Holiday Fund: Nothing else matters when you're hungry | November 21, 2012 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


Cover Story - November 21, 2012

Holiday Fund: Nothing else matters when you're hungry

By Caitlin Kerk of the Second Harvest Food Bank

One day Chris looked at his mom and asked the question no parent wants to hear, "Are we homeless?" Eddie and Love had always worked hard to support their family, but after hitting a bump in the road, they found themselves out of work. With no money and no place to call home, they couldn't buy food for their two children. But thanks to Second Harvest Food Bank, the family is now able to get the nutritious food they need to thrive.

"Hunger exists in every corner of our community and affects people of all shapes and sizes, every race and ethnicity, employed and unemployed, and highly educated and uneducated," said Kathy Jackson, CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. "Though they can sometimes be hard to recognize, the faces of hunger are all around us. It may be a neighbor who lost his job in the economic downturn, a cafeteria worker at your child's school, or the clerk at your neighborhood hardware store."

Second Harvest provides food to nearly 250,000 people every month — that's one in 10 people in the two-county region. The number of people the Food Bank serves has increased nearly 50 percent since the recession started, and the need continues to rise despite the improving economy.

To keep pace with the growing need, Second Harvest Food Bank hopes to raise $12.4 million and 2 million pounds of food during its Holiday Food and Fund Drive. This is a critical campaign for Second Harvest, which raises nearly half its annual revenues during the holidays.

To ensure that everyone has access to food right in their own neighborhood, Second Harvest Food Bank partners with more than 300 nonprofit agencies to provide food at more than 740 sites throughout Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, including pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, and after-school programs. Second Harvest is one of only a few food banks that does not charge its partners for the food it provides. Last year, Second Harvest provided the equivalent of 38 million meals and more than 50 percent of the food it distributes is fresh produce.

You can help families like Eddie and Love's by donating to Second Harvest's Holiday Food and Fund Drive. Every dollar donated provides 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.

Visit or call (866) 234-3663 for more information. If you need food, call Second Harvest's Food Connection hotline at (800) 984-3663 to learn about food-assistance programs in your neighborhood.