Board Member Profile: Carolyn Kohrs

Updated: Feb 13, 2020

Carolyn Kohrs, FFEN Board Member

This year we're continuing our profile series featuring FFEN's board, including longtime member Carolyn Kohrs. Recently, we had a chance to talk with Carolyn and learn a little bit about her and the values that motivate her work. What was your background before FFEN? Did it lead directly into your role in the organization or has your work involved new experiences for you? 

My consulting background in engineering and project management and as a small business founder definitely created a good foundation for my work at FFEN. 

Did you have any involvement with hunger relief efforts prior to FFEN? Can you say a little about what drew you to this cause and why it’s important to you?  

Carolyn helping to distribute produce at Waite House Food Shelf in Minneapolis

As a young family and transplant to Minnesota in 1990, we were living in the suburban metro area and became connected with our local food shelf primarily through our church. We were very impressed with the work our local shelf accomplished with an army of a mostly volunteer workforce.  Through our experiences with our shelf we also began to understand the network of food shelves in communities across the state and how difficult it has been for individual shelves to maintain a level of stability in their operations.   

Do you have any particular stories or moments from your work that you would like to share with readers? Something that illustrates the meaning and importance of the work or how you engage with FFEN’s mission?

Helping the volunteers across the state make small and large changes towards improving their individual operations has immediate and long-term effects. I am regularly blown away by the kindness and dedication I see daily in the various urban and rural areas.  Food shelf operators' willingness to consider change and the honest gratitude for support of their mission is highly motivating. The people that make up these organizations are driven to provide food and compassion to their neighbors in need.

Carolyn meeting with volunteers at the Helping Hands Food Shelf to begin talking about shifting to client choice

Through our recent work assisting Helping Hands in Mahnomen, Minnesota convert to a choice distribution model, we received and continue to receive support from FFEN grantees and partners in Thief River Falls and Perham [click here to read more about FFEN's collaboration with Helping Hands]. The community is generous and willing to share resources and best practices, and this has the effect of lifting the whole system.


Thank you to Carolyn Kohrs for taking the time to answer our questions! If you'd like to learn more about the members of FFEN's board, check out the profiles of its newest members: Andréa Kish-Bailey and Haley Nelson. To learn more about FFEN’s mission and how you can help, click here.