Luke Elzinga is the communications & advocacy manager at the Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC) Food Pantry Network, which last year assisted over 57,000 people facing food insecurity in Greater Des Moines. Luke works to advocate for policies that strike at the intersecting root causes of poverty and food insecurity.
Luke is a graduate of Iowa State University, an AmeriCorps VISTA alum, and a 2017 fellow of the New Leaders Council Des Moines Chapter. He lives in Des Moines with his partner, two cats, and dog.
Kaila Rome is the Executive Director at the North Liberty Community Pantry, located in Northern Johnson County. Her work in food insecurity over the past seven years has prepared her for a role on the Iowa Hunger Coalition Board of Directors. She operates a full-service, client-choice food pantry along with several community outreach programs including the pantry’s Growing Together Garden, partners in summer lunch feeding programs, community meals, and a collaborative Veggie RX program. Working directly with families in need, her unique perspective brings a welcomed level of advocacy to IHC. Kaila currently serves at the IHC Board Secretary.
Dan Nickey is the Associate Director at the Iowa Waste Reduction Center (IWRC) located at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. Mr. Nickey received a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science from Wesley College and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Drake University. He is also a Certified Energy Engineer, LEED Accredited Professional, and Certified Hazardous Material Manager. Mr. Nickey joined the IWRC in November of 1994.
As the Associate Director of the IWRC, Mr. Nickey assists in the management of a Center that has an annual budget of approximately 2.5 million dollars and assists Iowa small businesses comply with environmental regulations. During his tenure at the Iowa Waste Reduction Center, he has managed the Iowa Air Emission Assistance Program for over ten years that assists Iowa small business reduce air emissions and is an advocate for Iowa small businesses impacted by air quality regulations. In his career, he has been the Chairman of the National Steering Committee of State Small Business Environmental Assistance Programs and has been a member of multiple states and regional policy committees.
John Boller is a resident of Iowa City and is passionate about economic and food justice. For the last 8 years, John has served as Executive Director of the Coralville Community Food Pantry, a nonprofit organization providing access to vital food and personal care items for more than 3,300 Coralville and Tiffin residents every year. John is also the founder of Grow: Johnson County, a hunger-relief and educational farm program located in Iowa City, and served as its director from 2014-2018. Under his leadership, Grow: Johnson County utilized a 2.5 acre farm to grow and donate more than 60,000 pounds of fresh produce to benefit local food assistance agencies.
Natalie Veldhouse is a policy advocate with Common Good Iowa. She works to advance policy that secures food and income assistance for Iowans through a combination of community engagement, policy analysis and advocacy strategies.
Natalie received her Master’s in Social Work and B.A. in Ethics and Public Policy from the University of Iowa. She has experience working in food pantries, school social work, health and education policy analysis and social science research.