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Women’s History Month and Second Harvest

Women’s History Month is a special time here at Second Harvest for more reasons than we can count, but one of those reasons shines particularly bright: our Leadership Team is comprised entirely of women. The six women steering Second Harvest have been instrumental in driving social change and advocating for a more equitable Middle and West Tennessee.

“At Second Harvest, our Leadership Team is proud to carry on the legacy of trailblazing women who have paved the way for progress in our society,” Nancy Keil, our President and CEO, affirms. “This month serves as a reminder of the importance of recognizing and amplifying the voices of women in our community as we continue to create a brighter future for all.”

Building a leadership team comprised solely of women isn’t something Second Harvest set out to do on purpose. “While having a leadership team entirely comprised of women is definitely unique, it’s not something we tried to obtain,” Karyn Thompson, Vice President of Human Resources, shares. “It’s just something that happened while placing really good talent in the seats. Each of the women on our leadership team brings wonderful and unique skills and perspectives to the table, but what unites us is our resilience and shared dedication to our mission.” Our leadership team is not just breaking stereotypes; it is breaking barriers to create a meaningful impact for the communities we serve.

Despite strides, food insecurity persists as a pressing concern, disproportionately affecting women and marginalized communities. Vulnerable groups such as single mothers, elderly women, and children grapple with barriers to accessing nutritious food and essential resources.

Ally Parsons, Second Harvest’s Chief Development and Marketing Officer, underscores, “Our neighbors facing hunger often do so in silence and are ignored. Their needs are often dismissed. I personally have had my opinions, contributions and efforts ignored and dismissed. While I have never faced food insecurity, I know that I can help those who have feel heard, appreciated and cared for by being a part of the work Second Harvest does every day.” This Women’s History Month demands recognition of the intersectionality of gender and hunger, compelling concerted action to dismantle systemic challenges.

At Second Harvest, we believe in learning from history so we can create modern meaningful change. Through our Feeding Programs and Partner Agencies, we aim to offer historically informed support to individuals and families grappling with hunger in Middle and West Tennessee.

Heather Verble, who works as our Chief Financial Officer, reflects, “In my lifetime, I’ve seen the ground that women have gained. I grew up with two grandmothers, neither of whom had the opportunity to finish high school; one of whom never attended beyond 8th grade. They were both incredibly smart women who made their marks despite those challenges. Fast forward now to my daughters who are graduating high school; they can’t even fathom a world where their opportunities would be limited because they are women.” Our work is guided by history and the lived experiences of those who came before us to ensure that no one is left behind.

This Women’s History Month, we invite you to join us in our mission and uplift those in need. Tracey Alderdice, Second Harvest’s Vice President of Community Impact, knows the importance of joining the fight. She says, “I grew up in a small town in Arkansas. While the town has a food pantry now, one didn’t exist during my childhood. Your neighbors were the food pantry in times of need. My grandparents had a huge garden that produced much more than the two of them could consume or even preserve for the months ahead. My grandmother would quietly make sure folks in town that might have trouble making ends meet had plenty of fresh and preserved food.” Whether through volunteering, donating, raising awareness, or just simply sharing with those in need, every contribution makes a difference. Together, we can create a future where no one is hungry, and everyone can thrive.

As we celebrate the achievements and contributions of women past and present, let’s recommit ourselves to building a more just and compassionate society for future generations. Chief Operating Officer, Kim Molnar, says, “It is important to remember and celebrate the women who came before us, recognizing their accomplishments, understanding how they overcame obstacles, and letting their stories motivate and encourage us to action.” Join us this Women’s History Month and stand in solidarity with us as we continue the fight against hunger. Together, we can make a lasting impact and create a brighter future for all.

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