Feeding into Local Communities

In the United States, more than 42 million people experience food insecurity, including a potential 13 million children. (Numbers which have significantly risen during COVID 19.)

After leaving the fast-paced executive lifestyle of the technology industry, Carol Wirsbinski chose a different path—one that centers around alleviating the growing hunger needs, specifically of those within her own community.

Today, Carol is the current president of The Open Door’s Board of Directors after being involved with the organization for nearly ten years. The Open Door believes in providing food with dignity—food that not merely sustains hunger but is healthy and actively working to improve the physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing of all their clients. They serve more than 14,000 Dakota County, Minnesota residents each month and distribute over two million pounds of food annually.


1.  What inspired you to make an impact in your community?

“When I worked in the telecom industry, I had to travel a lot nationwide and I got to meet new people in a lot of different settings. But what was missing for me was making an impact in my own local community. 

I chose to get involved in The Open Door because of its innovation. They’re not a typical food pantry with a mindset that the people we’re serving should simply ‘be grateful’ for what they get. We think about our clients differently. When you eat better, you are better. Which is why we believe everyone has a right to access healthy produce in a space where traditionally food pantries are comprised of only canned food and starch.

70-80% of the food provided by The Open Door is perishable and healthy. We wanted a more sustainable approach to help end local hunger through access to healthy food. But what I’m most proud of is the current mobile distribution programs that reach over 20 neighborhoods and feed thousands of people who don’t have the transportation or financial means to get them to one of our physical distribution centers.” 


2. What are three words that describe you best?

“Authentic, connector, and inspiring”


3. Tell us something about yourself that not too many people know about you.

“I grew up on a dairy farm in a small town located in central Wisconsin with a population of only 3,500 people. It taught me how to have a strong work ethic and to appreciate the outdoors.”


4. What or who inspires you?

“One person who inspired me was my father. He was faith-filled and an incredibly positive individual. He put five children through college and built a dairy farm from the ground up—all with little education.

Currently, though I’m inspired by the board members of Open Door and Somos (a telecommunications company focused on building trusted global connections). The people on these boards come from diverse backgrounds, and different industries and disciplines. I’m amazed and inspired at how thoughtful these groups are at listening to what each other has to say in order to put the right strategies into place. I always walk away from our meetings changed.” 


5. What's one thing you'll never do again?

“After years of doing so, I learned I will never run through an airport with three-inch high-heel pumps on ever again.” 


Learn more about The Open Door.




October 14, 2021 — Nina Whitmore