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PRESS RELEASE – Second Harvest Food Bank Announces New Chief Executive Officer

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Date:                                       April 21, 2022
Contact:                                 Suzanne Willis
Telephone Number:            (831) 288-3002
Email Address:                     [email protected]
Web address:              


Second Harvest Food Bank Announces New Chief Executive Officer


Watsonville CA— On April 20, 2022 Second Harvest Food Bank announced the new CEO to succeed Willy Elliott McCrea upon his retirement in July 2022.  Erica Padilla-Chavez will join Second Harvest as CEO starting in mid-July. “On behalf of the Board of Trustees, it is my honor to announce the appointment of CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County to Erica Padilla-Chavez. Erica is a Santa Cruz County native and has dedicated her life to the betterment of her community. Erica’s active involvement in numerous nonprofits around the central coast has earned her great recognition including Assembly District 30’s 2022 Woman of the Year by Robert Rivas.” said board chair Michele Bassi.

After a nation-wide search led by executive search firm Carlson Beck, the search committee unanimously agreed that Padilla-Chavez was the absolute best individual to take on this vital role. “We are thrilled that [Padilla-Chavez] will be leading Second Harvest in the fight against hunger.” continued Bassi.

Padilla-Chavez was born in Watsonville and graduated from Watsonville High School. She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology from University of California Berkeley and a Masters of Public Administration from Golden Gate University in San Francisco. She is also an alumna of the California/Hawaii Public Health Leadership Institute, a leadership program designed to advance health practices to improve health equity.

Padilla-Chavez has over two decades of experience in the health and human services field and she has a history of facilitating collaborations that can impact positive changes in communities.  She is a member of the Dominican Hospital’s Community Board, a member of the RISE Together Santa Cruz County Initiative, a member of the Hartnell College Board of Trustees, and has held multiple board positions throughout the Central Coast including Radio Bilingue and the Community Foundation of Monterey County.

“I can’t imagine a better person than Erica to lead Second Harvest forward to the next level. She has a truly impressive track record of building partnership and a life-long passion to ensure health and well-being for every member of our community.” exclaims food bank CEO Elliott-McCrea.

Padilla-Chavez will officially join the staff of Second Harvest on July 18th.  Her tenure overlaps Elliott-McCrea’s until his official retirement on July 31st.  Second Harvest will host a 50th anniversary party on July 21, 2022, which will include a celebration of service for Elliott-McCrea as well as an opportunity for people to meet Padilla-Chavez. An official community meet and greet will be scheduled for August.

About Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County

Founded in 1972, Second Harvest Food Bank was the first food bank in California and the second in the nation. Its mission is that we inspire and support Santa Cruz County to provide nourishment for all community members. Its network of 150 local agencies and programs feeds 75,000 people in Santa Cruz County every month. Every dollar donated provides four healthy meals. Second Harvest has a four-star rating from Charity Navigator in recognition of its effective stewardship.

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