All Faiths Food Bank Hires New Chief Program Officer

Maria Jose Horen will oversee programs and services, research, program evaluation, and more

As hunger remains a pressing issue – especially as the economic impact of COVID-19 continues – All Faiths Food Bank is committed to identifying and finding solutions for the root causes of hunger and improving the overall well-being of the community. To assist in those efforts, All Faiths has hired Maria Jose “MJ” Horen as its new Chief Program Officer. 

In her new role, Horen will integrate community health concepts into all of the Food Bank’s programs. She is responsible for program development and implementation – including identifying and assessing gaps in current services, research and program evaluation, providing organizational leadership, and community engagement and advocacy, which includes energizing the community around causal issues and solutions to ending hunger. 

Horen, who is bilingual with fluency in Spanish and English, has a Master of Science in Food & Resource Economics from the University of Florida and a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology from the University of South Florida. She has a rich history working with at-risk and diverse populations as well as extensive experience in conducting assessments, project evaluation, data collection and analysis. Previous positions include: Research Supervisor/Lead Evaluator for the University of Maryland, Institute for Innovation and Implementation; Early Childhood Evaluation Director at the University of South Florida; and Executive Director for the Hispanic/Latino Coalition, Inc. in Sarasota. 

"I am thrilled to join the team at All Faiths Food Bank to do this work," said Horen. “Given all of my past experience – working with diverse populations, doing research to get to the root causes of social problems – I am confident I am well prepared for this role. I look forward to serving our community.”

With the financial impacts of the coronavirus still affecting many area residents, All Faiths’ program experts will continue to analyze specific zip codes to identify recently displaced or unemployed individuals and develop innovative strategies to reach those in greatest need. They will also be working to identify new funding opportunities and target new collaborations and partnerships to enhance service delivery.

“While our focus remains on providing equitable access to food for those who may be hungry, our ultimate goal is to provide healthy solutions to end hunger in our community,” said Sandra Frank, CEO of All Faiths. “With the benefit of MJ’s expertise, passion and leadership, we will continue to work to raise awareness of the issue of hunger, conduct in-depth research to better understand the problem, and advocate on behalf of our neighbors experiencing hunger.” 

All Faiths Food Bank is the only food bank and largest hunger relief organization in Sarasota and DeSoto counties. Rated 4-stars by Charity Navigator and a member of Feeding America, we provide millions of meals each year through robust programs and partnerships with charitable organizations in the community. In addition to food distribution, All Faiths Food Bank operates a roster of innovative direct service programs that not only solve the immediate problem of hunger but strive to end hunger by helping families and individuals gain long-term food security, better health outcomes and self-sufficiency. For more information visit allfaithsfoodbank.org or call 941-379-6333.