Kitchen Angels Staff
Tony McCarty, Executive Director
Joe Cates, Director of Food Services
Lauren LaVail, Community Liaison
Jeanette Iskat, Client Services Manager
Board of Directors
Elva Busch, President
Following a long career in health care as a nurse anesthetist, Elva and her husband Bob retired to Santa Fe in 2006. A volunteer cook, Elva also serves as Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee. She enjoys golf, skiing, gardening, cooking, entertaining, travel, her book club, and her cat Max. Elva is a Board member of the Santa Fe Botanical Garden and serves on the Santa Fe Garden Club and the national Conservation Committee of The Garden Club of America. “It’s such a pleasure to cook nutritious, beautiful meals for our homebound neighbors at Kitchen Angels. The camaraderie of working with my fellow volunteers is delightful, as we work together to give back to our community,” Elva shares. Elva recently added a new household member, her much-loved German Shepherd puppy, Steffi.
Ben Alaimo-Monson, Vice President
Ben, who works in finance, also serves on the Strategic Planning and Finance Committees and has been a substitute driver since 2000. Ben was born in California, raised in Albuquerque, and has lived in Santa Fe since 2009. His hobbies include mountain biking, skiing, backpacking, and restoring his home. In high school and college, he volunteered at a soup kitchen in Albuquerque. Ben tells us that “My goal is to help Kitchen Angels plan for the future so that we can continue serving our clients and improving our community.”
Ginny “retired” from a career in corporate accounting when she moved to Santa Fe from California in 1996. She cooked for Kitchen Angels back in the Willie Ortiz Building days when there were about 35 clients. Returning to the working world in 1999, she worked for United Way of Santa Fe for 5 years before taking on accounting assignments for a number of Santa Fe nonprofit organizations, including Kitchen Angels. Having retired in April for real this time, Ginny is anxious to get back to helping in the community. “It is an honor and pleasure to work with the volunteers and staff at Kitchen Angels and I particularly appreciate that they help so much those who are best served by being able to stay in their own homes.” She serves on the Finance and Public Relations and Marketing Committees. In her retirement she hopes to improve her skiing and tennis game and is training her new Doberman puppy, River. She is also a member of the Finance Committee at HomeWise.
Gerry and her husband lived in New Jersey before moving to Santa Fe in 2006. Born in England, she was an executive in the textile industry for over 25 years. Gerry also owned her own sewing company in Georgia where she hired local women from the defunct textile industry. Supporting women is a passion that found new roots in New Mexico when Gerry joined the New Mexico Women’s Foundation, as a volunteer and then as Executive Director. Since retiring, Gerry enjoys the freedom of working on projects in the community, especially at Kitchen Angels where she works in the Kitchenality store and is on the meal delivery team. Gerry says, “My father, who lived the last 10 years of his life disabled and homebound taught me the healing power of someone coming to his door every day, not just to deliver meals but to give a smile and care about how he felt. I’m very happy to be a part of an organization that brings that spirit to the community”. Gerry has two daughters and five grandchildren and lives with her husband in Lamy, where she enjoys hiking with her cockapoo, Dudley, studying local archaeology, and giving tours at the local alpaca farm.
A New York native, Linda has lived in New Mexico since 1966. A former board member, she has been involved with Kitchen Angels since 2000, primarily as a volunteer fundraiser. Linda says, “I am on the Board again because I am so committed to Kitchen Angels and its mission. It is so necessary to our community and I’m happy to be a part of it.” Linda and her husband John have recently sold Dressman’s Gifts and Santa Fe Indian Trading Company, which has been on the Santa Fe Plaza since 1952. Retirement will bring time to return to artistic endeavors, more travel and time with grandchildren. Linda and John have two children and two grandchildren.
A native New Mexican, Martha served most of her career in higher education in Colorado and California. Her family has been in New Mexico since the 1800s. She and her husband Richard Markwood, also a higher education administrator, retired to Santa Fe in 2004. A former college president, she continues to work with community colleges throughout the country to help students, especially students of color, complete their programs of study. She has three adult children, one of whom lives in Santa Fe, four step-sons and 14 grandchildren. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Santa Fe Community College. Martha shares, “I am excited to join in the important work Kitchen Angels does to provide healthy meals to homebound Northern New Mexicans.”
A long time educator working in leadership roles in both K-12 and higher education, Carmen Gonzales is a native of Santa Fe, NM. She left, however, for 34 years and happily returned five years ago. Carmen enjoys exercising, hiking, reading, traveling, and getting together with friends. She is also a member of the Santa Fe Community College’s Foundation Board of Directors. Carmen’s parents taught her the importance of giving back and helping others. “I’m really looking forward to working with the staff and volunteers at Kitchen Angels. It is an organization I believe in.”
