Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Luncheon
Estella Mayhue-Greer, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the Mid-South Food Bank, was the guest speaker at the Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Luncheon Jan. 19 at Dyersburg State Community College (DSCC) inside the E.H. Lannom, Jr. Gymnasium. The event was co-hosted by DSCC and the Dyersburg/Dyer County Chamber of Commerce.
Guests enjoyed a special performance by Reachal Hudgins, choir director at Dyer County High School. Opening remarks were given by Tim Climer, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the Dyersburg/Dyer County Chamber of Commerce, followed by an invocation by Dr. Joe Wright, director of missions at Dyer Baptist Association.
Mayhue-Greer reminisced about the time she planned and executed the first celebration in Memphis honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. after his assassination. “The event focused on Dr. King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech – a speech which brought even greater attention to the Civil Rights Movement and the endless possibilities of justice and peace in our great country,” stated Mayhue-Greer.
She also spoke on Dr. King’s focus of eliminating widespread poverty as noted in his 1964 Nobel Peace Prize address. Mayhue-Greer explained that Dr. King organized a march in Washington called the ‘Poor People’s Campaign’ which fought for economic justice and equality for the poor in the United States. It was the second phase of the Civil Rights Movement – a phase that brought Dr. King to Memphis to support living wages and improved working conditions for sanitation works, and ultimately was his last stop before his assassination.
“If Dr. King was still alive, I think he would demand the end to the injustice of poverty and hunger,” stated Mayhue-Greer. “We can speak out to break the cycle of poverty by volunteering to read to and tutor young children; volunteering to mentor junior high, high school and college students; considering the importance of a living wage if you’re an employer; and supporting your local food distribution.”
Estella Mayhue-Greer became president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the Mid-South Food Bank Jan. 1, 2011. She began her employment there in 1996 as an agency relations director. She was promoted to director of programs in 2002 and became senior vice president and chief operating officer (COO) in 2004. Mayhue-Greer started the Kids Cafe and Food for Kids Backpack programs to address childhood hunger. She also began the Mobile Pantry program to increase distribution of food to rural counties and increased both the quality and the quantity of food distributed to partner agencies to fight hunger in the Mid-South Food Bank’s 31-county service area.
Before joining the Mid-South Food Bank, Mayhue-Greer was a lecturer at Christian Brothers University while maintaining her own public relations and marketing firm. Before this, she was employed as an adjunct instructor at the University of Memphis, a partner in JEL Communications, and worked in marketing and public relations with the City of Memphis, Methodist Health Systems and Regional Medical Center.
Mayhue-Greer is a graduate of Leadership Tennessee Class IV and Leadership Memphis. She is active in Kiwanis Club of Memphis; Justice, Unity, Generosity, Service International, Memphis Chapter; and The Links, Memphis Chapter. She currently serves on the Trezevant Manor board of directors and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center Community Advisory Board.
Mayhue-Greer was recognized for her many accomplishments in 2015 with the Memphis City Council Humanitarian Award. She was named one of Memphis Business Journal’s ‘Super Women in Business’ in 2015; a ‘Woman of Courage’ by Dress for Success in 2013; a ‘Corporate Woman of Excellence’ by Grace Magazine in 2013; and ‘50 Women Who Make a Difference’ in 2007. She was also featured in Memphis Magazine’s ‘Who’s Who in Memphis’ and as a ‘Power Player’ in Memphis Business Quarterly.