Our Team

Ross Wishnick

Ross Wishnick

President

Ross Wishnick was a homebuilder for 25 years specializing in the development of active adult communities. He was a senior executive with Crestwood Village, Inc. (1978-1997), a New Jersey developer and one of the pioneers in that segment of the homebuilding industry. In addition, Mr. Wishnick was a founding director of First Washington State Bank headquartered in Windsor, New Jersey, and served as such from 1988 to 2005. He helped grow the bank from one branch to fifteen branches and from $3 million in assets to $500 million in assets. He served on the loan, personnel and technology committees during his tenure. For twelve years, Mr. Wishnick was a member of and then chair of the Princeton Human Services Commission (2009-2020), which provides services to youths and seniors in general assistance and advocacy for this segment of the local population. As part of this Commission, Mr. Wishnick took the lead  in founding Send Hunger Packing Princeton (2013-present), which provides supplemental  food  for students who together with their families are food insecure.   Today the organization now has grown to include support for pre school and camps, public free raised bed gardens, free pantries, vertical indoor hydroponic gardens and general advocacy for those in need.. Mr. Wishnick is also a member of the Princeton Democratic Municipal Committee (PDMC) (2008-present) which is an elected position representing District 2.   Mr. Wishnick is also a founding director of The Bank of Princeton which opened for business in 2007 and currently serves as Vice Chairman. 

Melissa Urias Mercuro

Melissa Urias Mercuro

Vice President

Melissa Urias Mercuro is the Associate Director for Community Relations in the Office of Community and Regional Affairs at Princeton University. In her position, she helps to strengthen the University’s relationship with the Princeton community and support opportunities for faculty, staff, and students to be active participants in community life by collaborating with other campus and community organizations.

Prior to joining Princeton University, Melissa worked for the Municipality of Princeton as the Director of Human Services. In this position, she managed all services and programs offered by the department, including public assistance, emergency homelessness assistance, pandemic relief, Welcoming Week, immigration outreach, Princeton’s Summer Youth Employment Program and charitable drives for economically disadvantaged youth.

A Princeton native who grew up in the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood, she attended Princeton Public Schools. She is a licensed social worker and has a master’s in social work with a concentration in community-based leadership from Fordham University and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish with a minor in Public Health from Rutgers University.

Julie Ramirez

Julie Ramirez

Secretary

Julie Ramirez has held many senior project management roles at Goldman Sachs, Princeton University, and is currently responsible for strategy and planning for Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Trading and Operations Technology. Julie also serves as a volunteer on Princeton’s Citizens Finance Advisory Committee.

Julie received a Bachelor degree from Tufts University and a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University.

She and her husband have lived in Princeton for over 15 years and have 3 children in the  Princeton Public Schools and one who has graduated.

Julie is a fervent supporter of public education and recognizes how difficult it would be to concentrate on learning when hunger is permeating your life.

Owen O’Donnell

Owen O’Donnell

Treasurer

Owen O’Donnell is senior director at Information Today, Inc., a publishing and conference firm, where he is responsible for the collection and management of database information used in numerous online reference sites and publications.

 He has been active in the Princeton community since moving here with his family in 2004. Among the roles he has held are judge for the Princeton High School Speech and Debate team, president (for two years) and treasurer (for three years) of the Princeton Community Democratic Organization, and he is currently a member of the Princeton Planning Board.

 Owen began volunteering with SHUPP in October 2022 and is a member of the Food Subcommittee, responsible for stocking free pantries in town.

Breana Newton

Breana Newton

Volunteer, Board Member

Breana is the program coordinator at Princeton Senior Resource Center. She is a recent graduate of Rider University. While at Princeton High School she participated as a Peer Educator at HiTops, a health education and advocacy organization promoting healthy relationships and supportive connections. She interned at the local software firm, Tangible Value and worked at Trader Joe’s. Breana is now a Program Associate and Rental Coordinator for the nonprofit Princeton Senior Resource Center catering to senior citizens in the Princeton area. Breana grew up in Princeton and from personal experiences understands the challenges the food insecurity the participants in SHUPP have on occasion. 

