HONORING WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH
Author: Isabel Zimmerman
Each year, March is recognized as Women’s History Month, a time to celebrate women’s contributions to history, culture and society. Join us in honoring two women who are special to Second Harvest for their commitment to getting food to people facing hunger.
Second Harvest is part of the Feeding America national food bank network, working together to feed neighbors in need across our country. (To learn about the difference between a food bank and food pantry, click here). Claire Babineaux-Fontenot is chief executive officer of Feeding America.
Babineaux-Fontenot has led Feeding America since 2018 and she played an important role in navigating the organization through the pandemic. Prior to her hunger-relief work, Babineaux-Fontenot spent 13 years in executive roles at Walmart. A cancer diagnosis in 2015 inspired a reflection on the direction of her career and resulted in a shift to nonprofit work. Since starting at Feeding America, Babineaux-Fontenot has made it clear that her goal is to end hunger. To do that, she says we need to raise public awareness around food insecurity in the United States.
The late Kay Porta, founder of Second Harvest, dedicated her entire career in social services to caring for others. Porta formed Second Harvest, then known as the Spokane Food Bank, in 1971 along with a group of community volunteers. Since its start in a 2,000-square-foot building in Downtown Spokane, Second Harvest has grown its service territory to 26 counties in the Inland Northwest and expanded to three physical locations in Spokane and Pasco.
Porta passed away in 2020, but her commitment to providing our community with the basic need for food continues today through Second Harvest’s mission. As we continue to expand our hunger-relief efforts to feed people facing hunger in our region, we are thankful for the foundations set by a strong woman who believed everyone should have access to food.