We want you to get to know our board members - the inspiring individuals who shape and uphold Caring Hands' mission as we forge ahead with purpose and compassion. Meet Deborah Stearns, a dedicated advocate for combating food insecurity and one of Caring Hands' newest board members. Deborah is driven by a passion for embodying the teachings of Jesus through meaningful community engagement and addressing the immediate needs of our neighbors. She lives according to these tenets: never give up on prayer, sometimes God answers in unexpected ways, and keep the faith - always!
What do you do for a living?
After over 30 years in the market research industry, I'm retired.
What is your church home?
Ss. John and Paul Catholic Church
When did you join the Caring Hands board?
I joined in January of 2024 and am excited to be part of Caring Hands.
What inspired you to serve at Caring Hands?
Through my research work, I traveled the state of Iowa and saw firsthand the food deserts throughout rural and urban areas. I had the opportunity to speak to Iowans and listen to their personal stories. Many struggled to pay rent, find access to nutritious food, or find their next meal. The Caring Hands Food Pantry was the perfect opportunity for me to reach out and help support our neighbors in the community.
What do you hope Caring Hands accomplishes in the next six months?
As we continue to serve more of our neighbors in the community through the retail store, the Uplift program, and the Food Pantry, we continue to increase/find ways to increase the number of our awesome volunteers.
What do you wish people knew about Caring Hands?
At Caring Hands, we mobilize compassion and are great listeners.
In 2023, we served over 23,000 individuals and 9,000 households through our food pantry. We also distributed 1M pounds of food!
Tell us one fun fact most people don't know about you.
I'm a former radio news reporter (Spencer, Ames, and Newton) and an avid reader.
Tell us anything else we should know about you.
My family has lived in Altoona for 32 years. We moved here in 1992 to open the Fareway store.