Team Member Spotlight: Jennifer Strauch
November 29, 2017
“Life is a journey, not a destination.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
As a single mother living in Monroe County, United Way of Monroe County’s Vice President of Community Impact, Jennifer Strauch, is no stranger to life’s challenges. With a passion for service to her community, she views each day as an opportunity to build new connections that will improve the lives of her neighbors in need. Jennifer is a lifelong native of Monroe County, graduating from Stroudsburg High School and obtaining her Masters degree from East Stroudsburg University in Public Health. Jennifer brings to United Way of Monroe County years of experience working with vulnerable populations through her volunteer mission and outreach work with Christ Hamilton Church and Pleasant Valley Ecumenical Network (PVEN) Food Pantry. As Executive Director of PVEN Food Pantry, she started a summer lunch program in the West End and used her public health training to begin to address the challenges in providing healthy nutritious food within the food pantry system.
Food Systems work is where Jennifer’s passion lies. Jennifer truly believes that “healthy food is good medicine that ALL people need.” The issue of hunger and food insecurity is a complex social problem where she is proud to be a part of a collaborative effort that is working toward addressing the hunger here in Monroe County. According to Jennifer, her work is about changing the conversation from simply feeding people to providing a self-sustaining food system plan where we are fueling the minds and bodies of our children and workforce, while improving health and economic outcomes for our community. It is about seeing the forest beyond the trees. Endless opportunities and solutions are available if we are willing to come TOGETHER. This was indeed the rationale for creating The Hunger Coalition of Monroe County, a collaborative effort to bring all the players within the supplemental food system together to increase access to healthy food among struggling individuals and families in Monroe County.
“United Way of Monroe County has given me the opportunity to fight for those struggling in my community in a way that will enable us to create lasting change,” says Jennifer. “I loved my time being hands on in directly providing food to community members, but I felt that the needs were growing, and I was not able to do anything that would enable us to create something sustainable. Within my new role, I am actively working with so many partners in actually trying to improve the entire food system so we can create meaningful and lasting positive change. It is really exciting.”
As the VP of Community Impact at United Way of Monroe County – a new position at United Way – Jennifer oversees United Way’s coalition building and advocacy efforts around United Way’s three collective impact initiatives: Access to Healthy Food, Support for Working Families, and Help When Needed Most.
Jennifer’s journey is just beginning with United Way as she completes her first full year work with the organization at the end of December. As Jennifer highlights, “the systems building work ahead is going to be challenging, but the vision of a thriving, healthy Monroe County community is reason enough to head to the office each morning, gear up with the vast resources available through United Way Worldwide Network, and set off to fight for issues that are near and dear to my heart.” She is fighting for a vision of something better for my Monroe County, and we are thrilled that she has joined our team!
Jennifer resides in Saylorsburg, PA with her two daughters Isabelle and Emma and their two pups; Champ and Peanut. If you would like to reach out to Jennifer, you can do so through our contact page by CLICKING HERE or call (570) 629-5657.