Fauquier FISH has announced the appointment of Kathryn Lamonia as the organization’s new executive director. She is FISH’s first paid position in 37 years of operation; she started work Aug. 1.
A spokesman for FISH said in a press release that substantial program growth over the past several years has necessitated a shift from volunteer-based management. Since 2014, Fauquier FISH has seen a nearly 500% increase in its operational budget. The number of community members served by the organization has risen by the thousands each year, and the number of volunteer hours required to fulfill FISH’s mission has also risen dramatically, said the press release.
FISH operates three large-scale programs: a food pantry that distributes meals to nearly 3,000 individuals each year; the Weekend Power Pack program, which sends food home to 300-plus school-aged children each week, and a book bag school supply drive that provides 600 to 800 children with needed supplies every August.
Additionally, the organization provides specialized meals for seniors and distributes hundreds of holiday meal baskets to families each December. The press release explained, “The current health pandemic has created an even greater surge in need across all of FISH’s programs – with no signs of slowing down. Fauquier FISH’s board of directors came to the decision that to continue providing the exceptional level of service the community has come to expect, the role of executive director” would be filled by a paid employee.
In her new role, Lamonia will oversee operations for all of FISH’s programs.
Lamonia’s early wins, said the press release, include securing a reliable bulk food source for the organization’s Weekend Power Pack program and helping to facilitate the program’s upcoming relocation to Appleton Campbell’s recently vacated space in Old Town Warrenton.
FISH board member Megan Oakley said, “Kathryn has brought tons of positive energy, determination, and resilience to her position. We are thrilled to have her join the FISH family and look forward to her leadership as we move into this next phase of organizational development.”
Before joining FISH, Lamonia served in management roles at The Inn at Little Washington and as operator of Piccadilly Ltd., an Old Town Warrenton gift shop, for 13 years before the store closed in 2017.
Lamonia was quoted in the press release: “I knew I wanted to move into the non-profit sector and I was very impressed with FISH’s mission, vision and values; food insecurity and childhood hunger are issues I care deeply about. The opportunity to work with such an engaged board of directors and their dedicated volunteers was very appealing. It is remarkable that FISH has grown so quickly while being run solely by volunteers; most non-profits operating on this scope and level have a paid staff. I am sincerely honored to be FISH’s first employee.”
Fauquier FISH’s board members, Carol Schumacher and Charity Furness, preceded Kathryn as volunteer executive directors.