Feeding America, the nation's largest hunger-relief organization, announced today the selection of Jan Pruitt, Executive Director of the North Texas Food Bank, as the recipient of the 2010 John van Hengel Fellowship. The annual award honors the ideals of the late John van Hengel, who developed the concept of food banking in the 1960s, and recognizes an executive director of a member food bank for his or her excellence in leadership, local impact and national influence, and commitment and entrepreneurial spirit in the area of hunger relief.
Pruitt was selected as recipient of the Fellowship based on her leadership in the fight against hunger at the local, state, and national levels, and her passion for working with the community at large for the past 26 years. In addition to serving as the Executive Director at the North Texas Food Bank for 13 years, Pruitt also served as the Executive Director of the Texas Food Bank Network, where she coordinated activities across 18 Feeding America's food banks. She also served 11 years as the Executive Director of Lancaster Outreach Center, a North Texas Food Bank agency that provides direct service to low-income families.
"Jan walks through life with a passion for what she does, confidently striving for success in the fight to end hunger in America," said Vicki Escarra, president and CEO of Feeding America. "Through investment of her time and resources, she has been instrumental to the success of the network and is an inspiration to all who have had the opportunity to work with her."
In 2007, Pruitt served as interim Chief Operating Officer at the Feeding America national office while continuing to run her food bank. In recognition of her amazing work, the national office bestowed the Presidential Recognition of the Year award upon her. A short time later, the Center for Non-Profit Management recognized her with their Award of Excellence in Non-Profit Leadership. A frequent speaker on issues of hunger and social justice, Pruitt serves on the board of a number of key national and regional organizations, including: Feeding America's Board of Directors; North Dallas Shared Ministries' Board of Directors and Three Square Food Bank's Board of Directors.
"I am humbled and honored to receive the John van Hengel Fellowship," said Pruitt. " I can only hope that my efforts would reflect proudly in the eyes of John van Hengel. More importantly, it is my continued hope that our unified force against hunger resounds clearly and effectively across America to inspire everyone to reach out a hand to assist one another through these dark economic times and beyond."
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