Our Board & Key Staff Members

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KRISTEN COX

Executive Director

Kristen Cox has been a lifelong activist, with a masters in Clinical Psychology, and has led many large and successful volunteer organizations. Her interest

in social justice has had her traveling most of the country, trying to help people in difficult predicaments, like survivors of two separate hurricanes, and indigenous people fighting oil pipelines. Her concern for the community has always been apparent in her actions, whether on the frontline or behind the scenes. Through her activism, she determined that alternative systems of supporting the community, especially in disadvantaged demographics, were becoming necessary.  In 2017, she began to work toward creating a worker's cooperative that would benefit any and all in need and that has become Long Beach Community Table. She is grateful to have connected with so many incredible people, which have created a very successful team that truly cares about the dignity and sustainability of the community.

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JAMIES SHUFORD

Homebound Program Manager

Jamies Shuford, a native of Chicago, has been living in Los Angeles County since 1976. He began his advocacy work with the homeless at Lamp 

Community in Skid Row in 1992. As a graduate of Illinois State University, his personal mission statement is to eradicate homelessness and poverty in a humane way. In recent years he has worked with Skidrow Advocacy Group Inc., the AIDS Food Store, and currently leads operations for Long Beach Community Table’s Home Food Delivery program, bringing weekly groceries to seniors and shut-ins.

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NIMMY JACOB

Distribution Coordinator

Nimmy grew up in the southernmost state of India: Kerala. As an undergrad, she studied English language and literature, earning a Bachelor’s degree

in Education and a Masters in Communication. Before relocating to the United States, Jacob was a high school teacher. Her passion for teaching goes hand in hand with her commitment to social justice; she believes that education is the best way to reform a society.

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KELLI SHELTON-BLAKELY

Chief Administrator

Since October 2018, Kelli has been one of Long Beach Community Table’s most ardent supporters and volunteers. Her current focus is operations and

bookkeeping; previously, she supported the organization’s vegetable garden builds, site procurement, materials acquisition, and maintenance. Kelli retired in 2016 from a lengthy career in outdoor recreation sales, marketing, and event management and has lived in Long Beach for more than 25 years. She is an advocate, foster, and adopter with Bullies and Buddies, a Southern California dog rescue.

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OFELIA RIVERA

Outreach Coordinator

Since moving to Long Beach in 1994, Ofelia has been self-employed and engaged in the community as a food activist. In 2002, she started her own

community garden, then volunteered with SoCal Harvest and Harvest Partners, gleaning produce and fruit from backyard gardens. Ofelia built relationships with farmers’ markets to collect recovered produce for the local Food Not Bombs group and Christian Outreach Appeal (in downtown Long Beach), to feed vegan meals to homeless residents several times a week. Ofelia joined Long Beach Fresh as food advocacy liaison and grower, supporting policy changes regarding food access. She is an active Board member for the Maye Center and with LBCT as Outreach Coordinator. She continues to collect vegetables and other necessities from local farmers’ markets and other locations.

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KIMBERLY HARGRAVE

Board Secretary

Kimberly was raised in southern California by parents who encouraged adventure and curiosity. She earned a BA in International Relations and

an MA in Educational Leadership from University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA. She is deeply appreciative of her unique opportunities to study and work in several countries, and aims to share the gifts from those experiences with the greater community, while learning from others along the way. As Secretary, Kimberly is responsible for meeting facilitation, logistics, and minutes recording; she also participates often as a volunteer in the field.

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Brenda Gutierrez

Communications Director

Brenda Gutierrez is a community organizer. She helps manage the warehouse and social media as well as helps with some fundraising and is helping with grants.

Brenda has an Associates degree from Los Angeles Community College in Human Services/Drug & Alcohol Counseling as well as a Grant writing certificate. Brenda also has a Medical Assistant degree from American Career College. She is currently a crisis counselor for victims and survivors of  domestic violence and sexual assault.

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MARIA SHAFER

Crop Swap Organizer

Originally from Cuba, Maria has called Long Beach, California, home for most of her life. She was raised by a strong single mother to value hard

work, community, and compassion. She graduated from Cal State University Dominguez Hills with a degree in Small Business Administration, also as a single mother with two sons. Now retired, Maria manages her small business and has the time to volunteer for Long Beach Community Table—an organization that works hard, values community, and practices compassion. Helping to coordinate community events such as monthly crop swaps, garden-building teams and classes, and distribution of fresh food to those in need on behalf of LBCT has been the perfect outlet for Maria.

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REBECCA GUILLEN

Garden Program Manager

A Southern California native, Rebecca grew up in Paramount, where her family has lived for over 100 years.  She likes to say that she is truly rooted in the Long Beach area.  Surrounded by

dairy farms, their home always had animals and a small garden, which instilled a love of nature from a very young age. Her passion today is helping others to live more sustainably by growing their own food, preserving their harvests, and understanding how they play an important role in cultivating the local ecosystem. An active member of her local gardening community, Rebecca has grown her own organic produce year-round since 2012, and teaches gardening basics to many of her neighbors. In addition, she has helped to build two children’s gardens and a local community garden. Her goal in managing LBCT’s gardens is to ensure that they continue to thrive and give back to the community that so desperately needs our support, by providing healthy fruits and vegetables for their families.

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Paula Valle- Bowman

Purchasing

Born and raised in California, Paula made Long Beach her home after falling in love with its diversity. Her Passion for community service led her to a degree in social work. Paula has worked with diverse populations and spent many years helping displaced  workers with job training

Paula has been an advocate for both children and adults with brain injuries and sat on the board of the Brain Injury Association of California. Paula's expertise lies in project and case management, counseling, crisis intervention, resourcing, facilitating, targeting goals and setting realistic pathways to achieve them. Paula is grateful her path crossed with Kristen which brought her to LBCT.