Trinidad Rodriguez

Trinidad Rodriguez

Volunteer, Board Member

Trinidad Rodriguez is the Family Liaison for Princeton Middle School and Bilingual (English/Spanish) Outreach Coordinator for Princeton Human Services (Municipality of Princeton). As a Princeton native from the Princeton Community Village and Princeton Public Schools; Trinidad has joined the SHUPP board to advocate and support all students who are faced with food insecurities.

From her own personal experience, as well as having seen first hand while working for the Princeton YMCA for nearly 20 years, and currently with the Princeton Public Schools (Princeton Middle School) and Princeton Human Services – Trinidad can say without qualification that food insecurities in Princeton does exist. 

With great pride and dedication, Trinidad will continue to support Princeton students with the Send Hunger Packing Princeton team. Let’s Send Hunger Packing!

 

Sam Nelson

Sam Nelson

Volunteer, Board Member

As a long time native of Princeton, Sam Nelson attended the Princeton Public School System, graduating from Princeton High School in 2013. After high school, Sam attended Quinnipiac University in Hamden, CT where he graduated with a degree in Management in 2017. Over the years, Sam has developed a vast number of skills as he has worked across different industries from bio-medical marketing to retail management. Through his many experiences, Sam has developed a love for creating social programs and finding ways to build a sustainable future for those around him.

Sam is currently a Youth Outreach Coordinator under Human Services for the Municipality of Princeton. He facilitates Advocacy for Youth Program (AYP) and Princeton Youth Project(PYP), two municipal youth programs where he works directly with the students of Princeton to empower and offer them opportunities to refocus their energies toward healthier pursuits in life. Initially created to reduce juvenile delinquency, the Youth Development Programs under Human Services has been restructured to provide students with the space to achieve academic and personal success and participate in civic engagement as they strive to be the leaders of tomorrow.

Sam has developed a keen understanding of the community and has entwined himself in the local resources in Princeton to offer better programs and assistance for his youth participants. He had come across SHUPP and became inspired by its mission and has brought students from his program to volunteer on SHUPP community projects.

Bob Rabner

Bob Rabner

Volunteer

As the owner of Rabner Graphics, a local graphic design, and creative services firm, Bob has always made it a practice to contribute his time and design resources to his local community. While living outside of Philadelphia, he participated in Business Volunteers for The Arts in Philadelphia and donated his design skills to benefit numerous local non profits. As a now long time Princeton resident, he has aligned himself with causes near and dear to his heart, the sadly discontinued Princeton composting initiative for one, and SHUPPrinceton.

Izzy Tellez

Izzy Tellez

Student Liaison

Isabel “Izzy” Tellez is a junior at Princeton High school where she leads the Princeton Community Garden Club and is a member of the poetry club. After a series of injuries that sidelined her from participating in varsity crew and cross country, Izzy found her passion in community gardening. As a result, she has built hydroponic gardens and has led volunteer efforts for the Princeton Free Garden project, a Send Hunger Packing Princeton initiative. Additionally, she is on the garden and marketing committee for SHUPP.

Her passion for sustainability has led her to study the different urban gardens in Barranquilla, Colombia, and in Rome, Italy, examining their impact on carbon emission mitigation, food security, mental health and wellness as well as community empowerment.

When she’s not in the garden, Izzy mentors young girls in Latin America, empowering them to learn English and pursue STEM. In addition to volunteering with local and international nonprofits, she works at a flower farm. More recently Izzy addressed an international audience at the Princeton University Youth Climate and Conservation Summit 2023.

Become a Volunteer and join us!

We are always looking for volunteers to help with ongoing efforts and special events. Whether you have a few hours a month or few hours a year, please consider Send Hunger Packing Princeton.

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