The Drawer is an enlivening and empowering organization not only for the recipients of the product, but also to every person whose life somehow intersects with The Drawer. We understand a communal need that goes beyond socks and underwear. A need for the power of community. A need to act in the world. A need to pass on the faith in humankind. Stew and Debby Shepard, the power couple behind The Drawer, recognized these needs and had a desire to create a place where everyone is welcome. No exceptions. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Meet Grandma Lucy. The inspiration behind The Drawer, and Debby’s mother. In the early 1980’s Grandma Lucy (Lucille Rozenberg) began giving socks and underwear as gifts at Christmas. Every person sitting around the tree, children, in-laws, grandchildren, and even Christmas guests, received just the right package of socks and underwear.
When Grandma Lucy passed away in 2000, the family decided that, in her honor, each family member would bring socks and underwear in their own sizes to Christmas. All the gifts were given to a non-profit.
In 2014, Stew and Debby decided to ask friends and members of their church for additional donations of socks and underwear. That year a total of 1,417 pairs of new socks and underwear were collected, with items distributed to Loaves and Fishes (at Holy Rosary Church), The Link, and Union Gospel Mission. After seeing the community’s response to their call, and learning more about the need of such basic items, Stew and Debby cleared out a room in their home to warehouse product, became a 501(c)3, formed a board of directors, and The Drawer was born.
Gina is passionate about non-profit, mission fueled work. Her professional experience includes marketing, development, strategic planning, and outreach. She also acts as a volunteer Executive Director and Founder for Run For Tomorrow, a 501(c)(3) dedicated to mental health awareness. Gina is an avid outdoor adventurer with most of her free time dedicated to camping, hiking, and movies with her beloved cats, dog, and loving significant other.
Debby Shepard is Grandma Lucy's daughter and is the founder of The Drawer. She has a heart-felt calling to do good in the world. Debby, along with her husband Stew, started The Drawer in 2016 when it was brought to her attention that the most needed, but least donated, items were NEW socks and underwear.
Along with his wife, Debby, Stew is a founder of The Drawer, and currently serves as the council’s president. Stew’s infectious positivity and internal compass of good keeps The Drawer’s focus on the mission. Stew’s involvement in the organization includes nearly every activity, including donor and recipient relations, distribution of product, and organizational growth.
Randy has almost 30 years experience in the banking industry and is currently employed with Bremer Bank in St. Paul, Minnesota. Randy’s previous board volunteerism includes serving as the board chair for Camp Fire Minnesota, a youth development organization, and serving as a board member for the Minnesota Chapter of the Risk Management Association.
Gina has been in education for over 15 years, and currently is an elementary teacher in a suburb of St. Paul. Gina uses her professional background in a variety of ways at The Drawer, including ensuring that faith in human kindness is passed on to all generations of volunteers and community members. In addition to serving on the board, Gina is a Collection Drive representative.
Rian is a finance professional with over 25 years of experience in a variety of finance positions and frequently finds himself bridging the gap between finance and technology. His role on The Drawer’s board mirrors his professional role of helping partners understand their financial position.
Phil is a licensed psychologist who specializes in psychological assessment and clinical neuropsychology. For The Drawer, Phil makes sure that community, volunteer, and recipient relationships remain at the forefront of our mission. He also leads the distribution team at The Drawer.
Jen’s professional background consists of public relations, advertising, and marketing roles, though she presently is in the publishing industry. Jen has been involved with The Drawer since its beginning, and appreciates the value that all people are equally entitled to dignity. She leads The Drawer’s marketing team in addition to serving on the board.