Rhys Powell, President & Founder
Rhys Powell, President & Founder, has always been interested in good food, good nutrition and good health. When some friends asked him to help search out healthy options for their school age child, he was surprised to find that none existed. And so in 2005, the idea for Red Rabbit was born.
Rhys is proud to be at the center of today's food revolution, at the helm of an innovative young company that is solving a critical problem facing administrators, parents and kids: how to eat healthy at school. From its kitchens in New York City, Red Rabbit delivers thousands of farm-fresh meals—breakfasts, lunches and snacks—to school children across the Greater New York Area, and also has an active educational program that brings the healthy eating message to kids and parents alike.
A 2000 graduate of MIT, with a BS in Computer Science and Engineering, Rhys was an equity trader for privately held financial services firm, Carlin Financial Group, before tapping into his entrepreneurial side and founding Red Rabbit.
Sandra Kraehling, Head Chef
Sandra Kraehling, Head Chef, has a philosophy that how we feed, educate and ultimately empower our children with knowledge of food and nutrition, understanding the difference between sun created foods and lab created foods echoes Red Rabbit's mission and goals. Sandy believes in the integrity and quality of the food she is creating and preparing, as she feels it is vitally important to work with well sourced ingredients that meet her personal high standards and criteria.
The combination of nourishing bodies and souls from childhood to adulthood became clearer to her as she continued to learn and grow in her own career. She continues to impart knowledge at Red Rabbit and its school partners about the difference between sun created foods and lab created foods.
Before coming to Red Rabbit, Sandy spent thirteen years at Nestle Brands in a variety of positions from account management to regional chef in foodservice division; Owner & Chef of her own establishment, Pan Latin Cafe for seven years, creating cooking and hands on learning programs for both children and adults. Sandy holds a BA in psychology from St. John's University and a degree in culinary arts from the French Culinary Institute.
Shari Mermelstein, Director, Program Development
Shari Mermelstein, Director, Program Development, is passionate about fitness, nutrition and wellness. Plagued with a family history of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and obesity, Shari realized at a young age that healthy eating and exercise were important. Shari believes that educating young children to make healthier food and nutrition choices early on will have a positive impact on their future good health.
Her responsibilities at Red Rabbit are focused on working with school administrators, staff and parents to create meal programs that fit the needs of each school partner.
Shari has been a Registered Dietitian for over 15 years. She has helped her community and spread the word about healthy eating both locally and nationally, in her roles at Staten Island University Hospital, Good Housekeeping Magazine, Clay Fitness and in private practice. Prior to joining Red Rabbit, she worked with kids, parents, schools, and other local organizations as Program Manager with FAN4Kids, a non-profit organization offering an in-school nutrition and fitness program. Shari also makes fitness a part of her daily life through biking, running and strength training. Shari received her B.S. in Clinical Dietetics from Syracuse University in 1995.
Alison Croney, Director Education
Alison Croney, Director Education, strongly believes that food and health education is a tangible entry point into individual and global sustainability. Her personal philosophy is that positive change in our communities will only happen if young people are empowered by information, skills and experience to create change around them.
Alison leads the education team in developing relationships with like-minded organizations, creating exciting hands-on educational experiences with children, parents and educators—building community awareness and support to achieve Red Rabbit's mission to help those we connect with develop healthy relationships with food that will last a lifetime.
Before working at Red Rabbit, Alison was the Education & Outreach Coordinator at Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, where she created and led hands-on art focused programming for all ages. Her time in Colorado also provided her with the opportunity to get her hands dirty at Denver Urban Gardens and Anderson Ranch Art Center. She received a BA in Furniture Design from Rhode Island School of Design and a MA in Sustainable Business and Communities from Goddard College.