BIOGRAPHY OF JACKI DIRKSMEYER, DIRECTOR
Jacki Dirksmeyer is the Director of FEED MY PEEPS. She started this food ministry in the fall of 2012 after a life changing mission trip to Kenya. Jacki was involved with a young boy from Kenya named Koech who was 17 years old. He was a patient at St. John’s Mercy Hospital where he was receiving treatment for a rare form of cancer. Upon the conclusion of Koech’s treatment, Jacki joined a mission team under the direction of “Get the Word Out” to return Koech to his village in Africa. She realized that a bag of rice and beans were gold to Koech’s family as they cared for over fifty orphans. Koech passed away a few short weeks after the mission team returned to St. Louis. Koech’s family didn’t have the common comforts of water, electricity, food, medicine and resources. Jacki knew that Koech’s life had a purpose and meaning. God laid on her heart to simply move food through the resources she had and feed those in need.
Jacki retired as the Career Services Director at a local chef’s school after Koech passed away. She started a small ministry in September 2012 calling it FEED MY PEEPS.
Jacki has 30 years of culinary and hospitality experience from the following organizations: The Ritz-Carlton, Holiday Inn, Marriott, Catering St. Louis, Embassy Suites, The Butler’s Pantry Catering, Holly Berry Baking and Catering and L’Ecole Culinaire.
In 2013, Jacki was awarded the Local Food Hero Award from Gardens to Table at St. Louis University. Jacki has sown culinary seeds and the harvest shows as the network of local chefs generously support this food movement.
Pastor Rebekka Smith
Pastor Rebekka Smith became an ordained Minister in 2006 and has lead Higher Heights Ministry in North City for the past eight years. She holds another ten years of service leading bible study and home study. Pastor Rebekka is a mother of two wonderful daughters and four amazing grandchildren. She works in Nuclear Medicine at St. Louis University. Pastor Rebekka attends Saints Academy Bible College working on her Master’s Degree in Theology and Doctorate Degree in Theology. She has completed all coursework for a Master Degree and finalizing now with a Thesis. Pastor Rebekka has a serving spirit and partners with FEED MY PEEPS to serve those in need.
FEED MY PEEPS is honored to welcome our new Board Member Holly Cunningham. In 2001, St. Louis native Holly Cunningham launched Hollyberry Catering. Under her leadership, the company has grown to become one of the largest catering companies in the St. Louis area, according to St. Louis Business Journal, and is the preferred caterer at more than 30 top area venues.
Holly is committed to the St. Louis community. During the 2010 and 2009 holiday seasons, she partnered with St. Patrick’s Center and its BEGIN New Venture Center to create the “Gifts that Give Back!” Program. In 2008, Holly established a mentoring program with Big Brothers/Big Sisters. In 2012, Hollyberry partnered with SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center and Dierbergs Market, Inc. to create “Home Run Bars,” an all-natural, made-from-scratch bar that was the official snack of the 2012 “Homers for Health” initiative.
Holly has been named to the St. Louis Business Journal’s prestigious “40 under 40” list, as well as its “30 under 30” list. She is a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier, a society of professional women leaders in the field of food. Hollyberry has been featured in Paula Dean’s Holiday Baking collector’s edition, Hollyberry cookies have been featured on The Rachael Ray Show as the “Snack of the Day” and named “best” by St. Louis Magazine. Holly was the 2002 Small Business Administration’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year and is a past finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
Holly and her husband, Guy, are parents to twin, “tween” daughters, Genevieve and Isabelle. Together they enjoyed participating in a variety of family activities including spending time in the country, sailing and fitness.