By Michelle Weiss
Special to the Express
Senior nutrition in Yolo County soon will be advanced at a pivotal time by Meals on Wheels Yolo County, as nonprofit professional Joy Cohan has been announced as the organization’s new Executive Director. Her work will begin Jan. 3.
Cohan currently serves at Yolo Food Bank as the Director of Philanthropic Engagement, where she has seen that organization through a time of both dire challenge and dynamic growth over the past four years. In addition to raising both awareness and funding to significantly increase Yolo Food Bank’s impact, Cohan also has been integral to an executive team that elevated food security service to the community dramatically, especially since the onset of the pandemic.
“We are elated by Joy’s decision to lead our team to discover new and broadened opportunities to meet the considerable nutritional needs of seniors and others who may be homebound and isolated in Yolo County,” Meals on Wheels Board chair Dr. James Barrett stated. “Her knowledge of the local food security landscape, her extensive community relationships, and her skill set as a nonprofit manager and fundraiser combine to paint a bright future for Meals on Wheels and the people who depend upon us.”
A Davis resident for nearly a decade and a 20-year resident of Woodland prior, Cohan has been engaged extensively as both a paid professional and as a volunteer throughout Yolo County. Previous to her experience at Yolo Food Bank, she contributed as Executive Director at both Davis Downtown and Academics Without Borders, Development Director at Hillel at Davis and Sacramento, and provided marketing, communications, and fundraising expertise to a wide range of local nonprofit organizations.
Last year, she completed the Sacramento Region Community Foundation’s “The Lab Capacity Building Program,” focused upon outcomes-based nonprofit innovation and problem-solving. Cohan is married with three adult sons.
Last month, Christi Skibbins departed Meals on Wheels after eight years as Executive Director. She is now the Director of Special Projects at the new Museum of Science and Curiosity in Sacramento.
“Aging adults are one of the primary populations experiencing unmet needs for food security in Yolo County, especially as the pandemic lingers,” Cohan commented. “There is so much potential not only to address the needs already surfaced, but to dive in more deeply to discover, understand, and serve the challenges unique to rural and other underserved communities, and to ensure increased equity in doing so. This is both an important and transformation time for Meals on Wheels, and I’m honored to provide leadership to develop both the resources and the collaborative relationships that will be essential to this work.”
Meals on Wheels Yolo County provides nutrition and social contact to senior citizens age 60 and older and other homebound individuals, currently focused upon thrice-weekly COVID-19-safe home deliveries of five hot and frozen meals. As many as 400 food insecure adults have been served 85,000 meals in the past year alone.
With a rich, nearly 50-year history of nourishing older adults both at their doorsteps and in congregant settings, Meals on Wheels thrives thanks to donations of funds and time from the community. To connect with services or to offer support, please visit https://mowyolo.org or call 530-662-7035.