Community Harvest Food Bank CEO set to retire next month

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) The CEO of Community Harvest Food Bank will be retiring at the end of June after spending more than 16 years with the organization.

John Wolf served on the food bank’s Board of Directors from 2005-2015, and served as Board President for three years. In 2016, he joined the Community Harvest Food Bank Executive Leadership Team, serving as CEO alongside Carmen Cumberland, Executive President.

John Wolf and Carmen Cumberland
John Wolf and Carmen Cumberland

“I got to know John when he was a board member and Board President of Community Harvest Food Bank,” said Carmen Cumberland, Executive President. “It has been my pleasure to work alongside John as part of the leadership team, and I have greatly appreciated the skills and expertise he brought to the table. Along with his professional skills, he has displayed a big heart and genuine compassion for the people we serve, and his work has meant a lot to the success of Community Harvest Food Bank. I want to personally thank John for his years of dedicated service and I wish him well in his retirement.”

“John has contributed immeasurably to so many beneficial community programs addressing food insecurity within our elderly, veterans, children and families in Northern Indiana,” said Donna Van Vlerah, Community Harvest Board President and Parkview Health Senior Vice President, Support Division. “His expertise knowledge of warehousing and distribution operations has simply made Community Harvest a stronger organization.  Most notably, John has given freely of himself and left a positive mark on thousands of our community members as if they were a member of his own family. We are truly blessed to have John support Community Harvest Food Bank over the last 16 years!”

Through his tenure on both the Board of Directors and as CEO, John was instrumental in the food bank’s success, serving food insecure populations of northeast Indiana with dignity and compassion. While on the Board of Directors, John was a District Manager for Walmart, where he developed and piloted the Retail Donation program partnering retail establishments and food banks, which is still used today.

As CEO, John helped secure over a million pounds of food from local farms in order to provide fresh, healthy produce through Community Harvest programs. In addition, over 200,000 pounds of produce were donated and gleaned from farmers’ fields, harvested by food bank volunteer groups. John was also instrumental in upgrading the fleet of refrigerated trucks used for mobile distributions, securing additional dry trailer storage, and improving the warehouse locations with brand new racking and road signs.

At the food bank’s North Coliseum Fort Wayne location, John developed relationships with local food businesses and opened up the facility’s commercial kitchen and storage space to other entrepreneurs. He also made available office space to The Crossing, a state-accredited academic institution dedicated to equipping students for the future through job training and faith-based character education. Since The Crossing’s partnership, 75 students have graduated through the program.

In 2020, John led the effort to introduce solar power to the North Coliseum location, and in March 2021, a solar array was activated thanks to Sun For All funding that will provide over 66,000 kWh of energy per year. This will allow the food bank to dedicate the energy savings back to hunger relief programs.

Board, leadership, and staff of Community Harvest wish to thank John for his tireless commitment to hunger relief and wish him happiness as he embarks on the next part of his journey.

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