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Elizabeth’s Legacy of Hunger Relief

Elizabeth Smith, known by many as “Punky,” was a devoted supporter of Second Harvest’s work for more than 20 years. Each year she expanded her financial partnership, through gifts of stock and support of children’s feeding programs, which she deemed “the best cause in Nashville.” She also regularly volunteered her time at Second Harvest to stay connected to our mission.

Shortly after Elizabeth passed away in 2016, we learned she’d made fighting hunger a lasting part of her legacy by including Second Harvest in her estate plans.

Her brother, Joe, traveled to Nashville from his home in Maryland to stay by her side during her final days. As he sat with Elizabeth in her hospital room, she revised her will. It was there he learned how deep her dedication was to helping hungry families, children and seniors in her own community. He later visited our distribution center to learn more about the organization his sister cared so much about.

“I was quite impressed, even more so knowing my sister’s connection,” Joe says. “It’s an enormous operation.”

Elizabeth quietly battled breast cancer for many years, but few people knew about the challenges she faced with her health. Joe says she told a friend that she refused to let cancer interfere with her life, no matter how much time she had left.

Marian Eidson, Manager – Major Gifts, who relished her time with Elizabeth, described her as upbeat and energetic. She traveled the world and spent her free time reading, knitting and ballroom dancing. Elizabeth practiced law in Nashville for 37 years, co-founded a local business and was a dedicated member of Belmont United Methodist Church and the Brentwood Morning Rotary Club. In 2014, her fellow Rotarians honored her by establishing the annual Elizabeth J. Smith Scholarship in her name.

It’s difficult to put the impact of her generosity into words. Countless neighbors across Middle Tennessee have Elizabeth to thank for the nutritious food on their tables — and her commitment to solving hunger will bring hope to others for years to come. We are so very grateful for her enduring support.

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