About Us

Our History

Our Mission: To alleviate hunger and give hope to the hungry.

Dedicated to Feeding the Hungry

The South Plains Food Bank, Inc. is a humanitarian organization dedicated to serving West Texas by providing those who experience food insecurity with a helping hand. The South Plains Food Bank, inc. also extends opportunities for community members to both engage in service, as well as for employment within an environment that promotes community interaction and is enthusiastic about aiding the conclusion of the poverty cycle.

As a member of the Feeding America and Feeding Texas network of food banks, the South Plains Food Bank is a community-based organization with the resources of a national campaign, currently employing more than 9,000 volunteers per year, with annual volunteer hours totaling over 40,000, and an outreach that extends through 20 counties in West Texas. South Plains Food Bank is appreciative to the many volunteers who help make our mission statement a reality.

Committed to Compassion

Remarkable Milestones

Over the span of four decades, the South Plains Food Bank has remained steadfast in our commitment to the South Plains, embracing our noble mission of Giving Hope, Enriching Lives, and Fighting Hunger. the South Plains Food Bank has become a beacon of compassion, illuminating the path towards a brighter future for countless individuals and families.

In our tireless pursuit of combating hunger, the South Plains Food Bank has achieved remarkable milestones. Having served over 100 million nourishing meals, we have been a lifeline for those grappling with food insecurity, offering sustenance and comfort during times of adversity. The impact of our efforts extends beyond mere numbers, as each meal embodies a profound gesture of empathy and support, infusing hope into the lives of those we serve.

Behind the scenes, the South Plains Food Bank harnesses the incredible power of community engagement. Our volunteers, hearts brimming with compassion, have selflessly contributed hundreds of thousands of hours, dedicating their time and energy to the cause. Their commitment has fortified the foundation of the South Plains Food Bank, empowering us to reach greater heights and touch the lives of even more individuals in need.

Our Beginnings

1983 – SPFB Opened by Lou and Ray Diekemper

The South Plains Food Bank emerged from a powerful vision cherished by Ray and Lou —a dream of creating a future where hunger would no longer haunt the South Plains. In 1983, with boundless determination, they transformed their dream into reality by establishing the South Plains Food Bank and procuring its headquarters on the bustling Locust Avenue in Lubbock, Texas. To lead this noble endeavor, they wisely appointed Carolyn Lanier as the first executive director, recognizing her exceptional abilities and passion for combating hunger.

United by a shared purpose, Ray, Lou, Carolyn, and their dedicated team embarked on a compassionate mission to gather and distribute canned food items, making an immediate impact in their very own community. They recognized that the fight against hunger had to begin at home, and the South Plains Food Bank became a catalyst for change, providing sustenance and hope to those facing food insecurity.

Ray, a visionary leader with a heart full of compassion, often emphasized the profound significance of community-driven philanthropy. His timeless words, “Philanthropy starts in your own community,” reverberated through the hearts of all those who joined the cause. This powerful statement underscored the belief that each person has the ability to make a difference by channeling their generosity and efforts towards uplifting their immediate surroundings. It became a rallying cry for individuals and organizations alike, inspiring them to recognize and address the pressing needs within their own communities.

December 1983 - Skip Watson begins U Can Share

In December 1983, Skip Watson, a notable figure as the News Director of KCBD News Channel 11, found himself at the center of a pivotal moment when Carolyn Lanier reached out to him with an urgent plea for assistance. Carolyn, driven by her steadfast commitment to the South Plains Food Bank (SPFB), sought a solution to bolster their efforts in acquiring more food to combat hunger in the community. Recognizing the gravity of the situation, Skip’s resourceful mind went to work, and his brainchild, U Can Share, was born—a groundbreaking initiative that would go on to leave an indelible mark on the lives of thousands.

1994 - Dr. George Elle and Rotary District 5730 Funds Apple Orchard

The 15-acre orchard contains over 2,500 dwarf trees, producing eight different varieties of apples. The first apples were harvested in 1997, with about 25,000 pounds being distributed fresh to the needy. The Southwest Lubbock Rotary Club built a barn at the orchard in 1999 and a cooler was installed in 2000. Annually, the orchard produces a substantial crop of fresh apples to be distributed to clients of the Food Bank and through other Food Banks in the West Texas region.

Growth & Legacy

1993 - David Weaver becomes Director of Development

1997 - David Weaver Appointed as CEO

As a wonderful friend, mentor, coach, and boss Carolyn prepared David for his new role. David’s love for the board, the staff and above all, his love for the mission made him an exceptional CEO during his tenure. David cultivated the food bank to be the pillar of this community and served the people in the face of adversity. He carried forward Lou and Ray’s vision and cemented his legacy by selflessly serving the food bank for 27 years before passing the baton to Dina Jeffries.

2000 - SPFB Opens the Carolyn Lanier Youth Farm

In the year 2000, a transformative initiative took root in Lubbock on the South Plains, under the visionary leadership of CEO David Weaver and the South Plains Food Bank. Together, they laid the foundation for the Carolyn Lanier Youth Farm, a sanctuary of hope and empowerment for youth facing the daunting cycle of poverty. This noble endeavor was made possible not only by the unwavering dedication of the esteemed board members and countless others who joined hands to turn this dream into a reality.

For almost a quarter-century, the South Plains Food Bank Youth Leadership Program has offered up a path to a better future for the youth of the Lubbock area. Through a holistic approach that goes beyond simply providing sustenance, this program has been a catalyst for change in the lives of these teens, instilling vital life and job skills that empower them to break free from the shackles of food insecurity.

Nestled within the lush confines of the Carolyn Lanier Youth Farm, this extraordinary initiative offers far more than just a safe haven; it’s a nurturing space where young hearts and minds are cultivated, dreams are kindled, and aspirations are brought to life. The dedicated mentors and counselors tirelessly work to forge strong connections with the youth, creating a supportive and inspiring environment that fosters personal growth, self-belief, and resilience.

2020 - Dina Jeffries Appointed CEO

After Weaver’s tenure, he entrusted the responsibility to the capable hands of Dina Jeffries. With more than 30 years of experience in non-profits, Jeffries took over as the CEO during the pandemic in 2020. She brought with her a substantial amount of experience in the non-profit industry, and she is a graduate of the Kellogg School of Executive Non-Profit Management and Leadership. She has carried the South Plains Food Bank through a global pandemic and implemented a variety of programs that have made food more accessible to our neighbors who are food insecure.

Feeding the Future

Reflection & Resolve

As we reflect upon our illustrious history, our resolve is only strengthened, fueling a renewed commitment to serve the West Texas region for another four decades and beyond. Our unwavering dedication to the community we call home remains resolute, ensuring that no one is left to face the daunting challenges of hunger alone.

Giving Hope. Enriching Lives. Fighting Hunger.

Looking ahead, we are embracing the future with determination, guided by the lessons learned and the countless lives we have touched. Our unyielding spirit promises to ignite continued innovation, resilience, and compassion in the fight against hunger. We stand as a symbol of hope and unity, inspiring the community to rally together and create lasting change.