The Foodbank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties gets a new Executive Director. Carlos Rodriguez takes the helm of the nonprofit organization that distributes food to over 250 community partners.

The South Bronx native comes with over 15 years experience, serving as the Vice President for Agency Relations and Benefits Access with the Food Bank for New York City before leaving. Rodriguez says he's learned how to create awareness and to manage the growing new reality of hunger among populations that have never experienced it.

He says, "over the last five years alone, I understand, that we've seen over and 84% increase in the number of people that are served through this Foodbank and so being able to manage that growth, being able to make the right partnerships to bring solutions those who need it, is what I bring to the table."

FIRST ORDER OF BUSINESS: LISTEN

Rodriguez says one of the first things he plans to do is to really listen to the operators of its partner agencies, the emergency feeding programs. "To listen to see what their needs are. How can we help manage their increase? What type of foods do they need?"

He goes on to say "as part of their new strategic plan that we're launching, we want to, as we grow stronger and more prepared to deal with this increase, make our partners just as strong and strengthen them to be able to provide for the community on the front lines."

THE FOODBANK IS IN "GOOD SHAPE"

Rodriguez's resume includes a Bachelor's Degree in Sociology from the College of Holy Cross and a Master's Degree in Urban Planning and Not-For-Profit Management from Milano at New School University in Manhattan.

He says he began working with hunger relief organizations right out of college because he wanted to give back.

Presently, Rodriguez makes the long commute from Bergen County to Neptune Township and he hasn't ruled out relocating to the shore area. He's married with two sons ages 2 and 5.

He takes over for former Executive Director Susan Kelly who left in June and says he takes over an organization that's in good shape. "We're so fortunate here in Monmouth and Ocean Counties because my charge is really to build on a strong foundation. We have a tremendous team, a tremendous community here. It's really one of the things that attracted me up to this Foodbank is the real since of community, not only from the staff but from everyone around to really just work towards and end to hunger if not everywhere, then at the very least right in our own back yard."

Get more information about the Foobank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties online at foodbankmoc.org