Barbara Bawanan, a long-time champion of the United Samaritans Foundation, will be leaving her position as executive director in August and former Turlock City Council member Beverly Hatcher will be stepping into the role.
Bawanan’s role with the USF began 19 years ago when she and her husband were new to the Hughson area and looking to become a part of their new community. The USF was in its first year and depended upon the efforts of volunteers to sustain it. It turned out to be a perfect fit for the two.
“At first I was helping write thank you notes and paying the bills,” Bawanan said. “I became a part-time employee in 1996, and then went full-time in 1998. As the agency grew, my involvement grew and it’s been a true blessing.”
During her time with USF, the last eight of which were as the executive director, Bawanan has seen the USF expand from the one lunch truck to four lunch trucks that have served over 8 million meals in the USF’s 20 years. She also oversaw in the development of the emergency food box program, the clothes closet program and the homeless support services program that provides showers, laundry facilities, mail service, telephone service and referrals to homeless individuals and families.
“For me, it has been a real mission of love and doing what God intended me to do,” Bawanan said. “The successes that we see here are not instantaneous. We see the changes over the years and I’m grateful to have been a part of it.”
“The Board has been fortunate to benefit from the services provided by Barbara as executive director. She truly has lived our mission which is to help those in need in Stanislaus County,” said USF Board Vice-President Ron Emerzian. “She has built an organization which not only feeds the hungry, but treats our clients with dignity. Barbara, well deservedly, wants to spend more time with her family and grandchildren. The Board and staff will miss Barbara and we welcome Bev to continue to move the organization and services forward.”
Hatcher’s involvement with the USF also began on a volunteer basis. From her early days of helping with the Foundation’s annual fundraiser, Legacy of Hope, Hatcher said she knew USF was an organization she wanted to be a part of on a long-term basis.
“I saw the value of what we had in our community and always felt like that was where I was supposed to be at some point,” Hatcher said.
She put her skills to use in finding valuable grants for the Foundation and currently is the assistant director and grants administrator for USF. She previously spent eight years as a Turlock City Council member and six years on the Turlock Planning Commission. As an adjunct professor at CSU Stanislaus, she taught Public Policy/Public Administration. She previously served as project director for the City of Modesto’s Weed and Seed Program and as field representative for Stanislaus County Board of Supervisor members Vito Chiesa and Bill O’Brien.
Hatcher said she plans on building on Bawanan’s efforts, especially in the areas of growing the volunteer base and awareness of the services the USF provides.