417,032 pounds of food donated since September 2011
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Leadership Team

National Team

Ben Simon

Founder and Executive Director

Ben S. is a senior at the University of Maryland, College Park studying government and politics and nonprofit management.  He brings five years of nonprofit experience, and 23 years of not being able to stand good food going to waste. He is also the Founder of MyMaryland.net, Co-founder of The Love Movement, and a former opinion columnist for The Diamondback. Ben likes songwriting, swimming, Indian food, long walks at 2 AM, and pick-up volleyball. He is excited at the amazing opportunity to scale Food Recovery Network across the country, and sees it as part of a larger movement toward a sustainable, socially just, and prosperous way of life. Ben was recently recognized by ABC News and Univision as one of their Top 10 Social Entrepreneurs of 2012.

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Autumn Rauchwerk

Director of Expansion

Autumn Rauchwerk is an American University graduate who majored in Environmental Studies and co-founded the FRN chapter there in the spring of 2013 along with the awesome Matt Thomas.

Autumn is so excited to be part of FRN’s national team to help grow the student movement to expose and solve the hunger and food waste paradox once and for all! As the Director of Expansion, she leads the team of New Chapter Coordinators to work with students one-on-one to start food recovery programs at all of the colleges.

She loves traveling–from studying abroad and learning Spanish in Costa Rica to spending a summer on the remote South Pacific island of Tutuila, American Samoa for a NOAA Hollings fellowship. She loves to cook, run, and play spontaneous and chaotic ultimate frisbee everywhere she goes. She also loves to travel to national parks and hike with the fam.

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Sara Gassman

Director of Member Support and Communications

Sara graduated in 2012 from the University of New Hampshire with a B.S. in Environmental Conservation Studies, specializing in public participation. She is FRN’s Director of Member Support, providing resources and advice to official FRN chapters to ensure a strong, well-connected food recovery movement. Previously, she worked as the intern for the National Wildlife Federation’s Campus Ecology program, where she focused on research, social media and blogging about sustainability in higher education.
Sara loves bicycling for transport, live music and sending and receiving snail mail.

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Cara Mayo

Project Manager, Food Recovery Certified

Originally from Silver Spring, MD, Cara went to Juniata College and received a B.S. in Environmental Science and a minor in French in May of 2013. Before coming to Food Recovery Network, Cara studied Environmental Science in Lille, France and Pondicherry, India. In her sophomore year, she received the EPA GRO Fellowship and spent a summer in Newport, OR studying the vulnerability of coastal flora and fauna to the effects of climate change. After graduating, Cara worked on a small organic farm for the summer and soon found herself as an intern at Food Recovery Network! In her spare time, Cara loves to make tea, snowboard, wear onesies around the house and make snow elephants!

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Helena Craig

Programs Development Intern

Helena joined the Food Recovery Network as the Programs Development Intern for the summer of 2014, and is excited to help FRN grow by managing data and enhancing programming. She will graduate from Bucknell University in 2015 with a BA degree in International Relations and a French minor. Helena loves traveling and discovering new places, baking, summer bonfires, and competing as a member of the Bucknell rowing team.

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Movement Co-Founders

Ben Chesler


Ben is a young social entrepreneur who believes in the power of dedicated people to change the world. Ben is a student at Brown University, where he is involved in a host of social ventures. Over the past five years, Ben has gained experience from his work in various fields, from political organizing to nonprofit management, having worked for multiple political campaigns and serving as Chief Financial Officer of a non-profit for three years. Currently, Ben leads the Brown University chapter of the Food Recovery Network. Ben is extremely excited to be working with the committed team members of the Food Recovery Network! When he’s not working on a social venture, you can probably find Ben hanging lights in a theater, or off in the woods somewhere hiking and reconnecting with nature.

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Lauren Behgam


Lauren is a student at Brown University pursuing a double concentration in Urban Studies and Environmental Studies. Lauren was an original member of Brown’s FRN leadership team and she is now a member of the national leadership team. In July of 2012, Lauren represented FRN in the first ever Banking on Youth “Changemaker” competition, where she won the grand prize and $15,000 to help grow FRN. Other than working with FRN, Lauren enjoys dancing and laughing!

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Rebecca Kagan


Rebecca is a recent Brown University graduate who studied Politics, Philosophy, and Economics with a focus on nonprofit organizations. During her time at Brown she has been involved with a variety of social action groups and social enterprises on campus. For a year, she co-coordinated Rainwater for Humanity; a Brown based student-run social enterprise that redesigned rainwater-harvesting structures in rural India. Outside of Brown, Rebecca has worked at several nonprofits, including everything from a refugee resettlement organization to a nonprofit consulting firm. When not helping to run a startup, Rebecca babysits, studies religion, and reads fantasy novels.

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Mia Zavalij


Mia is cofounder and co-president of the Food Recovery Network chapter at the University of Maryland. She is studying Anthropology, minoring in Sustainability. Mia loves playing an active role with student groups on campus and loves seeing students play such an active role in making their community a better place. She has been involved with a 2 other nonprofits and has played multiple roles in both of them. Mia is grateful to work with such an amazing Food Recovery Network team and is looking forward to the continued growth of the organization. Her passions lie in sustainability, social justice, environmental justice alongside fighting food waste.

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Andrew Bresee


Andrew is a senior at the University of Maryland College Park majoring in environmental science and technology and minoring in sustainability. Andrew was on the very first leadership team at UMD and helped with the expansion to the original three chapters. In spring 2012 Andrew Bresee and Ben Simon competed in the Pitch Dingman and the Do Good Challenge, winning FRN over $7,000. Andrew joined the national leadership team this same semester and has been an active member ever since.
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Komal Ahmad


Komal graduated from the University of California at Berkeley, during the spring of 2012 with degrees in International Health and Development and Global Poverty and Practice. She returned to her Alma Mater as a Visting Scholar and full-time researcher in Autumn 2012. Komal is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of BareAbundance, Founder and ED of Feeding Forward, and Co-Founder of the Food Recovery Network. All of these nonprofits are innovative in their approaches to improving access to healthy food and nutrition, while simultaneously curtailing hunger and food waste in America. Upon returning to Berkeley she plans to launch another non-profit, and tech start-up company, which she hopes to expand to college and university campuses nationally.

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Nicholas Murphy


Nick (Pomona College, ’13) started coordinating the Food Rescue program at Pomona College as a Sophomore, taking over from Tammy Zhu, ’10, who started the program in 2008 with funds from a Strauss Public Service Grant. Food Rescue became a founding chapter of the Food Recovery Network in January 2012. Nicholas is a Molecular Biology major and plans to become a research doctor. In his free time, Nick loves to rock climb, hike and cook.
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Dana Del Vecchio

Founding Member

Dana is an engaged, socially active college student who understands the responsibility each young person has to engage with today’s leading problems – and the power that can come from just one person. Her year volunteering for Americorps in 2010/2011 solidified her commitment to be part of change, and she has tried to transfer that passion and commitment into her efforts at FRN. Right now she’s a sophmore at the University of Michigan – dual majoring in Political Science and Middle East and North African studies. At school, she leads the University of Michigan FRN chapter, attends weekly bible studies, and writes as a freelance writer when she can. In addition, she loves interacting with new people and striking up conversations on topics ranging from music concerts to lessons learned from life experiences. She has loved giving time to this organization, and she stands behind the mission and fellow leadership.

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