ROCKLAND — AIO Food & Energy Assistance will hold a special appreciation open house in honor of Liz Jenkins Oct. 21, 2021. This community event is open to the public and will be held at the AIO food pantry from 5 to 7 p.m.

“Liz has guided AIO to a new level through vision, passion, and kindness,” said Executive Director Joe Ryan. “Her commitment and determination have created a community resource that stands as a model for other communities across the country. The work she has done for Knox County is nothing short of remarkable. The event will be everyone’s chance to acknowledge her efforts and to say, ‘thank you.’ ”

Jenkins joined AIO as a Backpack Program (now Weekend Meals Program) volunteer shortly after relocating to the Midcoast area in 2015. As a Board of Directors member and then board president, Liz led a two-year transformation of the organization, expanding services and changing the way the organization serves the community. Liz led a successful capital campaign that raised $1.2m for a new 4,000-square-foot facility that provides abundant space for food storage, private offices for energy assistance consultations, and creates a warm and welcoming environment.

“The new AIO facility is the embodiment of Liz’s spirit,” Ryan went on to say. “The sense of joy, dignity, and abundance is part of the experience everybody enjoys when visiting our food pantry. That feeling of dignity and joy so often lacks for those who rely on food assistance. What AIO has achieved under Liz’s leadership is a true reflection of her compassion.”

Professionally, Liz works at McKinsey & Company, focusing on social responsibility topics. Liz is also a nonprofit development operations consultant, designing donor and volunteer management systems. Liz holds a Master of Science in management from Lesley University and a Bachelor of Science in advertising from Simmons College. Liz and her husband, John, moved to Warren, from Boston in 2015.

“The AIO Board of Directors, staff, and volunteers are eager to express our thanks and appreciation to Liz,” says Board Chair Vera Roberts. “Having completed her time on the Board, we feel this event is the perfect time and place to show how much we all appreciate Liz’s efforts towards AIO, and we look forward to working with her in a new capacity.”

“This is in no way a goodbye – AIO’s mission is stronger than ever – and we have a community to serve!” says Jenkins. “I will be focusing on fundraising and events, so you will still see me around! I can never express enough gratitude for the support, encouragement, and faith that I have received so that we could position this nonprofit organization as a model organization for food and energy assistance services.”

Light food and beverages will be provided. Donations to AIO in honor of Liz will be accepted during and after the event.

AIO programs are made possible by donations, financial support, special events, and grants. To provide funding to help support AIO programs, see or call 596-1043.