Announcing The Bag Lady Foundation

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Announcing The Bag Lady Foundation



MAY 22, 2013 (Savannah, Georgia) – Today, America’s favorite cook, restaurateur, author and philanthropist, Paula Deen announced the launch of, The Bag Lady Foundation.  The Foundation’s mission is to provide hope, inspiration and support to women and families in need.  The Bag Lady Foundation plans to aid individuals, communities and like-minded organizations to empower those facing a range of challenges resulting from poverty.

The Bag Lady Foundation is a personal passion for Deen who had the Foundation named after one of the very first businesses she started, during an extremely difficult period in her life.  In 1989, after her marriage of 25-years ended in divorce, she was left with only $200 and money was tight raising both her kids and her younger brother, Earl (“Bubba”). She tried hanging wallpaper, working as a bank teller, selling real estate and insurance. She then started a catering service, making sandwiches and meals, which her sons Jamie and Bobby delivered and named it, “The Bag Lady.”  Deen’s home business soon out grew her kitchen and from there…the “Deen dream” took off.

“I think back on those tough times and remember how hard we worked to pull ourselves up by our boot-straps,” said Paula Deen.  “It was a difficult time for us, but an experience that made me and my sons stronger.  My legacy is to encourage people to reach way down in their souls and find their inner strength to overcome their troubles.  That is why I am so excited about The Bag Lady Foundation which will help those in poverty deal with the challenges they face in their daily lives.” 

“Dolly Parton, Wolfgang Puck and Mother Theresa - blend them all together and you’ve almost got Paula Deen,” said Ethel Kennedy, Founder Robert F. Kennedy, Center for Justice and Human Rights. “With her grit, talent and heart of gold, this Goddess of Gravy shows us the way to feed the hungry.  Let’s help Paula make room at the table for everyone.”

Chairing the Foundation is Lucie Salhany, who is a consultant to Paula Deen Enterprises, and who has sat on a number of Corporate Boards, including Hewlett Packard.  Joining Lucie on the Foundation Board are Nick Gallegos, a Partner in Paula Deen Foods and Susan Green, a longtime supporter and friend of Paula and her endeavors. Legal counsel for the Foundation is Andrew Morton of law firm Handler Thayer, LLP.  Andrew has a specific specialty in overseeing charitable foundations connected to celebrated public figures.

The foundation still in its infancy stages plans to raise money from a variety of financial resources, including a percentage of the net proceeds from Paula Deen Foods.  The Bag Lady Foundation will also be accepting public and private donations which can be made directly on The Bag Lady Foundation website.  To date, the Foundation has received financial commitments from Meyer Inc., the FOX Network show “Master Chef.”

Deen is well known for her Southern Cooking passion, having sold more than 8,000,000 of her 14 cookbooks and received an Emmy Award Nomination for her work as host of “Paula’s Best Dishes.”  Deen’s landmark restaurant The Lady & Sons, based in Savannah, Georgia, has been launch pad for an expanding restaurant empire in partnership with Caesars Entertainment; having recently launched her fourth restaurant “Paula Deen’s Kitchen” at Harrah’s Joliet property.  In addition to her food products, Paula Deen has a highly successful line of Paula Deen Cookware found at leading retailers, as well as Paula Deen Home which features furniture and other products.

Deen’s family continues to be connected to her work; her son Bobby’s show “Not My Mama’s Meals” is a hit on Cooking Channel and next month her son Jamie will launch his new show “Home for Dinner with Jamie Deen” on Food Network.

For more information on The Bag Lady Foundation or to learn how to donate, visit:


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Reader Comments:


would u please help the me i have kids in mingo county that leave the school on friday an do not eat til they come back to school on monday iam on the boe an my heart goes out to these kids i need to know if u can help me with this

By stephen marcum on October 21, 2013


Mrs. Paula Dean, I had seen on television where you had talked about taking proposals regarding grants;in the fall for women wanting to start their own business. I am a single mom of three. I have a 7 and six year old and my third will be born mid September. I wanted very much to work from home enabling to better care for my young children. If there is any way to get any information on this proposal procedure please email me back. Thanks a ton!, Sandy Gann

By Sandy Gann on August 14, 2013


My husband bought me a set of Paula Deen cookware 2 Christmas' ago. I had begged for a set for a long time. Finally got it, took best care of it. And dared anyone else in my house to use it. Then one night I took a pan of cooking grease that was in 4 qt boiler melted it. Thanks to the lid on the boiler being tight the heat sealed it even more. I had left the house and was gone for maybe 4 hours. When I returned home my house was full of smoke.When the police arrived first they never found the fire. But they knew it came from the kitchen from the smell. The cop grabbed the boiler and out the door he went and threw it and still the lid was sealed so much. He told me that the lid sealing is what saved my house. Needless to say I ruined the boiler. Never to be used again and seem to can't find that size for sale. But thanks a million Paula for creating a cookware set do durable and safe. Belinda

By Belinda Strickland on May 29, 2013


Aww, Hi Paula How are u ? An I am doing fine good and honestly I alway watch on tv cooking that u cook there show and I want met u a take picture of us and sign real one .. I alway love u lol I am skill of cooking yes of course some day I will volg show of cook u will see it someday ok. I am hard of hearing "chef deaf lady" Love Miss Sandra Goodyear Videophone 856 292 8530 Keep in touch xoxo

By Sandra Goodyear on May 24, 2013


I really love the shirt Paula is wearing in the picture announcing the Bag Lady Foundation. Where is it from?

By Julie on May 24, 2013


By Sally Boucher on May 23, 2013


I watch all of your shows. I love most of your recipes as long as they don't have any kind of fish or seafood. I am allergic to them. I am hoping to meet you sometime. That is if I ever make it too where you are. Love you Paula.

By Rita Conner on May 23, 2013


I was happy to donate to the bag lady foundation...I know how hard times can be raising children on your own..I did with 3 children and one of them being handicapped...if it were not for the love and kindness of God's ppl I would have never gotten through..I was a woman of pride and refused assistance....I love you Paula Deen and all that you do to help those around you...You never get your head so far into the clouds that you forget who you are and where you came from...God Bless all you do....

By Judy on May 23, 2013


Wow Paula is a true hero to those who are down on their luck and could use some help. To receive the endorsement of such a wonderful lady as Ethel Kennedy is quite a feather in Paula's cap. I wish Paula continued success with her foundation and I admire her for finding her way out of financial difficulties and raising such wonderful sons and getting to the top her world. I wish I had the gumption to do the same. More power to you, dear Paula!!!

By Marianne Anastasio on May 23, 2013

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Paula's Upcoming Schedule

  • August 27: Paula Deen Live! Nashville, TN

    Come see Paula’s live show at the TPAC: Andrew Jackson Hall in Nashville, TN and get a heaping helping of Paula’s recipes, and some good old-fashioned fun and laughter!
    Tickets available from Tennessee Performing Arts Center here!
    Sponsored by Springer Mountain Farms.

  • September 12: Deen Family Book Signing

    Join the Deen Family for a Book Signing at The Lady & Sons from 10 am to 12 pm.
    The event is free; 350 wristbands to be distributed starting at 9 am.

  • September 16: Paula Deen Live! Birmingham, AL

    Come see Paula’s live show at the Alabama Theatre in Birmingham, AL and get a heaping helping of Paula’s recipes, and some good old-fashioned fun and laughter!
    Tickets available from Ticketmaster here!
    Sponsored by Springer Mountain Farms.

  • View Paula's Full Schedule