Coming together from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences, our dedicated team of volunteers are the backbone of A Need We Feed. Their ideas help shape the direction and mission of the organization as it continues to develop.
Mark Blackwell is a 30+ year veteran in the Supermarket Food Retailing Industry and is a District Sales Manager for Stop & Shop Supermarket Company. Mark is an Ocean County native and a graduate of Manchester Twp. High School. Mark and his wife Barbara live in Berkeley Twp., NJ, where he has resided for over 25 years.
Along with Stop & Shop, Mark has been instrumental in supporting A Need We Feed from its inception by securing food donations, not only from Stop & Shop, but also from several of the trade partners in which he does business with.
Mark has won numerous awards in sales, merchandising and most significantly in Community Partnership. He was most recently awarded the Corporate Neighbor Award with the Franklin Food Bank in Franklin Twp., NJ where he previously operated two Stop & Shop Supermarket stores. This award is in recognition of someone who is responsive to the needs of the community, active with the Franklin Food Bank and passionate about putting an end to hunger.
Mark is supportive of community efforts not only near his hometown, but also in the areas in which he works. Mark is a Board Member for A Need We Feed and also serves on the Advisory Board for the Franklin Food Bank, Somerset, NJ. Mark is the original founder of the Stop & Shop Team in the annual Making Stride’s Breast Cancer Walk in Point Pleasant, NJ where they have been a Flagship sponsor for over 15 years and raise over $1.5 Million annually.
Gabriel “Gabe” Gillen is a New Jersey native, father of 3 amazing children, Brandon, Hailey, and Madison, and husband to a patient and beautiful wife, Neusa. He returned to NJ from after graduating from George Washington University to put his Entrepreneurship and International Business degrees to work. Wanting to be in the “finance” world and having a desire to help others, Gabe worked at a few mortgage banks and brokerages prior to starting his own company, Family First Funding LLC, in 2011. Along with his partners, their company has grown from a small office consisting of just three to their current staff of over 425 people, 25 different offices across 10 different states. As the President of the company Gabe is very involved in the success and growth of the company on a day to day basis, but also leads their initiatives to provide the company’s involvement in the success of the community. As a company their motto is “Treat everyone as Family”. This can be seen throughout the company’s culture as well as their participation within the community. Over the few years Gabe has dedicated some of his spare time to get involved with the Northern Ocean Chapter of Habitat for Humanity. His connection with H4H comes from his maternal grandfather’s love and 20 years of dedication to the organization while living in Princeton, NJ and Winston Salem, NC.
This philanthropic gene is within him and has helped inspire others as his Family First Funding Staff helped raise over $80,000, build the walls, and had the pleasure of erecting the walls and support beams in September and October of 2018. He serves on the Housing Selection Committee, and personally reviews income/assets for applications for the H4H Northern Ocean Chapter to ensure they qualify for the income limits based on family size. He also serves on the Homeowner Services Committee for “A Brush With Kindness”, safety repairs for the H4H Ocean County Chapter as we have completed over a dozen this year.
For the past 32 years, Ed has lived in Toms River, New Jersey, with his wife, Janet. They have three daughters who are all successful and independent.
Ed has been a financial advisor, Charter Financial Consultant (ChFC), and Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF) for the past 30. His practice is located in Brick, New Jersey.
Ed likes to be outdoors, where he surfs, snowboards and fishes. He also enjoys working in the garden and traveling. He is a member of the Toms River Fire Department and enjoys spending time with family and friends.
Christine has over 15 years of banking and financial services experience. She works for Wells Fargo Bank as a Business Execution Consultant for the Physical Distribution Strategies Team. She is the Vice President of the NJ Employee Impact Team for Wells Fargo which focuses on the organization being more active in the community with volunteering. She is also the Workforce Outcomes Co-Chair for the Women’s Employee Resource Network.
Christine graduated from Monmouth University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration- with a concentration in Finance & Marketing, with a minor in Information Technology. She graduated in the Top 10 of her class for that concentration.
Christine is a lifelong resident of Ocean County, born and raised in Brick, New Jersey. She has a six-year-old daughter, Sophia, and three-year-old son Dominic and an English Bulldog named Bailey.
Outside of work, she loves spending time with her family- day trips, boating, sports- all including the dogs of course! She loves planning events, shopping, traveling, crafting, baking and more. Her and her family are very active!
