The Food Bank Honors Long-time Contributors, Betty and Charles Barker

Friends and family of the late Betty and Charles Barker say the couple was committed to serving their community, but most never knew the depth of their philanthropy. The Barkers made a point of donating anonymously to The Food Bank and many other local non-profit organizations for decades. They began giving to The Food Bank in 1998, and after Charles passed away three years ago, Betty continued that tradition until her passing in early 2021. The Barkers were concerned ―not with recognition – but with making a difference in the lives of people in need.

Today, their giving spirit lives on in their daughter Ann, co-owner of Quonquont Farm in Whately, who has served on The Food Bank’s board of directors since January 2020. “My parents were humble philanthropists, who quietly shared their good fortune with others. They were passionate believers in the importance of community and the need to show compassion and kindness to others,” Barker said. “I am grateful to have seen their compassion in action and find comfort in knowing their impact in the community is deep and lasting.”

Reflecting on the Barkers, Andrew Morehouse, Food Bank Executive Director, shared his recollections of the couple.

“The Barkers and I would meet once a year so I could update them on the impact of their giving. Invariably, Charles, who was a Republican and owner of a successful local company in Franklin County, would turn to a diatribe of the state of the world, specifically, big multinationals buying up smaller local companies and not giving back to the community. Eventually, Betty would chime in, saying, ‘Charles, I think it’s time to let Andrew get back to work,’” Morehouse recalled.

Over the years with their generous contributions, the Barkers made possible countless meals for individuals facing food insecurity and hunger. And, as food insecurity spiked last year during the COVID-19 pandemic, increased donor generosity enabled The Food Bank to distribute more healthy food than ever before in its almost 40-year history. Without this support, providing nutritious emergency food would have been impossible in communities across all four counties of western Massachusetts.

The generosity and compassion the Barkers displayed make the mission of The Food Bank possible.  “We are grateful for their philanthropic support to lift up so many people who were going through hard times,” said Morehouse.

To learn about planned giving with The Food Bank, click here