Brenda Valadez

Operations Director

I grew up the youngest, in a household of 8, where poverty was the daily norm. Beans and potatoes were served often and plates were always licked clean. I've raised 2 children of my own and 3 grandchildren on beans and potatoes and I know what It means to go to bed hungry.  I came to The Belvidere Boone County Food Pantry as a neighbor in need. The Pantry opened their arms and their hearts to me. I received prayer, food, clothing, friendship, love AND A JOB OFFER!!  This was not a hand out. This was a hand UP!  Working at the Pantry allows me to give back and perhaps the opportunity to pay it forward to those in need.  It reminds me that no matter how bad my day may seem, there is always someone who is worse off than I am. Working at the Pantry allows me to have a positive attitude to push through my bad days and it opens my eyes to God's challenge to make a change in the life of others in need, just as the Pantry has done for me.



Development Coordinator

Dawn was sent to BBCFP (Empower Boone) on a light duty assignment through a vocational work program. The moment she connected with the staff here, she felt this was the place she wanted and needed to be. There is a passion here to help others in need that matched hers. Dawn particularly loves the smiles she sees on the faces of the neighbors being helped and loves to hear their words of appreciation at being able to feed their families. Dawn has come to realize that she was not sent here as a light duty assignment, but instead as a vocation. When not at work, this mother of five loves to care for her children, her mother, and grandmother. 



Warehouse Supervisor




Administrative Assistant



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Eric Miller

Resident of Poplar Grove since August 2015.  Engaged to Karri Anderberg.  Two daughters - Addison, 9, and Brooklyn, 2.  B.A. Economics & Political Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2001.  J.D., The John Marshall Law School, 2004.  Admitted to practice law in the State of Illinois since November 2004.  Also admitted to the following bars for the practice of law:  6th Circuit Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and Northern District of Illinois.  President, Eric J. Miller Law Group, Ltd., Rockford, Illinois, 2015-present.  Associate Attorney, Farwell Farwell & Associates, P.C., Arlington Heights, Illinois 2004-2014.  Elected Delegate from the 16th Congressional District to the 2016 Republican National Convention.  Elected Trustee of the Village of Poplar Grove, 2017. Comment, The "Cost" of Securing Domestic Air Travel, 21 John Marshall Journal of  Computer & Infomation Law 405, 2003.  Staff Editor, John Marshall Journal of Computer & Information Law, 2003-2004.  Parliamentarian, Wisconsin United Residence Hall Association, 2000-2001.

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David Larson

Board member since 2012. David is the owner and publisher of the community’s newspaper The Boone County Journal which he started publishing in 1996. Larson has a Masters of Arts degree from Northern Illinois University in History. As a life long member of the Boone County community he has an interest is social issues and public policy.  

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Board Member


Pulling together experience in teaching, training and marketing has been Lydia’s focus for most of her professional career. From her first job taking care of horses, to her current position as a professor of business at Rock Valley College, Lydia tries to find meaning in all work and to work in jobs that focus on helping others find success. Never one to ignore personal responsibility, Lydia has always been thankful for the people that have supported her struggles and dreams throughout her life. Lydia hopes to use experience gained from working for a variety of businesses from small not-for-profits, to top accounting firms to add to the work the fantastic staff and board members are already doing in Boone County.






Board Member