Steve Popper

Steve is the Founder, President and CEO of Meals of Hope, Inc.  Steve founded Meals of Hope in 2007, incorporated as a 501(c)(3) in 2009 and took on a full-time role in 2012.  As President and CEO, Steve is responsible for both the strategic and operational growth of the business, which currently operates 15 mobile food pantries, an out of school food program for public school students and is in the process of creating a Wellness Center in Immokalee.   The Wellness Center is being established in conjunction with Florida Gulf Coast University, the University of Florida, and several healthcare organizations in southwest Florida.

Prior to founding Meals of Hope, Steve spent his professional career in a variety of positions within the lumber industry.  Most recently, Steve was a partner in a lumber wholesaling business, brokering deals all over the world to supply the lumber needs to construction industries and other customers.  Steve had the opportunity to sell his share of the business in 2012, which allowed him to devote his full attention to the Meals of Hope operation.

Steve initially got involved in meal packing based on a request from his mother.  She and her sisters were supporting a school in Haiti but found that the children couldn’t learn because they did not have enough to eat.  Knowing Steve had experience with shipping lumber all around the world, she figured he could find a way to send food to the school.  So Steve did some research, learned about meal packing opportunities, and hosted an event in Naples in August 2007 where 500 volunteers showed up to pack 135,000 meals.  Steve and his wife point to that event as truly life-changing, and Meals of Hope was born!