The ELCA welcomes our new additions-Haley Toresdahl, Caitlin Sellnow, and Phillip LaDeur to the ELCA World Hunger staff!
Learn more about them and their passions here!
Hello! My name is Haley Toresdahl. I am originally from West Des Moines, IA and called Windsor Heights Lutheran Church my home congregation before moving to Chicago. I am a graduate of Roanoke College in Salem, VA where I studied Political Science. I then had internship experience with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships Office and Feed the Children public policy office in Washington, D.C. as well as local community engagement that shaped my studies and understanding of domestic hunger and poverty.
I have had the incredible opportunity to serve as a Young Adult in Global Mission in the inaugural Cambodia country program following college. I also lived and served with Life With Dignity, a Cambodian organization focused on integrated rural development supported by gifts to ELCA World Hunger, and additionally taught English in the community. I am very excited to share these stories and experiences in my work with ELCA World Hunger and I’m grateful to be part of the ways ELCA World Hunger is working toward a world where all are fed.
Hi! My name is Caitlin Sellnow, and I joined the World Hunger team about a month ago as a Development Assistant. I’ll be helping mostly with congregational support. Before I joined the ELCA churchwide staff, I worked at the front desk of the Department of Molecular Biosciences at Northwestern University. (I learned a little bit about Molecular Biosciences there, but a lot more about making coffee for Molecular Bioscientists.) I am also still a student at Northwestern, working on a degree in creative nonfiction writing.
Before I moved to Chicago, I was a member of the Lutheran Volunteer Corps in Baltimore, where I worked as a Community Builder in a neighborhood called Remington. I helped with a lot of community dinners, homework clubs, vegetable giveaways and health fairs. I also tried to help low-income neighborhood residents access government resources, from housing grants to state IDs.
I don’t know how important my presence was to Remington, but I know that Remington was important to me. My work there connected me with people far outside of the Minnesota bubble where I grew up. That exposure made me uncomfortable at first, but it became crucial to the way I understand God and live out my own faith. Now, I’m excited to be part of a team that helps to connect other people in Lutheran Congregations with the wider world.
Outside of work and school, I spend time singing in choir, trying to de-stress my neurotic foster cat, and undertaking elaborate baking projects that never turn out quite like the pictures on Pinterest, but are delicious anyway. I am so honored to walk this road with all of you!
Hello! I’m Phillip LaDeur and I am the new Program Assistant for World Hunger Education. I am incredibly excited to be in this role and hope I can use my background in education to continue and grow the tremendous work my team has been engaged in. Prior to this position, I was a special education teacher for a school district in Carol Stream. Education has always been one of my greatest passions. As an educator, I believe that education is a lifelong, intrinsic process that is chosen and driven by the learner. I have been a public school teacher for the past three years, but have been involved in recreational and academic program development for the past seven years total.
In addition to my teaching career, I have been blessed to have a very involved volunteer life at Saint Andrew Lutheran Church in West Chicago. I have been the volunteer youth pastor and have helped lead music worship there for the past four years and continue to enjoy spending as much time as I can in helping our congregation grow together. Saint Andrew is involved in an amazing mission in trying to bring two communities together as one congregation. If you are ever interested in seeing a bilingual service in action, or are just in the area, let me know!
I love to share music and have been a part of the ELCA Glocal Musicians for the past two years. I am currently trying to teach myself the banjo and ukulele with very little consistency and enjoy spending time with my fiancé in our home in Aurora. She is not so crazy about me not having summers off anymore, but despite that adjustment, I truly could not be more excited about having the opportunity to play a small role in this inspiring mission.