Tennessee Launches Food Bank Association With New Executive Director

  • Tuesday, May 21, 2024
Dr. LaRhonda S.D. Magras
Dr. LaRhonda S.D. Magras

Tennessee’s five Feeding America food banks announced Tuesday the official launch of the Tennessee Food Bank Association, joining 21 other states in the formation of an alliance. Dr. LaRhonda S.D. Magras, who previously served as chief executive officer of YWCA Central Alabama, will lead the Association as executive director. 

“It is a distinguished honor to be the first executive director of the newly formed Tennessee Food Bank Association,” Dr. Magras said. “The creation of this alliance demonstrates the enduring commitment these organizations have to making inroads in their mission, and I am proud to join their fight. When we join forces, we can achieve so much more, especially when it comes to tackling a persistent and devastating issue like hunger. I look forward to getting to work to help Tennesseans across the state achieve reliable, equitable access to nutritious food.” 

Dr. Magras has spent nearly three decades in the non-profit sector, working as an advocate for anti-poverty and social justice programs and initiatives in diverse urban and rural settings. A Chicago native, Dr. Magras spent many years spearheading critical initiatives in Middle Tennessee as senior vice president of Program Operations at YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee, director of Children and Youth Education Initiatives at the Mayor’s Office of Nashville & Davidson County, and vice president of Youth Development at Nashville's Martha O'Bryan Center. 

The Tennessee Food Bank Association members are:

Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee (Nashville)
Mid-South Food Bank (Memphis)
Chattanooga Area Food Bank (Chattanooga)
Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee (Knoxville)
Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee (Kingsport)

These organizations, which are part of Feeding America’s nationwide network of over 200 food banks, work with more than 1,700 partners across all 95 Tennessee counties. 

“While we have always had a shared mission to eliminate hunger for the 1-in-7 Tennesseans facing food insecurity, forming an association will allow us to align our efforts and strengthen our impact,” the five food banks’ CEOs said in a joint statement. “The reality is that hunger and its root causes pose a tremendous challenge that we will be better prepared to tackle as a united front. With Dr. Magras at the helm, we are confident that we can truly accomplish great things together.”     

The Tennessee Food Bank Association will provide a singular educational authority on food insecurity for all key stakeholders, strengthening statewide awareness of the issue and working to expand federal and state food funding programs. The food bank members also hope to achieve greater efficiency and efficacy among shared programs and partnerships.

To learn more about the Tennessee Food Bank Association, please visit www.tnfoodbanks.org

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