|Kate Maehr, Executive Director and CEO|
Kate Maehr has made advocacy a priority as Executive Director and CEO of the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Last night, Kate's efforts gained national recognition. Feeding America, the nation's leading domestic hunger-relief charity, presented Kate the 2013 Dick Goebel Public Service award at the National Anti-Hunger Conference in Washington. The award is given to the individual who exemplifies service to their communities, extensive public policy advocacy, and tireless energy and creativity in developing solutions to help reach increasing numbers.
“Kate has placed advocacy at the core of the Greater Chicago Food Depository’s work during her tenure as the Executive Director. Through her leadership, she has helped to engage anti-hunger advocates throughout Illinois, getting busloads of people to go to Springfield to develop and move forward recommendations to address the needs of the most vulnerable in our communities,” said Bob Aiken, President and CEO of Feeding America. “She has developed strong relationships with leaders in local, state, and federal government, always pressing for, protecting and strengthening the federal food and nutrition safety net. Kate shows this passion and commitment every day and typifies everything that this award represents.”
Through Kate's leadership, Illinois established its first Commission to End Hunger, a permanent body chaired by Kate and Illinois Deputy Governor Cristal Thomas. Advocacy is a key element of the Food Depository's five-year Strategic Plan, leading to successes including the establishment of a champion-advocates network of member agency leaders who advocate for strong food and nutrition policy. Kate has led representatives of member agencies on visits to Springfield and Washington, meeting with elected officials to let them know of the severity of hunger in Cook County. She also has hosted a number of key elected officials at the Food Depository, including Sen. Dick Durbin, Gov. Pat Quinn and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, to discuss policies that affect the lives of hungry people. Every September, in Hunger Action Month, Kate takes part in the SNAP Challenge to raise awareness of the difficulty of living on a SNAP/Food Stamp budget. She has activated Food Depository supporters, including board members, donors and volunteers, to send letters and make calls to their elected officials on key issues.
The Dick Goebel Award was created in 2001 to honor the founder of the St. Paul Food Bank. Goebel was a powerful force in the creation and expansion of the food bank network nationwide. Past recipients include a number of notable figures in national hunger-relief efforts. Congratulations, Kate! We are proud to be part of your team.