Board Members

Eva Houghton Board President

Eva, a lifelong resident of Canton, OH, wife, mother, small business owner and President of the Harrisburg Royal Neighborhood Association has been with StarkFresh from its beginning.  

This program participant-turned-volunteer-turned-board president spends her free time with her family and friends enjoying festivals, music and volunteering with Habitat for Humanity.

Eva loves her community and is concerned that people are so nutrient deficient due to the lack of access to food and finances.  

Her passion and the solutions StarkFresh offers to combat those deficiencies are what drives her to lead.

Cathy Brown Vice President

After raising a household of children into adulthood, Cathy spends her energy serving her community through volunteering in programs such as Canton’s Blessings in a Backpack Program.

 Cathy has an accounting background and provides valuable skill and financial expertise to the board.

Cathy’s love for her community and her desire to see it be improved is what drives her to be part of StarkFresh.

Bruce JosephBoard Treasurer

Bruce, the Wellness Online Support and Outreach go-to at AultCare, brings his love of food and good nutrition to the board.  

When he isn’t helping coach clients to healthier eating choices he spends his free time eating & talking about food, traveling, watching movies and getting together with friends as much as he can.  

What he loves most about being on the board is being able to be able to make such a positive impact on the nutrition and education to this community.

Rita Baker – Board Member

Rita is a researcher assistant at Millman National Land Services and previously was the Program Manager at The Stock Pile, a non-profit building material reuse store located in Canton, OH.  In her free time she enjoys adventures with her husband and son and can be regularly found enjoying the local music scene when time allows.

What she loves most about serving on the StarkFresh board is how StarkFresh works hand-in-hand WITH others in the community to provide accessible services and opportunities, effectively helping people help each other and rising up the community, together.

Ryan Maxwell – Board Member

After obtaining a Bachelors in Political Science/History from Miami University, Ryan went on to graduate from the College of Law at Northern Kentucky University and received his law license in 2014.  Currently working as an attorney at Community Legal Aid Services, Ryan brings his knowledge of serving those throughout Stark County who live in impoverished communities to the StarkFresh board, where better, more consistent food access is crucially needed.

In his spare time you can find him spending time with his family, coaching youth soccer or enjoying the latest superhero film.

Daniel Preacher – Board Member

With a Bachelors Degree in Organizational Management, and an Associates Degree in Computer Technology, Daniel works as an Administrative Assistant at the University of Akron.  He operates his own freelance marketing business as well as manages a small social cause called Decide to Be Happy, is the co-founder of his local neighborhood association, and runs a podcast in his spare time.

When not working, he enjoys anything relating to music.  He connects with StarkFresh’s mission primarily because of the social justice aspects of using food to benefit the city he grew up in and where he resides.

Joshua CoonBoard Secretary

After obtaining a Bachelors in Public Relations from Kent State, years of experience in the film exhibition industry and a lasting reputation in the “undergound” local music scene,  Joshua brings his General Manager skills from Regal to StarkFresh’s board where he serves as a champion for teaching families how to enjoy healthy, delicious meals on a budget.

He doesn’t sew or do arts and crafts but he enjoys spending time with his wife and twin daughters, rooting for the Browns, Indians and Cavaliers and impersonating various celebrity chefs while cooking for the family at home.


Patricia Herig  – Board Member

Tricia has been working at helping businesses and individuals with their banking needs for the past 31 years

When not helping people accomplish their financial goals, she enjoys spending time traveling and spending quality time with her family and three dogs.

She is passionate about bettering the community that she lives and works in by increasing nutritional food and education to people who have a hard time accessing those options.

Joy Benjamin – Board Member

Joy is a registered dietician nutritionist for Aultcare and has practiced dietetics for 20 years where she is able to take her lifelong passion of exercise and eating well and be able to make a difference in the community.

When she isn’t working she loves to spend time outdoors with her family, especially in the garden!

She is excited about her role on the StarkFresh board and being able to be part of a larger impact in educating about nutritious food options.


Christian Ball– Board Member

A Canton native, Christian has a bachelors degree in Business & Org. Communication-PR from The Univ. of Akron.  She is a 13-year veteran of the United States Army Reserve having deployed to Baghdad twice and currently is the Director of Public Affairs and Community Initiatives at the Stark County Prosecutor’s Office.

She’s passionate about serving on the StarkFresh board because combating the socioeconomic issues surrounding food availability deeply effects the neighborhoods in which she grew up. 

Christian is an avid gardener and  resides in Canton with her husband and two children

Travis Kelley – Board Member

Travis brings to StarkFresh 7+ years of nonprofit board experience and a passion for advocating for the disadvantaged.

In his professional career and past board roles, he has worked to help create a sustainable future within his community.

When he has free time for himself he enjoys traveling, writing and reading.

Travis is excited about helping StarkFresh fulfill its mission and do his part in bringing about a more just world.

Valerie Myers  – Board Member

Valerie uses her extensive background as an Associate Professor of Computer Science, Bachelor’s in IT, and Master’s in Instructional Design to help bring stories and technology together through her role at Salesforce.  When she isn’t helping other nonprofits she enjoys spending time with her family and dogs hiking, kayaking, or binge-watching Netflix.

Seeing first-hand how poverty can affect generations of people, Valerie is excited to be part of an organization that produces tangible results towards reducing poverty and hunger.

Tyler Immel– Board Member

Being a CPA with a Bachelors’s Degree and MBA from Walsh University, Tyler is the Director of Finance at the Aultman Health Foundation.

He enjoys spending time with family and friends doing outdoor activities and watching TV.  He lives in Uniontown with his wife and two cats.

He is passionate about being part of the board because of StarkFresh’s approach to tackle the need within our community to address hunger.

Courtney Downey  – Board Member At-Large

Courtney holds a Bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Akron and is working on her Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership at Malone University. 

In her current role as a Service and Support Administrator at Stark DD, she works with people of all ages and abilities to empower them to live life how they want to. 

Courtney is passionate about making Stark County a better place to live.  She believes that by strong communities are inclusive communities and by working together we can make this a reality.

On the weekends you can usually find her looking for new ways to live more sustainably and tending to her small garden.