OUR TEAM

Zac Cesario, Executive Director

Zac joined Fox Valley Food for Health in May of 2018 with a passion for all 7 dimension of wellness and a goal for all to be able to achieve a healthy balanced life. Zac has always had a health focused live growing up in the chicagoland area and started his formal health study at Illinois State University and receiving a BA in Community Health Education. In his professional career, he has worked with small, medium and large nonprofits in health, business, and many other industries. As one of his previous colleagues appropriately named him, he is the, “Zac of all trades” when it comes to non-profit work. He has experience in education development, grant writing and management, operations, strategic planning, marketing and fundraising, to name a few. In his career, he has harnessed each opportunity presented to him to accomplishing his dream of becoming an Executive Director, in a health focused non-profit that will serve and give back to the his community. Zac lives in St. Charles with his wife and 2 dogs. They can frequently be seen walking/running on the Fox River, enjoying downtown St. Charles and Geneva or spending time with family and friends. Zac is extremely grateful to be apart of such an amazing organization, and strives to continue to align our mission, vision and actions to better serve the Fox Valley community.

 

Mary Fremgen, RD, LDN, Co-Founder and Education/Garden Director Mary co-founded Fox Valley Food for Health in 2012, with a desire to leverage her experience, knowledge and passion in using nutrition as a tool to heal from severe illness. She began her 35-year career in the specialty area of oncology nutrition, and has seen great strides in how nutrition can help in cancer recovery and survival. Mary has also seen the negative impact of poor diet on the incidence of chronic disease and longevity. Her private practice in the Fox Valley is based on combining her three loves, food, cooking and teaching, while making an impact in peoples lives. The Fox Valley Food for Health project has helped fulfill her vision of providing a vehicle for nutrition education and hands on experiences for teens, caretakers and families struggling with serious illness. No one can deny her passion and commitment to the vision of making a difference in the lives of people who are struggling with health issues, and needing a helping hand along the way to recovery. She is a great recruiter of people in the community to the cause of good health, good nutrition and a new way of eating and supporting healthy lifestyles. Her personal experience with the loss of her father and brother to cancer has inspired Mary along this journey. She witnessed first hand the importance of proper nutrition while they went through treatment, and the difference a strong community connection was throughout their cancer battle. Mary lives in St. Charles with her husband, Mike, and enjoys gardening, visiting farmers markets, hiking and cooking for friends.

Fox Valley Food for Health Staff

Molly Evans, Executive Chef and Teen Development Coordinator

Molly started her culinary adventures at a young age learning from her Mother and Grandmother. To this day, some of her fondest memories are cooking with those she loves at their family cottage in Michigan. Molly has a business degree from Indiana University and spent several years in consulting before pursuing a culinary career. She then obtained a culinary degree from Kendall College in Chicago and began her own personal chef business. From formal dinner parties, to corporate lunches, kids cooking classes, and home meal services, she has years of experience in feeding others healthy and nourishing meals. She strongly believes in the power of food to create and maintain good health and is excited to bring this experience to Fox Valley Food For Health. When not cooking, Molly loves to run, do yoga, and read about food and cooking. She lives in St. Charles with her husband and three children, where they all spend a lot of time in the kitchen.

 

Marcie Carlson, M.S., Assistant Chef

Are you wondering what is the nutritional science behind the meals that Fox Valley Food for Health teaches teens to cook, and delivers to clients? Get to know Marcie Carlson. Holder of a Masters degree in Nutrition and Dietetics, she is one of the managers behind menu development, recipe creation, and recipe makeover for Fox Valley Food for Health. She maintains the extensive digital and paper-based recipe collection, and each week produces the “Nutri-Bites” that go out with selected meals, providing important information about the nutritional benefits of the meals provided. In addition, she is the Kitchen Manager, responsible for all food and supplies procurement necessary to support the weekly preparation of meals for the program. Marcie is a steady, efficient, smart professional—someone upon which the foundation of the program is built. She is passionate about food, and makes a difference every day at Fox Valley Food for Health. In addition, she is one of our talented Mentor Chefs, providing outstanding teaching and coaching to our teens every week. We are fortunate to have such a true professional on our team.

Susan Ellward, Volunteer Coordinator

Anyone who knows Susan would tell you she loves to meet new people and is always bringing friends together. Couple that with her passion for volunteering and belief in our mission and you can see why she was drawn to working with FVFFH. She loves that FVFFH not only allows her to serve others, put provides an opportunity to expand her passion for healthy living. Susan has a business degree from Indiana University and spent several years in Sales and Marketing before taking a few years off to raise her two children in Batavia with her husband Jim. As Volunteer Coordinator she will use her excellent interpersonal and organizational skills to help people from the community find a spot at FVFFH that fits his or her skills and desires. If you know anyone who would like to make a difference in the lives of others by joining this wonderful group of people, please contact Susan and she’ll help you get started.

 

Wendy Kraska, Client Care Coordinator

All of us face tragedy or sickness along the way, and yet, sometimes we just don’t know exactly how to respond or what to do. Wendy Kraska has been a part of our management since 2014 at Fox Valley Food for Health, and embodies that spirit of empathy and kindness, along with the understanding of what to do. Wendy’s experience in Community Nursing and Hospice care has allowed her to thrive in her role as Client Care Manager, working in the community, connecting with local resources and providing support to clients and their families. Wendy is passionate about nutrition supporting more than the physical being. While difficult to measure, she feels nutrition also holistically supports the psycho-social and emotional needs of the family. Wendy believes those living with a health crisis and their families should have access to healthy, nutrient dense meals, nutritional education and support. Wendy enjoys working with the wonderful Fox Valley Food for Health volunteers in the garden, kitchen and as well as delivering nutritious client meals.  Being a part of the Fox Valley Food for Health team embodies all that she loves… compassion, nature and sustainability. She makes a difference at Fox Valley Food for Health.

Cynthia Victor, Client Care Assistant

Cynthia Victor has long believed in healthy eating and exercise as a means of preventive health. She has had many “healthy” careers and considers herself a lifelong student and advocate of a healthy lifestyle. She was initially drawn into Osteopathic Medicine as a Family Practitioner so she could teach her patients about how to prevent illness and disease. She then decided to expand her knowledge to community-based populations by getting a degree in Public Health and Health Promotion from Northern Illinois University. This led to an opportunity to help elementary schools across Illinois to create healthier learning and nutrition environments. When her own twin daughters entered middle school she took a break to raise them, while working towards a Holistic Nutrition Degree. In 2016, She began volunteering with FVFFH as a mentor chef in the Caring Cooks program.  As a self taught chef, it has been a pleasure teaching others basic cooking skills and a healthier way to eat. When the opportunity to join the FVFFH team as a Client Care Associate came up, it was a natural fit for all of her passions, as well as, her desire to give back to her community. When she is not volunteering at FVFFH you can find her cooking, working in her yard, reading books, and getting active with her family and two dogs! Save Save Save Save Save Save Save

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