Feeding America Announces Award Winners for 2019

Food bank leaders honored for dedication to ending hunger

April 19, 2019

Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, presented the 2019 Hunger’s Hope Awards at their annual conference this week in Phoenix, Arizona.

With a mission to feed America’s hungry, Feeding America is a network of 200 member food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs that provide food assistance to more than 40 million people each year. Each food bank operates independently but collectively distributed the equivalent of 4.3 billion meals to people in need last year.

Feeding America’s 2019 Award Winners include:

2019 Member of the Year

Gleaners Community Food Bank in Detroit was recognized by Feeding America as Member of the Year for demonstrating diversity in its scope of work, with innovation across all areas of their food bank.

“Gleaners Community Food Bank is an incredible organization that is making a huge impact in the lives of people in need in the Detroit area,” said Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, CEO of Feeding America. “We congratulate President and CEO Gerry Brisson along with the entire Gleaners’ team for their dedication to ending hunger. From their focus on empowering children through education and volunteerism, engaging with volunteers, emphasizing fresh produce and nutritious food, to educating their community and partners in the work they do, Gleaners is a shining example of the difference a food bank can make in their community.”

Gleaners Community Food Bank was also cited for their perseverance and collaboration in opening doors to stronger relationships and building trust with their partners and with other food banks.

2019 John van Hengel Fellow

Brian Greene, president and chief executive officer of Houston Food Bank is this year’s recipient of the John van Hengel Fellowship. The award honors the ideals of the late John van Hengel, who developed the concept of food banking in the 1960s. It recognizes an executive of a member food bank for his or her excellence in leadership, local impact and national influence, and entrepreneurial spirit in the area of hunger relief.

Greene has served the Feeding America network for 30 years, holding the top post at the Houston Food Bank since 2005. Before moving to Houston, Greene was the executive director of the Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana for 12 years and held the same position at the Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee in Knoxville for five years prior to that.

In addition to a successful and respected career at three food banks, Greene has served on numerous Feeding America Network committees, the National Council and on Feeding America’s Board. Outside of his food bank role, he has been active in the Global Food Bank Network and is an adjunct professor and serves as an Advisory Board Member for University of Houston Downtown’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

“Brian embodies an unwavering commitment to ending hunger and bettering the lives of the people in his community,” said Babineaux-Fontenot. “During his tenure, the Houston Food Bank has become the largest food bank in the country, distributing more than 122 million nutritious meals to people in need. They have expanded programs and operations, and provided incredible support to victims of natural disasters including, most recently, Hurricane Harvey. Brian recognizes the power of the national network and supports other food banks through mentorship and guidance because he understands that only together can we truly end hunger in America.”

2019 Living Our Values Award

Nineteen food banks were recognized with the Living Our Values Award for their outstanding commitment to the Feeding America network during the federal government shutdown earlier this year. Feeding America established a Shutdown Response Fund to support food banks that experience an increased need for food assistance due to the government shutdown. These 19 member food banks were awarded grants from the response fund but declined all or some of the funding because they knew there were other network member food banks who were in greater need of support. Their selfless efforts exemplify the Feeding America values of leadership, learning and excellence.

“We want to highlight these nineteen food banks for their efforts to put the people facing hunger first, regardless of what part of the country they live,” said Babineaux-Fontenot. “They wanted to make sure their network peers, who they knew needed the help, could get the most support during the shutdown.”

The nineteen food banks recognized are:

Banco de Alimentos de Puerto Rico

Community Food Bank of Central Alabama

Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma

Community Food Warehouse of Mercer County

Community Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Indiana

East Texas Food Bank

Feeding America Riverside|San Bernardino Counties

Feeding America West Michigan

Feeding America, Kentucky's Heartland

Food Bank of Alaska

Food Bank of Central New York

God's Pantry Food Bank

Golden Harvest Food Bank

Greater Lansing Food Bank

Kansas Food Bank

North Country Food Bank, Inc.

Placer Food Bank

Tri-State Food Bank

Worcester County Food Bank


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About Feeding America

Feeding America® is the largest hunger-relief organization in the United States. Through a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs, we provide meals to more than 40 million people each year. Feeding America also supports programs that prevent food waste and improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Visit www.feedingamerica.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.