Staff Spotlight: Mark O’Neal, Food For Free Logistics Manager

If you’ve seen Food For Free’s fleet of trucks navigating the streets of Greater Boston or checked out the Food For Free overview video, there’s a good chance you’ve caught a glimpse of Mark O’Neal behind the wheel. Mark joined Food For Free as a Logistics Specialist in 2021 and since then has become fundamental to our transportation operations, ensuring that the fresh, healthy food we rescue and purchase reaches our food access partners throughout the region.

In his current role as one of our Logistics Managers, Mark oversees route operations and driver safety initiatives. From ensuring accurate reporting of daily food rescue and distribution data to maintaining our fleet of trucks, he’s the one who makes sure things are running smoothly. His role also includes training and mentoring some of our team of drivers and warehouse workers, whom we call Logistics Specialists. 

Mark advises his team on best practices, keeps them informed of the expectations from our food donor and recipient partners, and ensures they have the support they need to succeed. As the organization’s eyes and ears out in the field, Mark advises our leadership team on ways in which we can improve transportation efficiency. When Mark isn’t behind the desk or wheel, you might find him hanging out with team members after work or at home with Onyx and Oreo, his pet rabbits.

Mark O’Neal’s pet rabbits, Oreo and Onyx.

Mark is also a face of Food For Free’s mission in the community. Whether he’s at our Packing and Distribution Center in Somerville or delivering food across Eastern Massachusetts, he takes the time to build genuine relationships with everyone he meets. This human connection is at the heart of our work, and Mark embodies it perfectly. 

“Food for Free’s logistics team does an incredible job of not just delivering huge quantities of high-quality food, but also of developing deep ties with the communities they serve here,” said Zach Goldhammer of Cambridge Community Center, one of Food For Free’s food access partners. “We’re always excited to see Mark pull up to our gym entrance and greet all of our staff, volunteers, and patrons with a warm smile and an eagerness to serve everyone on site with open-hearted generosity and grace.”

Mark O’Neal of Food For Free unloading a delivery for Project SOUP in Somerville.

It’s not just about logistics for Mark; it’s about making a positive impact. He has shared with us that every morning he asks himself, “What good can I do in the world today?” This mindset is clear in everything he does, from the way he leads his team, to the extra effort he puts into his work. Mark’s positive energy is contagious, and he inspires others to give their best. 

We asked Mark what motivates him to get out of bed every day and keep doing this work. He said, “I do what I do because I know there are people who aren’t able to do what it takes to get proper resources. Also,” he added, “while I’m doing what I do I’m at peace, and I strongly believe that we should protect our peace and sanctity.”

Logistics Managers Paul Seabury (left) and Mark O’Neal (right) show support for Mark (center) for completing his City of Cambridge workforce development program with Food For Free.

Mark takes pride in mentoring our newer team members. He also takes the time to help the whole team succeed, from representing Food For Free at events like a Cummings Foundation grant award event, to advising the Engagement team on Food For Free’s work with partners in Chelsea, to training a new driver on how to safely remove snow from the roof of a truck. His willingness to share his knowledge and experience has helped create a culture of growth and teamwork at Food For Free. 

“Mark never hesitates to put in extra effort, working long hours and in all weather conditions to ensure that much needed food is delivered to schools, pantries, and community centers throughout the area,” says Tim Cavaretta, Mark’s manager and our Director of Operations. “His good humor and his passion for our mission are apparent to everyone who works with him.”

Mark O’Neal receives a delivery of local farm produce from Boston Area Gleaners at Food For Free.

Mark truly leads by example and shows tremendous commitment to the work of fighting food insecurity. He motivates everyone to be the best versions of themselves as we work together to strengthen local food systems by closing gaps in access to fresh and nutritious food for our most vulnerable neighbors. 

We are grateful to have Mark on Team Food For Free. His commitment to our mission and his drive to make a difference remind us why we do what we do every day. Thank you, Mark!

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Want to get involved with Food For Free? Register as a volunteer at https://foodforfree.org/volunteer today!

 

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