Left to Right: Brenda, Lisa, Justin, Michelle

Left to Right: Brenda, Lisa, Justin, Michelle

Fresno’s M.E.A.L. Names Michelle Rodriguez As Next Program Director

FRESNO, CA - November 20, 2016 - Fresno’s M.E.A.L. (Meals Engaging All Lives) has appointed Michelle Rodriguez as the next Program Director effective December 1, 2016. 

“This is the perfect time for Michelle to become Fresno’s M.E.A.L.’s next Program Director. As a volunteer since day one, Michelle knows the importance of a program like Fresno’s M.E.A.L. to our community,” says Founder Justin Kamimoto. “Our leadership team understands that under Michelle’s leadership, she will take our program to the next level. Every program goes through leadership changes to continue to evolve and Fresno’s M.E.A.L. is no exception.” Kamimoto will move into the Executive Director role of the new parent nonprofit COMMON SPACE that Fresno’s M.E.A.L. will run under. He will train Rodriguez in the transition period and serve in an advisory capacity to Fresno’s M.E.A.L. for the next two years.

Rodriguez officially joined Fresno’s M.E.A.L. in 2014 as the first team member addition to the program. She started as a Community Coordinator and most recently Assistant Program Director to install a foundation of operational procedures to ensure community members received a unique event experience while volunteering. 

“It is an honor being a part of Fresno’s M.E.A.L. to see our community come together to create a positive and inspiring impact,” says Michelle Rodriguez. “Being raised in Southwest Fresno, I see homeless individuals every day. Homelessness is an important human issue and our program allows everyone to be a helping hand. When volunteers join us, they see the true issues homeless individuals face. Change needs to happen, but you have to see and feel the emotions from people to do something about it.” Rodriguez graduated from California State University, Fresno in 2014 with a Bachelors in Sociology and a certificate in nonprofit leadership. 

Founded in 2013, Fresno’s M.E.A.L. has established itself as a one-of-a-kind grassroots program cooking, packaging and walking the streets of downtown Fresno to give homeless individuals a home cooked meal. In three years, volunteers have given out over 5,000 homemade meals, over 700 blankets in an annual #KeepFresnoWarm blanket drive and educated over 1,000 volunteers about the stigmas homeless individuals face in Fresno. At Fresno’s M.E.A.L., we envision an interconnected community, where conversations are had between community volunteers, as well as homeless individuals. And we’re doing it at a rapid pace!