Staff

EMMA GARCIA
Co-Executive Director

Emma has been with Access for 7 years and now serves as the Co-Executive Director supporting the many programs that Access offers to our community. She relies on coffee to get her through busy days—everything from hanging out at farms and food pantries to grant writing and meetings. Emma considers it a joy to be a bearer of the value and culture of the Kingdom of God on earth.

Craziest thing she’s ever done: Journeyed to all six inhabited continents in one decade

Favorite things: Her husband Mark, her spiritual community on the West Side of Grand Rapids, and her 101 year old house

emma@accessofwestmichigan.org

CHRISTINA SWINEY
Co-Executive Director

Christina has been with Access for 1 year and assists in coordinating the casework services program Congregation Connections as well as business and financial oversight of Access. She loves the opportunity to work with others to minister in their community, and sees this as a way to bring about the biblical picture of shalom in society.

Craziest thing she’s ever done: Participated in a polar plunge into Lake Michigan in April

Favorite things: Being in nature with loved ones

christina@accessofwestmichigan.org

BRENDA NICHOLS
Poverty Education Director

Brenda has been with Access for 3 years and works to educate people on the realities of life in poverty and encourage them to make a positive impact. She enjoys the flexibility of her job and is motivated to do her best work by her daily devotions.

Craziest thing she’s ever done: Had 21 kids over for a sleepover

Favorite things: Time with family

Brenda@accessofwestmichigan.org

 

JAN STINE
Office Manager and Caseworker

Jan has been with Access of West Michigan for 17 years and uses her expertise to make the entire office and Congregation Connection program run smoothly. One of her greatest strengths is the ability to multi-task, which helps her complete her many diverse tasks throughout the day. She enjoys helping other people and especially her coworkers, who she says make up the best part of her job.

Craziest thing she’s ever done: Flew to Jamaica by herself while 7 ½ months pregnant to spend a peaceful week alone

Favorite things: Her pets, especially her Rottweiler Abbie

jan@accessofwestmichigan.org

SAVION SANFORD
Community Engagement Coordinator

Savion has been with Access for almost a year and is responsible for providing support to a variety of Access programs and engaging with the community, community partners, and donors, which is his favorite thing about his position. Working to help things grow and progress in the community motivates his work daily.

Craziest thing he’s ever done: Moved to South Korea for a girl (his wife).

Favorite things: Spending time with family.

savion@accessofwestmichigan.org

ERIKA BLAND
Communications Coordinator

Erika works to design and develop ways to connect with the community and spread the good work of Access. She enjoys being able to use her God-given talents to help strengthen her community. The best thing outside of her job is her family, and she thrives off the challenges that God has for her each day.

Craziest thing she’s ever done: Swam with manatees and jellyfish in Florida

Favorite things: Her family

erika@accessofwestmichigan.org

TAMARA JACKSON
Benefits Outreach Coordinator

Tamara works to help individuals receive the assistance they need at Access. She guides clients through applying for government benefits and verifies information from the local network of churches. Although her job can be difficult at times, she enjoys the challenges it brings. She works hard to set a positive example for her son.

Craziest thing she’s ever done: Road in an extended cab from a truck over huge dirt hills

Favorite things: Spending time with family and friends, reading and writing poetry

tamara@accessofwestmichigan.org

NIKI PERKINS
Congregation Casework Coordinator

Niki coordinates the work of the Congregation Connections program which includes resourcing partner congregations with casework services and facilitating trainings.

Craziest thing she’s ever done: Bungee jumping in Chicago.

niki@accessofwestmichigan.org

NANCY VELDKAMP-BRUBAKER
NOW Program Manager

Nancy has been with Access for 1 year and oversees Access’ Nutritional Options for Wellness (NOW) program where she enjoys interacting with all the great people who are a part of it. NOW provides weekly healthy food and healthy living education to individuals who have a chronic disease and are underserved. Nancy is passionate about the program and the incredible, life-changing impact that healthy, whole food makes on our health, life, and community.

Craziest thing she’s ever done: Nearly went past the edge of the Caribbean Sea to be lost in the Atlantic Ocean while sailing on a small Hobie-Cat

Favorite things: Being Grandma to two amazing grandsons

nancy@accessofwestmichigan.org

JILL SCHAIBLE
NOW Program Assistant

Jill works to create innovative ideas within the NOW Program for food education to bring healthy food awareness to under-served communities. She loves being able to work with others who share her passion for bringing hope to those who need it. She is motivated in her work by her family, friends, and God’s grace in her life for giving her the health, energy, and opportunity to affect the lives of others.

Favorite things: Cooking. Experimenting with new healthy recipes. Mentoring. Crafting.

jill@accessofwestmichigan.org

 

MCKENZIE JACKSON
NOW Project Coordinator

McKenzie is works to coordinate projects related to the NOW Program, as well as overseeing the day to day administration of the NOW intake referral process.

 

mckenzie@accessofwestmichigan.org

ERIN SKIDMORE
Good Food Systems Coordinator

Erin has been with Access for almost a year and oversees Access’ Good Food Systems programs with the goal of cultivating a just food system and to provide information, education, and inspiration to our neighbors about the value of Good Food. Erin enjoys getting to work alongside wonderful people who are doing challenging, but beautiful work.

Craziest thing she’s ever done: Quit a full time job with benefits to move across the country with no job or plan, simply to change environment and see what would happen.

Favorite things: Connecting with the natural world, hiking, and creating meals.

erin@accessofwestmichigan.org

HANNAH FERNANDO
Farm to Pantry Coordinator

Hannah has been with Access for almost a year and is responsible for working to build community resilience and equitable access to good, local food by coordinating partnerships with local farmers and Kent County food pantries. Her favorite thing about her position is being able to learn to cook with families at the food pantries and is motivated by God, her community, and the wellness of the earth.

Craziest thing she’s ever done: Eating moving critters of various sorts.

Favorite things: Farming, cooking, and eating with loved ones.

hannah@accessofwestmichigan.org