Justice O’Connor Visits Food Bank

We were honored to have Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor tour Second Harvest on Saturday, February 23rd. Justice O’Connor was in town to visit her former roommate at Stanford, Diane Cooley, who also happens to be a good friend and supporter of the food bank.


Mary Solari, Nita Gizdich, Don Cooley, Justice O’Connor, Willy Elliott-McCrea

Second Harvest CEO, Willy Elliott-McCrea, led the tour. Needless to say, the volunteers working the Saturday sort were pleasantly surprised and excited to meet Justice O’Connor. Volunteers included members of St. Andrew Presbyterian Church and the Congregational Church of Soquel, the Petersen family, Dominican Hospital employees, and local high school and college students, among others.


Volunteers, Second Harvest employees and guests with Justice O’Connor

After the tour, Justice O’Conner visited with leaders from throughout the community over brunch in our conference room. Ms. Cooley commented that the people in the room were a very special group, including those who steward the land, those who farm the land, those who distribute the food, and those that support that work.


O’Connor, the first woman to serve on the nation’s high court, had also attended the iCivics Summit at the Henry J. Mello Center for the Performing Arts at Watsonville High School on Friday. Students from area public and private middle and high schools and Cabrillo College, as well as Girl Scouts and the Interact Club, attended the event.

iCivics, inc. is a non-profit organization, founded by O’Connor to promote civics education and help students become active citizens. She encouraged the students to visit the iCivics website to learn more about government and how to get involved.

All in all, Justice O’Connor made quite an impact during her brief visit, encouraging the youth and acknowledging those that work so hard to make Santa Cruz County a strong and healthy community.



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