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Women’s History Month

By Julie Neubauer

March is Women’s History Month. The 2021 campaign for this year’s women’s history month theme is “#Choose to Challenge.”

While women have long been politically active throughout history in many platforms, including the fight for the right to vote and gender inequality, Open Table would like to highlight those who have been strong leaders in the fight against hunger.

Some of the female leaders who have worked or continue to work against food insecurity include:

Margie Goud Patterson, founder of Open Table

Ms. Goud Patterson founded Open Table in 1986 after learning there were people in her affluent town of Concord who were food insecure. She worked with First Parish Church in Concord to create weekly dinners for all, and later developed our first food pantry.

Catherine D’Amato, Greater Boston Food Bank’s leader of 20 years

Under D’Amato’s leadership, GBFB has increased its food distribution to more than 50 million meals annually in Eastern Massachusetts.

Erin McAleer, Project Bread President and CEO

As President of “Project Bread”, Ms. McAleer launched the Feed Kids Campaign. She is filing legislation with local state representatives to create “School Meals For All,” which would give free breakfast or lunch to every student that wants it or is food insecure.

Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, Chief Executive Officer, Feeding America

Ms. Babineaux-Fontenot oversees the largest hunger-relief organization in the United States.

Debbie Shore, co-founder, No Kid Hungry

Since joining No Kid Hungry, Ms. Shore has founded the fundraising platforms “Taste of our Nation,” “Dine Out for ‘No Kid Hungry,'” “Chef’s Cycle” and “Friendsgiving.”

Michelle Obama, Former First Lady of the United States

Ms. Obama founded the nonprofit organization Let’s Move! in 2010, an anti-hunger and pro-physical activity program for school age children.

Open Table would like to make a special mention in honor of the late Jamie Bemis, the founder of Gaining Ground farm, who passed away this year.

Bemis created the nonprofit organic farm in Concord in 1994. They grow vegetables and fruit and donate their fresh food to area food pantries and other meal programs. Gaining Ground has been a faithful partner to Open Table for many years in part by donating their superb produce to our guests who may not otherwise receive such quality produce. We honor Ms. Bemis’s accomplishments in the fight against hunger and are grateful for her partnership with Open Table and her organization’s significant contributions to help our guests.

Open Table is grateful to these women and the many more who have fought, and continue to fight, hunger.

If you would like to volunteer and assist in the fight against food insecurity at Open Table, please visit