Liz retired with over 25 years in Public Service. She worked in President Bill Clinton’s Administration and President Barrack Obama’s Administration in Washington D.C .and lived in Virginia and Washington, D.C. for many years. Liz is back home in Santa Fe and has enjoyed meeting new friends. She enjoys keeping up with household chores, gardening, and cooking and exercises daily. Liz attends lectures and music events that local organizations sponsor. She says, “I am thrilled to be part of Kitchen Angeles and the work they do in our City.”
OJ Niswonger, a Board member since 2010, serves on the Strategic Planning Committee. His main interest is planning for the Endowment Fund and Legacy Angels. OJ has been a volunteer for 10 plus years and is a substitute driver. “I like delivering to clients because Kitchen Angels really helps our most needy neighbors. But what I get out of it is the appreciation for how fortunate I have been. It makes me very thankful for my life and the ability to give back,” remarks O.J. He is from Missouri and worked in Houston and California, retiring from industrial marketing for Texaco. O.J. enjoys photography and painting and has volunteered in the Case Trading Post at the Wheelwright Museum. He is a member of the Santa Fe Community Foundation’s Pinon Legacy Society.
Gary bought his first home in Santa Fe in 1993 and Santa Fe became his full-time home in 2012. Formerly Associate Director of the Department of Standards at The Joint Commission, Gary is a psychiatrist with an MBA in International Business. He built a successful international health care consulting company, The Mihalik Group, LLC. He also formed The Mihalik Consultancy in Dubai in 2010, providing consulting services to the Ministry of Health of the United Arab Emirates. Gary sold The Mihalik Group in 2016 to pursue his passion for cooking and writing with a food blog and a cookbook deal. He works in the kitchen at Palm Desert Food and Wine each year, producing food for celebrity chef cooking demonstrations. Formerly a kitchen volunteer at Kitchen Angels, Gary now manages the cookbook section of Kitchenality. Gary’s firm belief is that “Food insecurity affects the fabric of our community. The importance of the work of Kitchen Angels, caring for some of our most vulnerable citizens, cannot be underestimated.”
Sarah Taylor, Secretary
Sarah and her husband, Jim, moved to Santa Fe from California in 1996. She started volunteering at Kitchen Angels in 2000 and recently rejoined the Board of Directors as Secretary. While working with Kitchen Angels has always been her priority, she has also served on the boards of Santa Fe Habitat for Humanity, Santa Fe Council of International Relations, Friends of the Wheelwright Museum, and The United World College of the American West. Sarah owned and operated a kitchen store in California for 20 years, so it was natural that she shared in the founding of KITCHENALITY, a shop selling gently used kitchenware to support Kitchen Angels, in 2015.
Originally from Evanston, Illinois, Karen moved to Santa Fe 36 years ago. She started cooking for Kitchen Angels in 2011 and has been a member of the Capital Campaign Committee. Over the years Karen has served on the Rio Grande School board, Santa Fe Prep Booster Club Board, Santa Fe Concert Association board, and Santa Fe Association of Realtors Community Service committee. Karen has been a licensed realtor with Sotheby’s International Realty for 30 years, specializing in residential properties. Her passions include cooking, hiking, cycling, skiing, yoga, and travel. Karen shares, “After a major cycling accident and being homebound for several months, I realized if it weren’t for my dear friends and family I wouldn’t have access to meals. After my recovery I volunteered for Kitchen Angels and felt such joy knowing I could make a difference in so many people’s lives!” She is thrilled that her daughter, who is an OB/GYN, has returned to New Mexico to help woman in her practice in Espanola. Karen has a new baby granddaughter, Sage.
Maureen is a Connecticut native who moved to Santa Fe via Arizona in 2014. Her professional background has focused on sales, marketing and fundraising in which she has broken sales records for the largest sale in the history of a Connecticut commercial real estate firm and received awards for outstanding community service from the Arizona Realtors Association. She was the Director of Philanthropy for Habitat for Humanity Tucson before moving to Santa Fe and is now the Development Director for Cornerstones Community Partnerships. She serves on the Board of the New Mexico Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts and on the Asset Oversight Committee for Futures for Children. Travel is her number one passion, followed by film, the performing arts, reading, and hiking, Maureen attended Hollins College, Virginia and the Sorbonne University, in Paris, France. She shares, “I fully embrace Kitchen Angels’ work of not just serving food to those in need, but preparing meals that are specific to individual needs and delivering them with care and compassion.”