter meetings. For more than 20 years Mary Ann has also been involved in community theatre both at Asheville Community Theatre and several theaters back in Michigan. She enjoys running/walking, reading, and traveling including her mission trips to China.
Volunteers are the fiber of Bounty & Soul. We recognize that we couldn’t operate without their service, dedication, and commitment. Every week our volunteers donate their time and talents to improving the health and well-being of their fellow community members in need. They are responsible for loading and unloading trucks, displaying the bounty of food, helping our participants select their food, assisting with educating on healthy ways to prepare the food, offering a hug or kind word to another…the list goes on. If you want to make a difference in someone’s life, please reach out to us below or email Lindsey. We would love for you to join our volunteer family.
If you have questions about our volunteer opportunities, Contact Karla at email@example.com
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