North Valley Food Bank hires new director

February 20, 2019

Jessy Lee has been hired as executive director of North Valley Food Bank in Whitefish, taking the reins from SueAnn Grogan-King, who had led the food bank for four years.

Lee grew up in Billings and was first exposed to anti-hunger work in 2009 when she interned at the Missoula Food Bank. Lee moved to Missoula in 2006 and earned a Bachelor of Social Work degree from the University of Montana. She completed her Master of Public Administration at the University of Montana just before accepting her new assignment in Whitefish. She was awarded the MPA/Nonprofit Public Service Award recipient for the 2018-2019 academic year for her commitment to excellence in public service and academic excellence.

“It’s an honor to serve Whitefish community members in this capacity,” Lee said in a press release. “I’m thrilled for the opportunity to continue serving my fellow Montanans.”

She began the new job a week ago.

“I care about humanity, it’s that simple,” she said. “I dove into the work and eventually oversaw all programs at Missoula Food Bank. It was the pleasure of my life.”

North Valley Food Bank Board President Jim Cummings said the board is “thrilled to have Jessy join our team.

“We had several well-qualified candidates,” he said. “We are confident we found the right person for the job.”

The independent nonprofit food bank opened a 4,748-square-foot distribution center off Baker Avenue in late 2013. The project to relocate the food bank from an aging facility to a new location was the swan song of founding North Valley Food Bank Director June Munski-Feenan, who died at age 86 just a month after the new facility opened.

In the late 1970s, with no storage space for contributions, Munski-Feenan stacked more than 100 loaves of bread under her Christmas tree to feed the hungry over the holidays, and a snow bank in her backyard became a makeshift cooler for jugs of milk. She tirelessly led the food bank for decades, networking with community leaders and finding innovative ways to get things done.