Megan Murduck, a fresh-faced 23-year-old, has plans to change Catonsville Emergency Food Ministries Network as she steps up as the organization's new executive director.
"Overall, we're a Band-Aid program, and I'd like to take some steps to promote self-sufficiency in the community," said the Ellicott City resident.
The Catonsville organization was established in 1984 by Alice March and several friends in the basement of her Catonsville home, according to a 2006 release from the organization. The organization, once known as Catonsville Emergency Food Ministries Network, has since changed its name to CEFM Network. It has no religious affiliation.
It offers food assistance, as well as funds for eviction prevention, utility assistance and miscellaneous expenses.
The organization provides assistance to people below 80 percent of the median income and serves between 1,200 and 1,400 individuals a year.
CEFM Network relies on its network of volunteers and its board, which is comprised of 10 volunteers, Murduck said.
John Monck, who ran the organization for 10 years, passed the baton to Murduck on Jan. 2. He was still showing her the ropes last week at the Bloomsbury Avenue office the group has occupied since 2006.
"It's good to have someone that's young and energetic," Monck said. "I think it will be good for the organization to have somebody new here.
"Even if she tried things that I tried seven years ago and they didn't work, they might work now," he said.
Monck said he's leaving for personal reasons but may continue volunteering for the organization.
Murduck grew up playing soccer at St. Timothy's Church on Ingleside Avenue, a short distance from CEFM headquarters.
She said she's looking forward to getting to know the Catonsville community.
She earned her bachelor's degree in psychology in 2012 from Grove City College, a Christian liberal arts college about 65 miles north of Pittsburgh.
It was there where she served as president of the school's prison ministry.
Her 21-year-old adopted brother is in prison.
"He's a driving force for me to want to reach out to people," Murduck said.
Her experience working with prison inmates, while different, has prepared her for her role with CEFM Network, Murduck said.
Before joining the CEFM Network, she worked at the Forty West Racquet Club and did research for University of Maryland, Baltimore County's, psychology department.
Murduck said while she enjoyed doing research, she couldn't imagine herself stuck in a lab all day.
She considers herself a people person and enjoys interacting with the community.
Murduck said her parents are the driving force behind her passion for social work.
Her parents, Jim and Jenny Murduck, both joined the Peace Corps after high school. They served in Africa and were married while they were still in the service.
She said they were "thrilled" to hear she got the job at the CEFM Network.
The flowers on a desk in the lobby of the old two-story house that serves as the office of the organization, were sent by her parents, she said.
She grew up doing community service in the Catonsville area and has also traveled internationally to Costa Rica and Mexico with her family to help communities in need, she said.
"It's definitely part of my family environment, to be helping out and reaching out," she said.
Murduck said while she is Christian, she is open to, "people who aren't mainstream."
In her new role, she plans to reach out to make CEFM more sensitive to the needs of the community.
She said she'd like to bring in speakers for a seminar series on financial literacy, for example.
She would also like to expand the organization's reach to aid more people and provide more services to the community.
"Because we're small and our marketing capabilities aren't extensive, we often go unnoticed in the community," Murduck said.
Murduck hopes the organization will expand under her watch. She is looking to recruit more volunteers in order to serve a greater number of people in the community, she said.
"Being able to be part of a smaller nonprofit like CEFM, and see it grow and transform into something bigger and more sensitive to Catonsville's needs really gets me excited," Murduck said.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun