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Raised in a (Very) Crowded House, Now Feeding the Hungry in a Pandemic

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Raised in a (Very) Crowded House, Now Feeding the Hungry in a Pandemic

Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, the chief executive of Feeding America, is trying to meet a huge surge in demand. A $100 million contribution from Jeff Bezos helped.

The New York Times,

5 min read
4 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, CEO of Feeding America, rises to the challenge of hunger in the United States.

Editorial Rating



  • Engaging
  • Insider's Take
  • Inspiring


Hunger is a pressing issue in the United States. It was a growing problem before the coronavirus pandemic and now is nearing a crisis point. New York Times journalist David Gelles interviews Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, who leads the nonprofit Feeding America, a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks, about its mission to bring food to hungry Americans. After a successful corporate career, Babineaux-Fontenot made it her mission, with the help of generous donations, to eradicate hunger – a problem she learned about as a child.


Feeding America CEO Claire Babineaux-Fontenot grew up in a home that took in more than 100 children. 

When Claire Babineaux-Fontenot was a child in central Louisiana, her family shared their home with more than 100 “siblings,” some born into the family, some adopted and many in foster care. The difference her parents made in the lives of all these children, despite their own modest income and lack of education, forever impressed Babineaux-Fontenot. She saw firsthand how food insecurity devastates children and how access to food can revitalize a person in body and spirit. She notes that now, during the pandemic, the sight of “100,000 people” waiting in a parking lot for food makes the emergency nature of the situation crystal clear.

She was always aware of the impact of inequality, poverty and hunger.

Babineaux-Fontenot, who earned graduate degrees in taxation and law, was a top Walmart executive...

About the Author

Business journalist David Gelles writes the “Corner Office” column for The New York Times.

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