Lynn Brantley, President and CEO of the Capital Area Food Bank and the leader of hunger relief movement in the Washington metro area since 1980, will be retiring at the end of this year. She has no idea how much the CAFB community will miss her on a daily basis. When speaking passionately about her mission in life, she often sheds a heartfelt tear or two, but she is just as quick to share a warm smile of gratitude with those who support her cause. She promises to stay in touch with us as the CAFB’s president emeritus.
CAFB Chairman Greg Ten Eyck said, “Lynn’s vision and passionate commitment to the mission of the Capital Area Food Bank have remained unchanged over the years – to feed the hungry with dignity, prevent food waste and save partner agencies countless dollars while they serve those most in need.”
Chosen unanimously by the Board, Brantley’s successor will be Nancy E. Roman, currently Director of Public/Private Partnerships and Communications at the United Nation’s World Food Programme (WFP), the world’s largest humanitarian agency, feeding 100 million people in 75 countries. Roman will assume her new role as President and CEO of CAFB on Jan. 2.
In the late 1970’s, following cuts in the USDA’s food stamp program, Lynn worked tirelessly with the Interfaith Conference and the United Planning Organization to organize food provisions for the poor in the District of Columbia and surrounding areas. She helped found the CAFB in 1980 on January 15, Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday – as a temporary hunger relief operation, but, regrettably, the need continues to grow. She said recently, “ Back then, we had hoped to see poverty and hunger diminish, but today more than 680,000 individuals, including 200,000 children, in our region look to us for help.”
In the early days, the food bank was a small operation providing 1,537 pounds of food per month to a few thousand people. Today, the CAFB has 130 employees and distributes 33 million pounds of food a year – half of which is fresh produce – through 700 non-profit partner agencies in Washington, DC; Northern Virginia; and Prince George’s and Montgomery counties in Maryland.
Due to the uncertain economy and the increasing numbers of those suffering from inadequate nutrition, Lynn embarked on a capital campaign five years ago. “We were outgrowing our former warehouse and were no longer able to meet the growing demand for food,” she said.
The new food distribution center, located at 4900 Puerto Rico Ave. NE, officially opened July 31 and over time will enable the CAFB to more than double its storage and food distribution capacity to meet the growing need.
Under Lynn’s leadership, the CAFB developed a comprehensive approach to addressing hunger by providing nutrition education and training; hosting hunger conferences; attracting some 18,000 volunteers to the food bank annually and advocating on behalf of those who rely on such programs as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
On the eve of her retirement, Lynn said, “Our many partnerships with the community over the years have been central to our role in educating, empowering and enlightening our neighbors about the issues of hunger and nutrition. The community’s continued support will encourage the Capital Area Food Bank to grow far beyond the doors of our new facility as we stand behind our mission to serve others ’til no one is hungry.”
A special fund benefiting the Capital Area Food Bank
will honor Lynn’s devoted service. To contribute,
please contact Valessia Samaras at 202-644-9851,
firstname.lastname@example.org or mail your check
to her attention at the Capital Area Food Bank,
4900 Puerto Rico Ave. NE Washington, DC 20017.