Janet Derrick reflects on her career as she retires from Loaves and Fishes Community Services

Donate Today Buy This Video

Janet Derrick began her career in Naperville in the corporate world, but quickly found her calling in social services. In 2002 she began volunteering for Naperville CARES, a social service program focused on providing emergency assistance to those in need. By 2009, she was the organization’s Executive Director.  Naperville CARES always had a connection to Loaves and Fishes.

Collaboration between Loaves and Fishes and Naperville CARES

“Loaves and Fishes was always our number one referral,” said Derrick. “If someone has stress in their life, can’t pay all their bills, going to a fabulous food pantry would help reduce their costs. And around 2015 Loaves and Fishes was trying to do some programming that was similar to ours, so I reached out to Loaves and Fishes to have that conversation. How can we work together? How can we collaborate?” 

When Mike Havala came on as the Interim Executive Director in 2016, he connected with Derrick. “When you first meet Janet,” said Havala, “it’s very clear that she’s very smart, that she’s very engaged, she’s very connected in the community, and I’d say maybe above all she’s an incredibly dedicated advocate for clients in our community.” 

The merger of two organizations to maximize services

Naperville CARES merged into Loaves and Fishes Community Services. “It just became a natural fit,” says Havala. “The merger…was a very pivotal point in the history of…both organizations. And Janet of course was a key part in making that happen.” 

“First of all,” says Derrick, “I brought some fabulous volunteers to the table. We have had people work for us for over 20 years. And then we just brought structure. Structure to programming, in particular the non food programs.” 

Derrick’s last day at Loaves and Fishes is June 30, 2024.