After spending much of his adult life leading a food distribution company in California, Gary Maxworthy suffered through a tragedy. His first wife died when he was 56 years old. As the grief began to subside, Gary’s three children suggested a change, and Gary agreed.
They all wanted him to do something with his life that would strengthen his community. So Gary became a Vista Volunteer and his first and only assignment was with the San Francisco Food Bank. His mission was to think of ways to address the growing problem of hunger in the very wealthy city.
That was 23 years ago, and in that time Gary Maxworthy has been hard at work on that same mission: to end hunger in not just San Francisco, but Marin following the merger of the two food banks in 2011. One of his crowning achievements came together in the late 90s. He lead the creation and expansion of "Farm to Family," the Food Bank's fresh produce initiative.
Gary was instrumental in developing what has turned out to be long-standing relationships with growers and packers throughout the state, asking them to donate their excess produce so that hungry Californians could benefit from nutritious fruits and vegetables that would otherwise be dumped back into the fields and plowed over.
The program became such a success that it’s now managed by the California Association of Food Banks. This year, Farm to Family is on track to distribute 180 million pounds of fresh produce. That food now nourishes 600,000 families each and every week.
Gary was always noted for his leadership in every aspect of the organization, from management to warehousing and storage and everything else throughout the program. Earlier this year, he announced his retirement from the Food Bank. On September 16th, he was honored at the SF-Marin Food Bank's One Big Table event.
VIDEO COURTESY OF: SF-Marin Food Bank