Local Food Heroes Honored

Willy Elliott-McCrea, Pajaro Valley Chamber, Man of the Year

The Pajaro Valley Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture announced this week that Willy Elliott-McCrea, Chief Executive Officer of Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County has earned its Man of the Year award.

Willy helping pack produce bags at Second Harvest warehouse

Willy became involved with the food bank in 1978 and has served as its Executive Director since 1993. Rarely at a loss for words, he was speechless when he learned of the award but soon recovered. “There are so many people who do so much to make sure that people move forward,” he said. “I’m the lucky guy who gets to work with them.”

On January 26th, the Pajaro Valley Chamber will honor the awardees at the organization’s 51st annual awards dinner. Tickets are on sale now and are available by calling Dianne at 724-3900 or emailing dianne@pajarovalleychamber.com.

Winners in other categories include:

Woman of the Year: Georgeann Cowles Eiskamp

Event of the Year: 2012 Santa Cruz County Fair

Organization of the Year: Pajaro Rescue Mission

Business of the Year: S. Martinelli & Company

Lifetime Achievement: Bruce Woolpert (Posthumous)

Grind Out Hunger, Aptos Chamber, Organization of the Year

Grind Out Hunger was named Organization of the Year at the Aptos Chamber of Commerce annual awards dinner in October. Founded in 2003 by Second Harvest’s Chief Development & Technology Officer, Danny Keith the organization has raised more than 1.5 million meals through food drives, concerts, skate and surf exhibitions.

Danny receiving award from Representative Sam Farr

“Grind Out Hunger is all about the kids,” said Keith. “This award is recognizes the youth and their efforts in the fight against childhood hunger and malnutrition.”

Winners in other categories include:

Man of the Year: The Rev. René Schlaepfer

Woman of the Year: Gwen Kaplan

Business of the Year: Manuel’s Mexican Restaurant

Outstanding Achievement: Local Organizing Committee for Amgen Tour of California

Lifetime Achievement: Ellen Pirie

Bob Cadwalader, Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County, Be the Difference Award

Bob Cadwalader was recognized at the Volunteer Center’s annual Be the Difference Awards ceremony on October 23, 2012. Bob has volunteered at the food bank for over eight years and he truly  embodies Second Harvest’s mission to end hunger and malnutrition by educating and involving our community.

Bob at Second Harvest

According to Danny Robles, Volunteer Services Manager at Second Harvest, “Bob has been a great advocate and ambassador for the food bank. He loves talking with people about healthy eating and what the food bank is doing in our community. For the past year or so, Bob has been doing outreach to educate folks in our community regarding the Calfresh program; he also takes trips to the State Capitol and advocates regarding any food insecurities and other social injustices.”

Congratulations to these very special local heroes!

Danny Robles


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