We are the small but mighty team behind Food Banks Alberta and the support provided to 109+ member food banks across the province. If you haven’t met us yet – learn a little bit about us below!
Arianna Scott, Chief Executive Officer
Arianna has always had a passion for helping people, holding roles in nonprofit leadership since 2011 in both animal welfare and food banking. Prior to joining the nonprofit sector, Arianna worked in Child and Family Services. Arianna shares that her professional and educational accomplishments are some of her proudest moments in life – particularly obtaining her Bachelor of Arts from University of British Columbia, Okanagan, and leading the Wood Buffalo Food Bank through the chaos and recovery of the devastating Fort McMurray wildfires. Arianna joined Food Banks Alberta because “Food Security is where I found my passion, my desire to help, and my skill set. When I moved to the food banking world, I found that I could speak passionately about the topic of food security for all; my emotions are intrinsically linked to my work. I feel like I am truly fulfilling my life’s purpose. I believe that as Albertans, we have an obligation to ensure that all people have access to basic human needs, including nutritious food.” When she’s not working (or golfing!) you can find Arianna enjoying time with family around the dinner table, eating corned beef and cabbage, Brie cheese, and dark chocolate – just maybe not all at once.
Jason Lyver, Development Manager
Jason joined Food Banks Alberta in 2021, quickly cementing himself in the fabric of our organization with his demonstrated commitment to fundraising and fundraising education for the members of the Food Banks Alberta community. Jason shares that he joined Food Banks Alberta because “we are seeing a record high number of people needing the support of their local food bank. My passion for this work is seeing the direct impact we have as an organization when it comes to being a strong voice in this province, in helping our members and working with the community. I love knowing that the support provided has a direct impact on thousands of Albertans across the province.” When Jason isn’t working in the nonprofit sector (fun fact – he has for the entirety of his professional career!), you can find him hopping on a plane bound for Palm Springs, or sweating it out in a spin studio in Calgary.
Kimara Cruz, Office and Program Support Coordinator
Meet Kimara, our bubbly office and program support coordinator! If you phone into the Food Banks Alberta office, chances are, you’ll be greeted by Kimara. An adventurer at heart, Kimara’s dream is to travel to 30 countries before she’s 30. Born and raised in Belize, Kimara understands the importance of food security. She joined Food Banks Alberta because “coming from a third world country, I hope to run a Food Bank in the near future. I grew up seeing the need for more awareness on food security When I saw the posting for the job here at FBA I applied and crossed my fingers I got the job. The non-profit field is exactly where I want to be and here is so much I can learn from working here at Food Banks Alberta.” When she’s not dreaming of running her own business and changing the world, Kimara can be found with her pup Bella, or chowing down on some Mexican cuisine – her favourite!
Franciska Riehl, Network Manager
If you were to sum up Franciska in a phrase – it would be a ball of energy. Franciska is always on the go, whether it’s hiking up peaks in the Rockies, exploring the rainforest-like serenity of Yoho National Park, or training for the Spartan Trifecta in Hawaii, she is the epitome of an Energizer Bunny! Born and raised in the old part of Hungarian Transylvania, Franciska’s reasons for joining Food Banks Alberta are deeply personal. “It’s a personal example of poverty. While my parents were determined to never let their daughters go hungry, they have a multitude of examples of when they came very close to starvation. Born in a poor country meant standing in lines for days never being guaranteed even a loaf of bread or jug of milk, making the most of everything procured (canning, curing, fermenting, pickling, etc.), facing political turmoil/bloody revolutions, facing death penalty if anyone attempted to flee the country. While we successfully immigrated anyway, my parents had but a few dollars to their name and resorted to whatever methods they could to feed our family while they got up on their feet. I am proud of them for their efforts and honesty. So while I may not touch the lives of clients who visit our member food banks, I am determined to serve the network so they in turn can care for those most vulnerable in a dignified manner! Food Banks Alberta serves a large network of members, each with a unique community and yet we all share the same heart. I love that!” When she’s not climbing and skiing mountains, you can find Franciska in a state of zen in her garden – her most recent hobby.
Paul Belanger, Warehouse Coordinator
Paul is a retired Firefighter Captain, and a lifelong learner. He joined the food banking world after his retirement in 2014. “I started volunteering at the Edmonton Food Bank. One day the Executive Director of Edmonton’s Food Bank asked me if I’d like to also volunteer with Food Banks Alberta and I’ve been with them ever since. My involvement in the food security area is an extension of my 32 year career of serving and helping people in need.” When he’s not working at the warehouse, you can find Paul enjoying his hobby of maintaining tropical fish.
Steve Carleton, Warehouse Assistant
Steve, or “Scoop” to his friends, joined Food Banks Alberta after 40 years in the oilfield – all 40 spent at the same job. Steve enjoys working on his mini truck, vacationing in California, and working his retirement job here at the Warehouse. When he’s not busy with us, you can find Steve enjoying his favourite food – hamburgers with his wife and family.