Food Bank Board Member Gary Max Maxworthy Wins National Jefferson Award
June 23, 2010
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Maxworthy honored with the “Nobel Prize of Public Service” for creating a program that distributes 80 million pounds of produce to California’s three million residents at risk of hunger
San Francisco, CA (June 23, 2010) – For pioneering the Farm to Family program, which distributes millions of pounds of fresh produce to California Food Banks, San Francisco Food Bank Board Member, Gary Maxworthy has been awarded the prestigious national Jefferson Award. Known as the “Nobel Prize of public service,” the Jefferson Award is a national recognition system which honors community and public service in America.
Maxworthy is among 15 other recipients from throughout the country whose lives, careers and volunteer activities “embody the finest examples of public service in a range of human endeavor”. Cofounded by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, the awards are presented each year during a special gala ceremony in Washington, D.C. where a broad array of honorees are recognized – from high-profile individuals who have dedicated the better part of their lives to public service to celebrated professional athletes to largely unheralded community-based volunteers.
Thanks to the Farm to Family program that Maxworthy pioneered, an estimated 80 million pounds of produce is distributed annually through food banks in California to help feed the states three million residents who are at risk of hunger. The San Francisco Food Bank accounted for 21 percent of the produce distribution in the state, delivering nearly 17 million pounds last year.
The Farm to Family program directly connects California food growers and packers to food banks, distributing fresh fruits and vegetables which aren’t considered marketable – due to shape, size, slight blemishes or overproduction – but are still delicious and healthy to eat. In the past, this surplus produce was ploughed under, fed to animals or dumped in landfills.
Drawing on 30 years’ experience in the food brokerage industry, Maxworthy developed the program with the San Francisco Food Bank. The program which distributes more than 60 varieties of fresh fruit and vegetables is now run via the California Association of Food Banks. Clients of 40 food banks across the state benefit from Farm to Family, with more than 100 different growers and packers participating.
“It is a great honor to receive the national Jefferson Award for my work with Farm to Family,” Maxworthy said “I hope this program can serve as an example, helping other agricultural states divert healthy produce that might otherwise end up in landfills, to feed the millions in our country who are going hungry.”
“We are thrilled that Gary is being recognized for his work with the Farm to Family program,” said San Francisco Food Bank Executive Director Paul Ash, “Thanks to his efforts, over half of what the San Francisco Food Bank distributes is fresh produce.”
The Jefferson Award was set up in 1972 by the former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis to honor ordinary people who do extraordinary things for others. By honoring the recipients, it is the goal of the Jefferson Awards to inspire others to become involved in community and public service.
Maxworthy joined the San Francisco Food Bank in 1994, as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer, after retiring as president of Bromar, Inc. In 2007, he received a $10,000 Purpose Prize, “recognizing Americans over 60 who are leading a new age of social innovation,” for his work with Farm to Family. Maxworthy is currently a Board Member of the San Francisco Food Bank, and is committed to expanding Farm to Family’s reach and volume.
About the San Francisco and Marin Food Banks (updated July 18, 2012)
Hunger is a serious problem in our community, with one in five children and adults at risk of hunger in San Francisco and Marin. Every day, the Food Bank sources, collects, sorts, inspects and repackages thousands of pounds of food, then distributes it to soup kitchens, neighborhood pantries, school programs and seniors in need.
The Food Bank serves more than 225,000 people each year throughout San Francisco and Marin counties, and will distribute more than 45 million pounds of food to the community this year alone – enough for at least 100,000 meals every day. More than half of what is distributed is fresh fruits and vegetables. For more information, visit www.sffoodbank.org.
About the Jefferson Awards
Co-founded in 1973 by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, U.S. Senator Robert Taft Jr. and Sam Beard, The Jefferson Awards annually celebrate America’s commitment to public service. Recognizing both the famous and the unknown, individuals and organizations, the young and old, the awards reflect one of the founding ideals of our nation, that of contributing toward the larger good. As Thomas Jefferson himself wrote, “Private charities as well as contributions to public purposes in proportion to everyone's
circumstances are certainly among the duties we owe to society."
The Jefferson Award recipients are nominated from throughout the country and selected by the organization’s board of directors, who include Hank Aaron, the Hon. Julian Bond, Cris Collinsworth, Michael Douglas, Whoopi Goldberg, the Hon. Mitch McConnell, the Hon. Harry Reid, Neil Simon, Leslie Stahl and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. Honorees are chosen on the basis of two main criteria: the outstanding nature of the acts of service and the impact on the community of those acts. Past recipients of the award include Lance Armstrong, Hubert Humphrey, Dr. C. Everett Koop, General Colin Powell and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.