If you didn’t think all of those things keep her busy enough, Christine loves volunteering. Not only is she a Board Member for A Need We Feed, but she volunteers with a few different local charities throughout the year: Ocean of Love, Make-A-Wish NJ and the NJ Sharing Network, in memory of her late brother, Robert.
Robert was born and raised in NJ. He is husband to the wonderful Teresa Avison, and an amazingly proud father of three children, Fable, Carlie, and Danny. Fable is a graduate of Smith College and is attending Law School in NYC. Carlie is a graduate of Rutgers University and currently works for MMIT. Danny is currently attending University of Florida, he also spend the summers working for his father as a salesperson at Downs Ford.
Robert has been in the automotive retail industry for 30 years and he proudly serves the local Toms River Community at Downs Ford. Robert also owns and operates a Automotive Management Company in Stuart Florida and a Reinsurance Provider that is domiciled in Turks and Caicos.
Robert proudly participates in the NADA National Auto Dealers Association 20 Group, supports NJ CAR, and the Toms River Chamber of Commerce. Downs Ford proudly supports the Toms River Police (Toms River Vest a Cop) and Fire Departments, The Valerie Fund, The Ladacin Network, Toms River Rotary, Sailfest, Hope Sheds Light, Ocean County College Foundation and they are the title sponsor for Downtown Toms River.
When Robert is not at Downs Ford or working in the community, he enjoys spending time with his family, being out on the water, or making time for a round of golf.
Frank is a lifelong resident of Ocean County, and has a commitedness to his community that is unsurpassed. Having serviced clients from all walks of life over his 20 year career in the Financial Services field, Frank’s passion is dedicated to helping everyone “plan and retire with dignity”.
Frank’s altruistic nature flows through every aspect of his life. He has proudly served our country as a Sergeant in the United States Army National Guard for over twelve years, has volunteered in the local community as a Youth Football Coach with over ten successful seasons under his belt, and most recently opening his home to the adoption of three at risk siblings who otherwise would have been separated by their circumstances. It is only fitting that Frank parlay this experience and sense of community into A Need We Feed.
Vincent is a licensed Certified Public Account with over 25 years of experience in tax preparation, accounting and auditing. He provides personalized business advisory, accounting and tax preparation services that assist entrepreneurs in growing their business and meeting their personal and business financial goals. Vincent’s clients cover a large number of industries and have ranged from sole proprietorships to medium sized businesses to larger national and international corporations. Vincent is also proud to provide accounting, auditing and board level advisory service to the not for profit and charity world. He has successfully assisted in the growth and development of charities and not for profits in various segments including but not limited to education, public safety, fraternal organizations, veteran’s affairs & support and meal service programs.
In addition, to Vincent’s accounting and tax preparation experience, he has extensive experience as a senior executive and board reporting member in the Internal Audit profession. His career has focused on the global financial services industry, including investment banking, retail brokerage, inter-broker dealers, asset management, retail and international banking and real estate He served as the Global Head of Internal Audit at Cantor Fitzgerald where he established a Global Financial and IT audit team consisting of 31 professionals spanning the US, Europe, Asia and South America. Vincent also has extensive knowledge of Board of Directors Governance requirements, Sarbanes Oxley testing requirements as well as data analytics, forensic review and fraud examinations.
Vincent is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Information Systems Auditor and a Certified Financial Services Auditor. He is a graduate of Manhattan College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting. Vincent is also an Advisory Board Member to Investors Bank and the State Theatre of New Jersey as well as a Board member of A Need We Feed, Inc.
Nora has been working in banking and financial services industry since 2007 and currently a VP with TD bank in the Toms River Lakewood location. She was born and raised in Ocean County and lives in Bayville with her boyfriend Chris, her son Riley 23 & her God son Quincy who she is raising. Nora has a passion for community and helping those in need, she has been serving the Ocean County community through many different organizations; Kiwanis, Big Brother's Big Sister's, United Way, to name a few.
For fun Nora likes to spend time with family & friends. She loves the beach & collecting sea glass for her DIY projects.
David has been in the banking industry since 2009. David started as a part time teller and has had many roles within TD Bank up to his current role of Store Manager in the Lakewood location. David grew up in Ocean County and currently lives in Toms River with his wife and 2 daughters. In his free time he loves to spend with his family, travel, attend his daughters cheer competitions. David has partnered with various organizations throughout Ocean County to support the community. He has focused on coat drives for children, clothes for men and women entering the work force, basic needs drives, and financial literacy education are some examples of ways he has made an impact! David has a passion for giving back and is always looking for ways to make a difference.