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Holiday Fund: Hard times despite improving economy

The Second Harvest Food Bank benefits from your donations to the Holiday Fund

By Caitlin Kerk, Second Harvest Food Bank

While the economy may be improving, families like Amanda and Felipe's are still struggling to put food on the table. The couple work hard, yet can't make ends meet with the high cost of living in the Bay Area. They are not alone. Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties is continuing to see unprecedented need.

"Now that the recession is over, many people think the need for food has gone down, but that couldn't be further from the truth," said Kathy Jackson, CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank. "The reality is more people need help from the Food Bank than ever before. It continues to be very hard times for the people we serve."

The number of people Second Harvest serves every month has grown to more than 250,000 children, seniors and families. That equates to one in 10 people in the two-county region.

Amanda and Felipe were not able to afford the nutritious food their three young sons need to thrive at school and in life. But thanks to Second Harvest, they can now provide their children with fresh fruits and vegetables, and protein for their growing bodies.

Second Harvest needs to raise $13.2 million and 2 million pounds of food during its Holiday Food and Fund Drive to ensure that no family goes hungry this holiday season and all year long. This is a critical campaign for the Food Bank, which raises nearly half its annual revenues during the holidays.

To ensure that anyone who needs a meal can get one, Second Harvest Food Bank partners with more than 330 nonprofit agencies to provide food at more than 770 sites, including pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters.

Last year, Second Harvest distributed nearly 52 million pounds of food to the community 1 million pounds every single week. More than half of the food it provides is fresh produce.

You can help families like Amanda and Felipe's by donating to Second Harvest's Holiday Food and Fund Drive. Every dollar donated provides the equivalent of two nutritious meals. You can also host a food drive or drop off food at one of the many collection barrels located throughout the community. To donate, visit www.SHFB.org or call (866) 234-3663.

If you need food, call Second Harvest's Food Connection hotline at (800) 984-3663 to learn about food-assistance programs in your neighborhood.

Donate online to the Almanac's Holiday Fund.

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