Learn About Our Work

About Us

Our Core Values

These are the things we believe in that will enable us to achieve our vision and mission.

DINE stands for:

Diversity: We believe that by embracing differences, including all voices, and joining forces we can make great strides towards a food secure community for all.

Integration: We believe that by integrating community services, together we can serve the whole person.

Nutrition: We believe in nutritious meals for ALL who need them, this is at the core of our values.

Excellence: We believe that we are accountable to the people we humbly serve. We must hold ourselves to the highest level of learning to alleviate hunger and build food security in our community.

Our Mission

The purpose and business of this non-membership and nonprofit corporation is to provide nutritious meals, and offer comfort, and hope for the future in an atmosphere of dignity and respect regardless of race, color, religion, creed, sex, age, marital status, national origin, mental or physical disability, political belief or affiliation, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.  

Our Vision

To make a systemic impact by feeding the hungry today, and working to help build a healthy and equitable food system and community for all.

The NLCMC is committed to partnering with all sectors of the community to address the root cause of hunger and seek to restore dignity, health, opportunity and hope to people experiencing food insecurity


During just the first three quarters of 2021 the New London Community Meal Center served over 50,000 meals to residents of New London Count. This makes a difference, as 31,330 people in New London County were identified as food insecure by Feeding America.

Fun Fact: 
Patrons report that their favorite meals are tacos, burgers and shepherds pie!

Our Staff

Dr. MaryAnn Martinez

Executive Director
Dr. Martinez has a PhD in Leadership and change in Food Systems and dual Master’s degrees. In addition to education, she brings years of expertise in non-profit and local government. She also has a great deal of practical food systems experience from working in restaurants, and as a vegetable and livestock farmer, in both for-profit and social enterprises. A former masters cycling champion, and a current masters weightlifting champion, when not working MaryAnn can usually be found in the woods with her dog Sid, or hanging out with family, friends, and pets.

Mark Mcquillar

Kitchen Manager
A graduate of OIC Culinary School Mark has been an employee of the New London Community Meal Center for 11-years. Mark started as a security person and when the former Kitchen Manager retired was promoted to that position. Mark has been a New London resident for the last 15-years, and currently resides in the city with his fiance. When he is not working Mark loves to read.

Dante Ford

Steward/Kitchen Assistant
Dante grew up in the Riverside area on Crystal Avenue in New London. Dante is a 2017 Graduate of the Science and Technology Magnet School of Southeastern CT. Dante graduated in 2021 from Western Connecticut State University with a BS in Clinical Psychology. When he is not working he spends his time mixing music and drawing graphics.

Oscar Perez

Environmental Services Technician
Oscar has worked for the New London Community Meal Center for a total of 12 years. Oscar came back to the meal center part-time 4 years ago, and also works for OIC, the Opportunities Industrialization Center here in New London as well. Oscar grew up in Nicaragua but now lives in New London with his wife Doris. He has two grown children. A daughter who also lives in New London and a son who is in the Army stationed in Texas. Working two jobs Oscar does not have much free time, but when he does he enjoys watching TV, and especially likes boxing.

Board Officers

Linda Berard

Board President
Linda is currently an Assistant Branch Manager at Liberty Bank and has worked in the banking industry for 35 years.  She has been a volunteer at the meal center for many years.  Giving back to the community is important to her and when asked to join the board in 2016 she enthusiastically agreed.  She has always felt that food insecurity should be a top priority and works tirelessly to ensure that those in need of a meal can always come to the Meal Center. Linda lives in Waterford with her husband and two cats. In her spare time, Linda enjoys gardening and horseback riding.

Catherine (Cate Steel)

Cate (Catherine) De Mott Steel is a retired Speech Language Pathologist after working 35 years in public schools. She is on the Board of Education in East Lyme, and the LEARN Board of Education Directors. Cate hosts a TV Show- Stories Worth Telling & teaches a writing class. She acts, paints, gardens and has an insatiable appetite for ideas and information. She loves biking, hiking, cooking, baking, and serving the community. She brings her midwestern roots and charm to New London County.

Nicole Davison

Bio coming soon!

Kate Griffith

Bio coming soon!

Board Members

Debbie Basnight

Board Member
Debbie is currently employed at Electric Boat. She is a long time member of the NLCMC board of directors. Debbie is a member of Prince Hall Grand Chapter, Order of Eastern Star Inc., and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority. She is very active in the community in addition to being a notary public, a justice of the peace and an ordained minister. Her family moved to Connecticut in 1992 and she and her husband adopted their daughter in 1996 at the age of 5 (a true blessing to their family). Debbie lives in New London with her husband.

Robin Brown

Board Member
Robin is such a busy person she has not had time to get us a bio. That's ok Robin just keep doing all you do ...especially representing the board on our new DEI committee

Dr. Tanimu Deleon

Board Member
Dr. Deleon has a Master of Science in Computer Engineering and a Philosophy Doctoral degree in Biomedical Engineering. Dr. Deleon has over a decade of experience in research and development, information technology, submarine design & manufacturing, and human factors. Dr. Deleon has presented at conferences, symposiums, invited talks, and published in peer reviewed journals. Currently, Deleon is the Technical Lead for human factors and warfighter performance at General Dynamics Electric Boat. In his spare time Deleon enjoys running, boating, and a good movie/book.

Lois Chenard

Lois retired from Pfizer after working for more than 20 years in drug discovery research. She was born and raised in Connecticut and has lived in Waterford for more than 30 years. She has a strong desire to give back to the community.  She's been an active participant in and contributor to local school groups, youth services, food banks, the Waterford Public Library, and the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Youth Orchestra.  Lois considers it a great privilege to serve as a board member of the Meal Center. She believes that food security with dignity and respect is a basic human right.

Arthur Lerner

Bio coming soon!

Catherine Olokodana

Bio coming soon!

Audrey Hopkins-Richardson

Bio coming soon!

Our History

Originally the New London Community Meal Center (NLCMC) was called The Health and Welfare Community Ministries.

It was founded in1985 by Laurie Bellinger in association with The Mount Olive Seventh Day Adventist Church of New London. She served as the dedicated executive director until her death in 1999. A year later Mount Olive Seventh Day Adventist Church turned over control to a non-member corporation governed by self-perpetuating Board of Directors, thereby facilitating uninterrupted food service to the community from 1985 through to the present day.

The NLCMC is a registered nonprofit 501(c)(3).

Our Partners

Thanks so much to these organizations for their collaboration and support

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