Luis Rodriguez-Porter is the Network Relations Representative for Connecticut Foodshare, serving the Hartford community. Luis will be working with partners in the city. “I will be responsible for creating stronger partnerships, collaborating with you all and transforming the way we look at food pantries in our communities,” Luis says.
Prior to joining Connecticut Foodshare, Luis worked for CREC (Capitol Region Education Council) as a preschool teacher for several years before becoming the first Family and Community Engagement Specialist in the district. His role was to connect community resources and help close the achievement gap through the lens of family engagement. His most recent role was as CREC Head Start Family Support Specialist overseeing the eligibility, recruitment, selection, enrollment, attendance and marketing for the program and its partners Catholic Charities, The Village, and ACCES. He also supervised a team of family service workers that worked with families in the program to build relationships to set family goals.
Describing himself and the skills he has used in his work and life that will help him at the food bank, Luis says, “I am an outside the box thinker, super creative, and enjoy connecting with my community.”
In his spare time, Luis enjoys spending time with his husband Curtis and their son, Jamauri, traveling through the New England states. He is an avid cycling instructor and enjoys volunteering in his community.
Jessica Vargas has joined Connecticut Foodshare as a Network Relations Representative in the New Britain-Waterbury region. She was most recently at Community Health Network of Connecticut (CHNCT) where she worked for the past 13 years. Her last role at CHNCT was as a Certified Community Health Worker, which involved outreach to Husky participants and assisting families navigate community resources. Jessica says, “My role as a Community Health Worker consisted of providing a positive and supportive relationship to foster and adopt healthier behaviors leading to better health outcomes. I worked collaboratively with many community action agencies and many other nonprofit organizations to get members connected with services and resources needed.”
Jessica holds an Associate’s degree in Business Administration from Tunxis Community College and is currently a student at Charter Oak State College where she is working toward a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership. “Working with the Medicaid population made me aware of the many socio-economic disparities affecting so many communities and is where I developed my passion to really want to make a difference. I am eager to expand my knowledge in the food industry to be able to provide added support to my community and the many others I will serve,” Jessica says.
Jessica is a resident of New Britain, where she lives with her two teenage children, Jaliyah and Jordan. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, photography, road trips, reading, and travel.