PACS' Whitney Named Woman of the Year

The Association of Adventist Women (AAW) has named Rhonda Whitney, Portland Adventist Community Services (PACS) executive director, Woman of the Year for Community Life.

When Rhonda Whitney became the PACS executive director in 1994, she redefined “community service” and revolutionized the delivery of care to the needy. She took a $60,000-per-year organization and transformed it into a $2.3 million operation with a food warehouse, a thrift store and a free health clinic utilizing the services of local physicians, nurses, a local hospital and a nursing school. PACS now serves 174,000 people a year.

Whitney developed a new food delivery system that preserves the dignity of her clients by providing them with nutrition education and allowing them to choose their own food from a supermarket-type facility. The thrift store provides clients with clothing and household items in emergencies and is a low-cost shopping facility for the community of the working poor. It generates up to $14,000 a month to support community services.

This organization has become a model for other programs in Oregon, and Whitney is recognized as a resource person who serves on boards and committees across her state and the nation. She is a past member of the Oregon Food Bank governing board and a member of the North American Division community services steering committee.

Whitney served previously as the medical staff education coordinator for Adventist Medical Center in Portland.

Whitney is a member of the Tabernacle Church in Portland, where she serves as an elder.

For the complete list of award recipients, visit the October World Church section at For further information on the AAW and its annual conference, visit the AAW Web site at

October 01, 2004 / Oregon Conference