Staff & Board

Meet the Staff

Jessica Root/Executive Director


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.

jroot [at] houseofmercyva [dot] org

Von Barron/Operations Manager


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).

Vbarron [at] houseofmercyva [dot] org


Sofia Crooks/Program Manager

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!

scrooks [at] houseofmercyva [dot] org


Erin Tooley/Program Coordinator


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.

etooley [at] houseofmercyva [dot] org

Tamara Halstead/Marketing and Development Coordinator


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.

thalstead [at] houseofmercyva [dot] org


Ryan Walker/Donation Center Coordinator/Major Gifts Offiver

Ryan graduated from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania in 2017 with a major in Recreational Therapy and a minor in Nonprofit and Philanthropy leadership.  He has been involved in several nonprofits as a volunteer, fundraiser and event coordinator.  Before coming to House of Mercy he ran an adult day program for survivors of traumatic brain injury in Pittsburgh.  He recently moved to Virginia with his wife and is excited to be a part of the House of Mercy Family.

rwalker [at] houseofmercyva [dot] org

Eric Sommers/Donation Center Coordinator


esommers [at] houseofmercyva [dot] org

Meet the Board of Directors

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. 

Pictured below (from left to right): Randy Dominick, Jennifer Dominick, Hector Suarez (Resigned), Debbie Wykowski, Paul Marsala, Fr. Francis Peffley, Vicky Marsala, Sandy Dominick, Saundra Buchard, John Buchard