Team and Board
MEET THE TEAM
Jessica has held varying roles in the nonprofit sector since graduating with a B.A. in Sociology from Mount St. Mary’s University in 2009. She has experience in nonprofit management, development & fundraising, volunteer recruitment & management, finance, and human resources. She recently obtained her Master’s in Business Administration with a concentration in Organizational Development from Mount St. Mary’s University in 2018. Her personal mission is service to those in need and creating sustainability for faith-based nonprofits. House of Mercy fulfills both of those and she is very happy to be a part of the House of Mercy family.
Von E. Barron is the Operations Manager for House of Mercy (HOM), serving in that role since October 2016. In this capacity, he supervises Three part time employees and about 125 volunteers in day-to-day operations, including receiving donations, grading them for in-store or bulk sale, pricing, and displaying. Through proven store management practices, Mr. Barron has increased Thrift Store sales from $160K/year to $300K/year. Prior to joining the House of Mercy staff, Mr. Barron worked for grocery stores and super markets for more than 40 years. His experience includes serving as Assistant Store Manager, Store Problem Solver, Product Supervisor, and Store Manager for several Shoppers Food Warehouse stores in Northern Virginia as well as work for Bon Foods and Bloom, a Food Lion company. Mr. Barron’s volunteer activities include working for a food pantry and domestic violence shelter, the Weems-Bott Museum, historical reenactor, and making high school and county presentations on the history of medicine, with emphasis on medicine as practiced both in the North and the South during the American Civil War (1860s).
Since July 2020, Sophia Crooks has been the Program Manager at House of Mercy after initially joining the team in August 2019 as the Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator. In her new role as Program Manager, she manages the House of Mercy Food Pantry along with all of its annual programs and continual partnerships. Her dream since graduating from Millsaps College in 2015 in Business Administration then living abroad in Honduras as a Catholic Missionary for 2.5 years after college has been to serve the underprivileged wholeheartedly in the Non-Profit sector and she is finally realizing that dream in this role as Program Manager at House of Mercy. After work and on the weekends, Sophia enjoys playing sports and working out, doing arts and crafts, visiting Jesus in the Chapel, adventuring around Virginia, and meeting up with friends!
Erin Tooley is the Program Coordinator at House of Mercy. After graduating with her B.A. in Social Work, from North Carolina State University in 2016, she was a Caseworker for a non-profit program serving homeless families. Later she transitioned to Human Resources at a startup Tech Company. Starting in 2018, she served as a missionary and Social Worker in Comayagua, Honduras for 2 years. Her personal mission is to serve the underprivileged and create bridges between Hispanic and North American cultures. When she learned about the mission of House of Mercy, she was excited to join the team and continue doing what she loves. When not at House of Mercy, you will find her exploring coffee shops, used book stores and overlooks.
John McClay graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a B.S. in Psychology and a Concentration in Business. He spent the better part of ten years working in retail sales and management at La-Z-Boy. After so long in customer service, he decided to try another type of service and moved to Baltimore to join a lay missionary community called Source of All Hope that serves the homeless. From there he returned to Virginia with a desire to remain in a faith-based, service-oriented environment. This desire led him to House of Mercy, where he now serves as Volunteer Coordinator.
Ryan Walker is the Donor Relations Manager of House of Mercy Food Pantry and Thrift Store, communicating with donors to raise funds and awareness for the Food Pantry. He is dedicated to House of Mercy’s mission of creating environments where God’s mercy can flourish by providing necessities and opportunities for personal and spiritual growth. Prior to working for House of Mercy, Ryan worked as a recreational therapist and certified brain injury specialist working with survivors of traumatic brain injuries in Pittsburgh PA. He has over 10 years of experience working with individuals with physical and intellectual disabilities creating fun and engaging activities to achieve their personal and medical goals. Ryan is an active member of his church and a published writer in U.S. Catholic Magazine.
Tamara came to House of Mercy after nearly ten years working as a freelance web designer and developer. Managing her own business, she worked with a variety of industries including churches, non-profits, schools, entertainment, medicine, e-commerce, fashion, and health and wellness. Before establishing her own business, she was a web developer and administrative professional at George Mason University for 1o years in the Volgenau School of Information Technology and Engineering. When she decided to reenter the workforce again, the mission of House of Mercy was a primary reason she joined the team.
Renée Murphy first came to House of Mercy in 2021, volunteering alongside her husband and daughter in the food pantry. Attracted by the mission of House of Mercy and by the camaraderie among employees and volunteers, she was thrilled to join the staff in 2022, initially as a Thrift Store Associate, Office Administrator and currently as Human Resource and Administration Manager. Prior to time raising her daughter, Renée had a career as a Graphic Designer for over twelve years, working with freelance clients in New York and as a member of the marketing team for a mid-sized accounting firm in Rockville, Maryland. When not at work, Renée enjoys Broadway musicals; loves visiting museums and cathedrals around the world with her family, and scatters random scraps of thread and yarn into every corner of her home while creating original sewing and crochet patterns.
Melissa is a graduate of Virginia Tech’s Pamplin School of Business. She spent over 10 years in the healthcare consulting industry as an operations administrator and director. Prior to that, she spent several years in retail management. She stepped away from her career as her family expanded. When she was looking to re-enter the workforce, the mission and values of House of Mercy complimented the skills she has and is developing. She volunteered with House of Mercy for a couple of years supporting its administration before formally joining the team in 2022 as Online Sales Coordinator. When she is not at HOM, Melissa can be found spending time with her family, at her kids' various activities, or scouring the Internet for unique finds.
MEET THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The Board of Directors oversees all operations and strategy of House of Mercy. They are integral to our mission and we thank them for their continued service.