The TOUCH New Jersey Board of Directors operates as a working board that volunteers in the programs and works in a traditional board fundraising capacity. The seven member board meets on a quarterly basis to hear program updates, discuss organizational needs, make decisions about fundraising and to work with the Executive Director to plan the direction of the orgaization.
Dan Kirkpatrick, President – Dan excels in medical instruments sales and has a 12-year background in helping feed the homeless, leading a weekly food outreach as Treasurer of Aqua Corps, a non-profit which engages those challenged within society and provides food venues within the Camden and Philadelphia areas.
Dan has background in the food-service industry and offers his expertise in the financial industry in the budget process and as the volunteer coordinator and social media supervisor for TOUCH New Jersey.
Debbie Realey – Debbie is the founder of TOUCH New Jersey, having started the organization in 2003 and currently resides in Phoenix, Arizona. Ms. Realey handles a majority of the administrative responsibilities and acts as the communication director for agency contacts such as Philabundance, Cuddle Me, and Panera Bread. During her stewardship, TOUCH was awarded a $10,000 grant-in kind by Philabundance via a food credit generated from the W.W. Smith Foundation in 2010 as well as a $30,000 Capacity Building Grant from Jae Enterprises, Inc within the Camden Capacity Building Initiative.
Sidney Cohen – Dr. Sidney Cohen is a psychologist and author specializing in the long-term negative effects associated with outwardly intimidating others (bullying) as well as feelings of inadequacy. Sidney has a 10-year volunteer background and was just profiled in the Body and Spirit section of the Philadelphia Inquirer on June 2, 2014.
Meher Merchant – Meher has 20 years experience in pharmaceutical manufacturing as a chemical engineer with Merck & Company and McNeil Health care specializing in product-development technology transfer and life-cycle management. Meher is a waste management consultant for the Pentagon, and has worked as a chef in the field of social giveback for the past 8 years. He presents healthy cooking classes throughout Camden and Philadelphia and conducts programs aimed at feeding the homeless in both locations.
Carol Russell – Carol has a long history in the social giveback community with volunteer experience at the “Cathedral Kitchen” in Camden, N.J., where she currently is a Meal Captain and “Volunteers of America” in Camden, where she handled feeding for the homeless. Carol formed and currently manages “Project Hugs”, an outreach that collects food, water and blankets for the homeless. She also runs “Project Juice Box”, an outreach program for the “Seeds of Hope” ministries in Camden, which collects juice boxes and snack items for a Sunday homeless outreach venue. She also manages, UR Important 2 US, a weekly street ministry in Camden which distributes water, a sandwich and a snack for those on the streets. Carol was educated at Misericordia College in Dallas, Pa. and is a retired elementary school teacher. She has three adult children and four grandchildren.
Andrea Brooks,MSW,LSW -Andrea’s reputation as a volunteer organizer and mission-driver in the social work community is unexcelled, also working as a professional in the social work field, completing her undergraduate work at Rutgers University and her Master’s degree at the University of Pennsylvania. In providing valuable advice to the TOUCH board of Directors, Andrea brings her background as the founder of Aqua Corps, editorial writer for the “Individuals with Disabilities Express About Life” magazine, Board Member with “The Camden Writers Project” and as a developmental volunteer with the “Aids Coalition of Southern New Jersey”. Andrea’s enthusiasm and extensive experience provides the TOUCH Board of Directors with an invaluable asset.
Michelle Ray – Michele A. Ray, CPC – Michele is the newest member on the TOUCH New Jersey Board of Directors and she comes aboard with a wealth of knowledge and substantial enthusiasm aimed at advancing TOUCH’s mission.
Michele is a Senior Business Analyst with Horizon NJ Health and uses her analytical skills to address the many issues associated with the rapidly expanding TOUCH footprint including distribution, transportation and systems determination.
Michele’s willingness to “roll up her sleeves” attests to her commitment and dedication to contribute to the needy in the Greater Camden community through the vehicle of TOUCH New Jersey. Michele is a welcome and appreciated addition to the TOUCH Board of Directors.