Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, CEO of Feeding America, traveled to Puerto Rico this week to inaugurate the new 30,600 square-foot facilities of the Food Bank of Puerto Rico in Carolina, at an investment of more than $3 million.
Because Feeding America is the largest organization for the mitigation of hunger in the United States, her trip to Puerto Rico becomes relevant at a time when the island is experiencing the aftermath of two major emergencies in which the Food Bank has been instrumental in food support to the population, the local nonprofit stated.
“Like every place that we serve, we have found a regrettable situation here in Puerto Rico,” said Babineaux-Fontenot, citing 2010 U.S. Census statistics that confirmed that 37% of the island’s population faces food insecurity. That number, she said could be higher now.
The Food Bank of Puerto Rico belongs to the Feeding America network and brought Babineaux-Fontenot to see its work.
Babineaux-Fontenot’s trajectory in the world of business and nonprofit organizations is broad. Prior to her two-year tenure so far at Feeding America, she was part of the Walmart international management team for 13 years, occupying the positions of executive vice president and treasurer globally.
As such, she was responsible for Walmart’s tax operations, investments, capital market and global risk management for 28 countries. She is an expert in finance and has been a public official in her home state of Louisiana. She has served in countless community and foundation meetings.
The Food Bank of Puerto Rico is a nonprofit organization that supplies more than 145 organizations that participate in its programs and are dedicated to mitigating hunger in Puerto Rico.
“Claire’s commitment to mitigate hunger in the United States, her vast experience and her professional and philanthropic experience impacts millions every day, and her support for Puerto Rico makes a difference for millions of people on our Island every day,” said Denise Santos, President of the Food Bank of Puerto Rico.
“We have an ongoing struggle, which is to open Puerto Rico’s eyes about the reality of hunger on our island. It is a subject that people avoid, that they don’t want to accept, but it is real and we see it every day,” said Santos.
As part of the inauguration of the Food Bank’s new headquarters, Babineaux-Fontenot participated in a discussion about the reality of food security.
Feeding America is a national network of 200 food banks that provides more than 4 billion meals to more than 40 million people throughout the United States and supports programs that improve the food security of the families they serve.
As part of her visit, Babineaux-Fontenot sat down with this media outlet for an exclusive interview, posted in its entirety below: