Fighting hunger on the home front may seem like a daunting task, but that is exactly what Scott Young does in Lincoln everyday. As Executive Director of the Food Bank of Lincoln, he manages the organization’s day-to-day workings, carrying out its mission, and heightening awareness of Southeast Nebraska’s growing poverty issue.
Young had cast a wide net in finding the best career fit. Leaving Wesleyan in the early 70s to pursue work in radio, he held a variety of positions in stations in Lincoln and Omaha, Laramie, WY, and Casa Grande, AZ. By 1997 he was ready for a career change and re-enrolled at Wesleyan. He says that returning to college as a non-traditional student allowed him to focus more on his studies, and he soon realized that non-profit work may be a good fit for him. In 2001, he completed his Communication degree and became the Food Bank’s Executive Director.
One of a network of 205 food banks across the United States, the Lincoln-based organization has, under Young’s leadership, nearly doubled both its annual food distribution rate (to approximately four million pounds), as well as its budget. The staff, too, has grown from 10 to 14. But equally amazing is the success of a program started under Young’s guidance --the BackPack program, which sends food-filled backpacks home with school children on Friday afternoons. Started in 2004 with 50 backpacks in one Lincoln elementary school, the project will distribute over 1,500 a week this year to students in Lincoln and six surrounding communities.
While the hunger problem may not be as well defined in Nebraska, it is still present. Young reports that the latest US Census figures reveal that there are more than 6,500 children under age 18 living below the poverty line in Lancaster County alone. It is work like this that Young says brings to light the poverty and hunger issues that Nebraska faces.
Young lives in Lincoln with wife JoAnne. They have three children, Carson, Elizabeth, and Joseph, and a daughter-in-law, Michaela (Johanns) Young ’04. Young’s two sisters, Nancy Young Hayden and Jo Young Calhoun are also NWU graduates.