SANTA CRUZ — Watsonville native and group chief Erica Padilla-Chavez’s connection to Second Harvest Meals Financial institution is private.
“It stems from me rising up within the Pajaro Valley and — like so many households — at one level needing assist from Second Harvest as a younger youngster. I do know the direct influence that this group has on the lives of youth and households throughout the county,” Padilla-Chavez stated.
Padilla-Chavez is ready to guide the group starting in July, after serving as CEO at Pajaro Valley Prevention and Scholar Help – a nonprofit serving South Santa Cruz County youth – for greater than seven years. She’s going to exchange longtime Second Harvest CEO Willy Elliott-McCrea, who’s retiring from the group.
The nonprofit was the primary meals financial institution in California when it was established in 1974. All through the COVID-19 pandemic, Second Harvest has led the response in getting fruit, greens, frozen meals and pantry items to Santa Cruz County residents going through meals insecurity. It serves some 20,000 to 25,000 residents per week.
Padilla-Chavez goals to domesticate relationships with well being care suppliers and nonprofits throughout the county to method combating meals insecurity holistically. Meals insecurity, she stated, is a symptom of different well being and socioeconomic points which should be addressed collectively.
“We’ve seen by way of the pandemic how vital it’s for us to work collectively to advance well being and wellness,” Padilla-Chavez stated. “It’s about being strategic and establishing partnerships with companies that may additional advance that effectively being for the folks that Second Harvest supplies care and assist for.”
The Pajaro Valley chief was just lately named Girl of the 12 months by Assemblymember Robert Rivas (D-Salinas) for Meeting District 30 in March.
Underneath Padilla-Chavez’s watch, Pajaro Valley Prevention and Scholar Help expanded from a workers of 20, serving round 2,500 kids within the Pajaro Valley, to a workers of greater than 65, serving some 7,000 residents throughout the area. When requested about her legacy at PVPSA, Padilla-Chavez cited the regional partnerships she cultivated through the years throughout varied nonprofits and companies.
Amidst the coronavirus pandemic Padilla-Chavez spearheaded creating the South County COVID Support and Triage Group, which supplied important help to low revenue households and residents most weak to the virus, resembling farmworker and Indigenous communities. Throughout the early days of the pandemic, the group additionally advocated for an area eviction moratorium in Watsonville, which the Metropolis Council handed months earlier than Gov. Gavin Newsom applied a statewide ban on evictions.
Padilla-Chavez stated although she is wanting ahead to creating an influence on the county-wide stage with Second Harvest, her departure from PVPSA is bittersweet.
“I look ahead to working with PVPSA, however from a special seat,” Padilla-Chavez stated. “It’s not a goodbye – I don’t need to say goodbye – it’s only a goodbye.”