Board of Directors
Rev. Jack Gilpin, Board Chair
Rev. Jack Gilpin is the Rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church, New Milford, where he has served since 2012, and where Loaves and Fishes was founded and spent its first five years. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University, and a master’s in divinity from Union Theological Seminary. He has lived in Roxbury for 22 years, with his wife and three children. He has been a professional actor for 44 years, appearing on and off-Broadway, on many television shows, and in over 30 feature films.
Maria Busi, Vice Chair
Lisa Martin, CO COO
Lisa Martin was born and raised in New Milford, Connecticut and has deep ties to the community. After graduation from Florida International University in Miami, Florida she became licensed as an occupational therapist. Ms. Martin returned to New Milford in 1998, and has been a pediatric occupational therapist for 21 years, working primarily in the local school systems. She began volunteering at Loaves & Fishes in 2006, and in 2007 she became Secretary/Treasurer for the organization. Ms. Martin became President in 2012 with the retirement of Biddy and John Roger. Since that time she has been responsible for daily operations as well as leading the organization through the initial stages of this project, including a lengthy and ultimately successful process that culminated in approval by New Milford Planning and Zoning to construct the Danny Straub Community Outreach Center, to which Loaves & Fishes will relocate upon completion. Ms. Martin’s vision for Loaves & Fishes is to enable the organization to continue its long- standing role of providing critical assistance to New Milford residents.
Charlie Meade, CO COO
Charlie is a long time resident of New Milford whose faith journey has led him to the opportunity to serve at Loaves and Fishes as CO COO for approximately one year. He has been a long term advocate for those struggling with homelessness and addictions. He serves as chair of the advisory board of Christian Community Outreach Ministries in Danbury, and prior to his role at Loaves and Fishes was a board member of Good Samaritan Mission. Charlie is an active member of the Roxbury Congregational Church currently serving on their Board of Trustees. He and his wife Diane started and maintain a weekend breakfast ministry program for the homeless and food insecure at St. John’s Church in New Milford. Professionally Charlie owns an independent Raymond James financial services office in Bethel, CT.
Sarah Straub, Treasurer
Sarah Straub has deep roots in New Milford; she is descended on her father's side from the second family of settlers in town in the 1700s, who were also amongst the original founders of the First Congregational Church in New Milford. She has been associated with Loaves & Fishes since 2012, beginning with food preparation and service but quickly expanding her role to include that of Treasurer. She has strong experience in the operation and financial management of small businesses, having managed daily operations at Straub Plumbing in New Milford for over 12 years. In addition to her financial management and accounting skills, Ms. Straub has been involved in real estate and property management in New Milford for many years. She sold the 25/29 Bridge Street property to Loaves & Fishes Hospitality House on December 30, 2015, and remains the mortgage holder. She has long-standing ties to New Milford and is committed to the opening of the Danny Straub Community Outreach Center, named after her late husband, as a new home for Loaves & Fishes and a means to a better life for those in need.
Jim Rains, Secretary
Jim Rains majored in music history and piano at Baylor University in Texas and received a B.S. in business from Charter Oak College in 1992. Mr. Rains has lived in New Milford since 1996 with his wife, Linda. He has worked in information technology, project/program management and proposal development for 35 years; he spent 15 years working for large IT consulting firms before joining The Hartford Insurance Group in 2006, where he focuses on the analysis, detection and prevention of insurance fraud; he is a PMI-certified project manager. Mr. Rains has been involved with Loaves and Fishes for over four years, working initially in the kitchen with other local volunteers and joining the Board of Directors in 2016. He brings his experience in developing large business proposals to Loaves and Fishes and is active in soliciting grants for operations and capital projects. Mr. Rains also serves on the Vestry of St. John’s Episcopal Church in New Milford.
Jessica Keizer has been associated with Loaves & Fishes since its inception. She is the daughter of Biddy and John Roger, who together with a small group of local residents founded the organization in 1984. Ms. Keizer graduated from the Stone School of Business in 1979 and has worked since in banking and credit unions, with experience in both operations and management. Ms. Keizer has been a New Milford resident for most of her life and has long-standing ties to the community. She believes strongly in the critical role that Loaves & Fishes has in the life of New Milford and in the support of people on the margins.
Linda Rains was born and raised in the coastal town of Fairfield, CT. She received her associates’ degree from the University of Bridgeport and soon after started her career in retail management. Years later she moved to Norwalk, CT were she bought her first home and started her new career as an IT technical recruiter. She “recruited” Jim Rains to work for her firm; ten years later they were married, and shortly thereafter moved to a small farm in New Milford with their horses and cats. Ms. Rains continued her career working in technical recruiting for a number of years, and has now lived in New Milford for 21 years. Ms. Rains is an advocate for those in need, and acknowledges a responsibility to aid the most vulnerable amongst us. She volunteers at Loaves and Fishes, cooking and serving, and at Tall Paul’s Closet distributing clothes to those in need. Ms. Rains has been a member of the Board of Directors since 2016.
Larry Tripp moved to New Milford in 1962 as a newly minted Math teacher at the New Milford High School – on East Street. Larry has been a volunteer EMT with the New Milford Ambulance Association for 15 years. Dr. Tripp retired from teaching in 1992. He held a Broker’s license since 1962 and became an active Realtor after retiring from teaching. He served on the building committee for the newest high school on Route 7. He has worked at the Loaves and Fishes Program for years and is serving on the New Milford Board of Finance for his third term. He also serves on the New Milford United Methodist Board of Trustees.
In 1964 Patricia Wilson Tripp became New Milford’s first Speech and Hearing Therapist for the New Milford Board of Education. After 7 years as a speech therapist and Kindergarten teacher, she left education for the greener pastures of a “stay at home” and foster Mom. In the 1980’s she became a Real Estate Broker and served two terms on the New Milford Town Council. She served on the building committee for the Northville School. She has worked with Loaves and Fishes since its inception 35 years ago – mostly on a team from the Methodist Church that served dinners once a month and made sandwiches when that program was introduced. She has served the Methodist Church in various capacities since 1964.