2023 VISTA Millennial Superstars: Catie Hargraves

Catie Hargraves
Image via Paul Patton, Wilmington University.
Catie Hargraves.
VISTA Millennial Superstars logo

Coatesville High School graduate Catie Hargraves is the Director of Food Access and Education at the Chester County Food Bank, the Exton-based nonprofit that annually distributes more than 3.5 million pounds of food to its network of hunger relief partners.

“Providing access to food is only one piece of the puzzle, so we keep nutrition, education, health, and wellness at the center of our work,” she said. “Our food access and education programs focus on creating space for community collaboration and educational opportunities to address other barriers to food security. What I enjoy most about my job is that we are working to keep health equity and nutrition as our focus within the emergency food system.”

Hargraves, who began working as a lifeguard when she was in high school, earned an associate’s degree in Culinary Arts from The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College in Philadelphia and both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Nutrition from West Chester University. She credits the Food Bank’s constituents with having the biggest impact on her career.

“I’m very grateful to be able to work within my community to provide resources and support to eliminate barriers to accessing real, healthy foods,” said Hargraves.

Her proudest professional achievement was helping to keep the Food Bank open during the pandemic’s entirety.

“COVID-19 created additional barriers for community members: food insecurity among adults and children increasing due to rising unemployment, reduced access to school nutrition programming, health disparities related to coronavirus, and many other factors,” said Hargraves. “Not only did the Chester County Food Bank remain open throughout the lockdown, but we expanded our distribution capacity to support pop-up initiatives throughout the county and participated in the USDA Farm to Food Bank Program to provide additional fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, and dairy. Additionally, we were able to pivot educational programming to a virtual setting to ensure community members had a space to connect.”

Hargraves’s favorite Chester County restaurants are Station Taproom and East Branch Brewing in Downingtown.

“Along with making delicious food, they both support local producers, which is important for me when choosing where to dine,” she said.

Hargraves and the rest of the 2023 Class of VISTA Millennial Superstars will be honored at the Awards Reception & Celebration on Thursday, May 18 at Penn State Great Valley.

Sponsors are still being sought. Click here to learn more about the various opportunities available to partner with VISTA Today as it celebrates Chester County’s next generation of leaders, or contact Steve Knickerbocker at steve.knickerbocker@acj.today or 484-437-2826.

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