Almanac

Cover Story - November 23, 2011

Holiday Fund: Nothing else matters when you're hungry

By Caitlin Kerk, public relations manager at Second Harvest Food Bank.

Arletta Jorgenson doesn't always know where her next meal is coming from. She has been unemployed for three years and struggles to put food on the table. She had a good job at a law firm before the recession hit. Now Arletta and her two daughters depend on the food they receive from Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties.

Hunger is a growing problem in our community as the economy continues to take its toll. The number of people who receive food from Second Harvest Food Bank has increased by nearly 50 percent since the recession started. People who thought they would never need help are seeking food assistance. They are your friends, neighbors, and coworkers.

Second Harvest Food Bank hopes to raise $11.3 million and 1.6 million pounds of food during its Holiday Food and Fund Drive. This is a critical drive for Second Harvest, which raises half its annual revenues during the holidays.

"We want to make sure everyone in our community has enough to eat this holiday season and beyond," said Kathy Jackson, CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank. "When you're hungry, nothing else matters — you can't concentrate, you can't learn, you can't work, you can't get through the day."

To ensure that everyone has access to the nutritious food they need, Second Harvest Food Bank partners with about 300 nonprofit agencies to provide food at more than 650 pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, and after-school programs throughout Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. Last year, the Food Bank provided 35 million meals. More than 40 percent of what the Food Bank distributes is fresh produce.

Second Harvest provides food to nearly 250,000 people each month — that's one in 10 people in the two-county region. Anyone who needs food can call Second Harvest's Food Connection hotline at (800) 984-3663 to learn about local food resources.

You can help Second Harvest feed hungry people this holiday season and throughout the year by donating to the Holiday Food and Fund Drive. Every dollar you give provides two meals. You can also host a food drive at your company or organization. Or you can drop off food at one of the many food barrels you see in your community.

Gifts to the Holiday Fund benefit the Second Harvest Food Bank and nine other community-service organizations.

> Visit SHFB.org for more information.

To give to the Holiday Fund online, go to http://siliconvalleycf.org/almanac-holiday-fund

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