Patricia J. Young

 Patricia Young, activist on hunger issues, dies at age 91

Patricia Kinkaid Young, who campaigned to end hunger and encourage more equitable food distribution and nutrition globally over many decades as a volunteer in local, national and international settings, died on March 26, 2015 at the age of 91.

Mrs. Young was born in Monmouth, Illinois, on
September 21, 1923, daughter of George and Louise Kinkaid. She attended Indiana State Teachers College (now Indiana State University) and was an active member of the Debate Team.  She chaired the college Speakers’ Bureau which campaigned for the establishment of the United Nations (and was present in San Francisco when the Charter was drawn up in 1945).  Mrs. Young met her husband Joseph H. Young while he was attending U.S. Navy officer training at Indiana State Teachers College during World War II. They were married on June 30, 1944. In 1953, the family moved to Scranton where Mr. Young joined the firm of Bellante and Clauss as an architect. In 1961, he established his own architectural firm and practiced until shortly before his death at 94 on February 10, 2015.

As a mother, Mrs. Young was President of the James Madison PTA, Coordinator of parent-sponsored classes in foreign languages in the elementary schools and coordinated the Scranton Public School’s participation in Peace Corps School-to-School projects in Ivory Coast, Africa and Thailand.

As a community member, Mrs. Young served on Citizens Committee for Fair Housing, Lackawanna Arts Council, Altrusa Club, League of Women Voters, Office Manager of the Scranton for President Headquarters and a volunteer in the office of Congressman McDade. She was also a speaker with the US Committee for the United Nations and chaired the first and second Annual Luncheons.

As a member of Westminster Presbyterian Church (now Covenant), Mrs. Young was an Elder, active in Westminster Women, Chair of the Refugee Committee, and she and her husband were sponsors of the Westerians, Geneva Fellowship, Nursery School, Meals-on Wheels and United Churches of Lackawanna County.

In the wider church, Mrs. Young served as a member of the national boards of Church Women United, United Presbyterian Women, the Task Force on Southern Africa,  the Refugee Resettlement Committee of the United Presbyterian Church USA and was the first woman Moderator of the Synod of Trinity in 1977-78. 

In the fall of 1966, Mrs. Young was one of eleven women who were selected to go to South Africa as a fact-finding Christian Causeways Team sponsored by Church Women United (under the sponsorship of the National Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches) to meet local church people and discuss issues relating to Apartheid. In 1969, she was Chair of the Task Force on Voluntary Action by Women for the White House Conference on Food, Nutrition and Health, and was selected as one of six participants to meet with President Nixon to emphasize the need for action on the Conference recommendations. A year later she became chairperson of the board of directors of the Community Nutrition Institute.

During the 70s she chaired the International Nestle Boycott Committee, a Project of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility of the NCC. She attended the World Food Congress at The Hague in 1970, the 1974 World Food Conference of the FAO, the 1979 World Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development in Rome, and the UN Decade of Women Conference in Nairobi in 1985.

She received the ISU Distinguished Alumni Award in 1975. She was also awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters Degree from the University of Scranton in 1981, and the Alan Shawn Feinstein World Hunger Award for Public Service from Brown University for 1990-91.

Mrs. Young was National Coordinator for the U.S. National Committee for World Food Day, a commemoration established by the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) to raise public awareness of hunger and food security issues and to promote action to address those issues.  She held this position for twenty-nine years, from 1981 to 2010, when she ‘retired’ as a volunteer at age 87. The US WFD Committee oversaw a coalition of over 450 private, voluntary organizations. Mrs. Young’s work on World Food Day culminated in a successful project to develop a package of instructional materials in 14 languages entitled “Feeding Minds, Fighting Hunger” for use by teachers in discussing hunger and malnutrition issues in schools. In 1983, the City of Scranton chose World Food Day as its theme for UN Day and issued a Proclamation declaring October 24 as UN Day and Patricia Young Day!

Mr. and Mrs. Young are survived by their children Pamela (Vermont), Christopher (England), Gwen (New Jersey) and Jeffrey (Colorado), eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the World Food Day Memorial Fund
in her memory care of:

United States Committee for FAO

2121 K Street, NW, Suite 800-B

Washington, DC 20037

A joint Memorial Service will be held on April 27 at 11:00 at Covenant Presbyterian Church 550 Madison Ave. Scranton.

Arrangements have been entrusted to the Vanston and James Funeral Home and are under the care and direction of Robert C. Jones, Funeral Director.

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