February 22, 2024

Following a long career of dedicated service to Northern New Mexico families, Sherry Hooper has elected to retire as Executive Director of The Food Depot effective June 30, 2024, after more than 22 years at the food bank. A transition committee is actively seeking a qualified individual to serve as The Food Depot’s next executive director. 

Hooper, who started with The Food Depot in September of 2001, is the longest-serving executive director in the food bank’s history.  Prior to her arrival in 2001, Hooper spent ten years at Harvesters Food Bank in Kansas City, MO, her hometown. Ensuring food security for others has been the work of her lifetime. 

“Leading The Food Depot has been one of my greatest joys. Every day I’ve had the opportunity to work with a community dedicated to providing healthy food to so many children and families. Northern New Mexico is now my second home, and I could not be more proud of the change we have made together,” says Hooper. 

Hooper’s vision for The Food Depot has been transformational. From a small organization operating from a warehouse less than 5,000 square feet, Hooper led the nonprofit through a capital campaign to construct the food bank’s current building in Santa Fe. Today, The Food Depot warehouse occupies 27,000 square feet, distributing over 9 million pounds of food annually through the hard work of 41 staff members and a corps of 708 active volunteers. Innovative programs, ambitious strategic plans, and strong partnerships have become the cornerstones of The Food Depot under Hooper’s pursuit for a truly hunger free Northern New Mexico. Her leadership has empowered the food bank to pivot and grow to meet crippling levels of need across a pandemic, natural disasters, and rising inflation. 

Today, The Food Depot stands as a Tried and True organization in Northern New Mexico, reliably providing food security to more than 40,000 people in nine counties. Hooper demands that The Food Depot follow the words of Desmond Tutu: “There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they’re falling in.” The Food Depot’s work now includes a focus on connecting people to wraparound services to more adequately address their needs, as well as a focus on advocacy that encourages systemic change. 

“Sherry is a remarkable person,” says David Barton, current board member and former President of The Food Depot Board of Directors. “Her energy,  intelligence and compassion are an inspiration. What a privilege to work with her for so many wonderful years.” 

As an indicator of her skills as a leader, Hooper has intentionally surrounded herself with a diverse and talented group of individuals ready to continue her legacy. The Food Depot’s current strategic plan was adopted in 2021 and will guide the organization through 2026. 

The Food Depot’s Board of Directors has appointed a dedicated transition committee to explore highly qualified individuals to fill the executive director position within the next several months. The Food Depot’s full leadership team is committed to providing their continued, steady leadership throughout the search and selection process. 

“The Food Depot is dedicated to our network of community partners and the people we serve,” assures Len Rand, current President of The Food Depot’s Board of Directors. “Sherry has made a tremendous impact on this organization. As part of the transition committee, I am confident we will appoint an executive director who will lead the food bank with the same wisdom and determination.” 

Over the Food Depot plans to host several scheduled opportunities for donors, partners, and the community to celebrate Sherry’s incredible impact on Northern New Mexico. Community members are encouraged to send Sherry a handwritten card to The Food Depot with a note of appreciation. Cards should be mailed to 1222 A Siler Road, Santa Fe, NM 87507.