Our CalFresh team is out in the field, doing the crucial outreach necessary to find and help connect eligible participants to CalFresh/SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). Did you know that California ranks last among all states for SNAP participation? Less than half of those who are eligible in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties receive CalFresh benefits and our staff is working hard to change that.
I enjoy getting CalFresh updates from Anna Dyer, our Associate Director of Services. I’m always in the office, sitting at my desk and staring at my monitor, so I like to think of the CalFresh team as a Special Ops crew, out in the real world pursuing covert missions with special targets and objectives.
When I found out that they are doing strategic senior outreach, I had to learn more. It’s estimated that only 10% of eligible seniors in California are getting CalFresh. That’s a jaw-dropping number, right? The high cost of living (food, housing) in our community continues to rise, yet seniors usually have a fixed income and many are forced to choose between food and medicine or utilities.
Check out these senior outreach missions that our CalFresh team is working on:
This year, they received a grant from Feeding America and the Walmart Foundation to reach more seniors. From January to September, the team helped over 1,200 seniors apply for CalFresh. CalFresh Specialists attended every Brown Bag site in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties two to three times each to provide application assistance. The Brown Bag program provides weekly nutritious groceries to adults over age 60 and those over age 55 with a disability. Their senior-specific materials were distributed to senior centers and they also developed relationships with Meals on Wheels programs in both counties in order to get their help in referring eligible seniors.
In November, they developed a new relationship with the Santa Clara County Seniors Council – Foster Grandparent/Senior Companion program, highlighting their flexibility in meeting people who need CalFresh and Food Bank programs where they are (as opposed to requiring them to come to a business office). As an example, Huong, one of our CalFresh specialists, did a presentation to about 100 seniors associated with the Seniors Council at a Hometown Buffet. She talked about how seniors can benefit from CalFresh and debunked myths such as immigration and social security status. It turned out that 16 of them were likely eligible for CalFresh benefits and the team later returned to that Hometown Buffet to collect the applications.
Here are some key learnings from this targeted senior outreach:
Seniors are the perfect target audience. According to Huong, the seniors that she’s encountered are very outgoing and love to learn about new programs.
Meet seniors where they already are. The Senior Council meeting at the Hometown Buffet was an ideal setting to reach seniors – it’s familiar to them and getting there was easy.
Seniors often have old information about the program and are very interested in learning about program changes, for example it’s no longer stamps, but rather the benefits come on a card similar to a debit card which you can use at the grocery store or farmers’ markets.
Eligibility rules are confusing to many people and seniors appreciate having someone explain them.
Many seniors believe that if they participate in CalFresh, someone else won’t be able to and they worry that they are taking the benefit away from someone else. They are so relieved to learn that there is enough for everyone who is eligible for it.
***Interested in finding out how to apply for CalFresh? Call our Food Connection Hotline at 1-800-984-3663 for screening and application assistance.
Many retailers and nonprofit organizations are anticipating a lot of online transactions over Cyber Monday on December 2 and Giving Tuesday on December 3. Thanks to LiveOps, a global leader in cloud-based customer service, we’ve been tasked with taking advantage of this increased online activity to spread the word about local hunger and earn monetary donations through your social media activity. Yes, yours.
The LiveOps 2013 Social Media Challenge is an alternative to online shopping and giving over this two-day period. Give your credit card a (short) break and check out what we’re posting and tweeting – your clicking and typing could earn us some cash. LiveOps will donate up to $5,000 for all social media activity!
All of the actions aim to keep us connected, as well as educate your friends about hunger in our community and how they can get involved. Here’s the menu of $5 and $10 social media actions:
- Like our page on Facebook
- Follow us on Twitter
- Follow us on Google+
- Follow us on Instagram
- Share/RT images that we post on Facebook or tweet
- Tweet/RT the following
***On Cyber Monday only: On #CyberMonday, @LiveOps donates $5 for each RT or new follower of @2ndharvest http://bit.ly/lsmc13 #LSMC13
***On Giving Tuesday only: On #GivingTuesday, @LiveOps donates $5 for each RT or new follower of @2ndharvest http://bit.ly/lsmc13 #LSMC13
- Respond to question(s) that we post on Facebook
- On Giving Tuesday only: Post a picture on our Facebook page timeline of you holding a sign that says: Together we can solve local hunger #GivingTuesday
So if someone that has never connected with us on social media decided to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Instagram on 12/2, then on 12/3, posted a picture holding a sign (like Kayla above) on our Facebook page timeline, she’d earn us a $30 donation. We can turn $1 into 2 meals, so that $30 donation is equal to 60 meals for people in need in our community. Pretty cool, right?
Please keep your eye on our Facebook status updates and tweets on 12/2 Cyber Monday and 12/3 Giving Tuesday. We will prompt you with every action you can take. Be ready to like, comment, share, and tweet!
Some of you may already know about the unexpected and troubling situation that we faced recently. Two weeks before Thanksgiving and in the midst of our fundraising campaign to meet the rising need for food in our community, fuel was stolen from a couple of food trucks parked at our Bing Center in San Carlos. While the diesel fuel was valued at more than $400, our total loss was more than $17,000 (equivalent to more than 34,000 meals). We had to get the trucks towed and fixed, plus hire a security guard to watch over the facility.
The incident received a lot of local media coverage, including this segment from KTVU:
We’re happy to report that we’ve more than recovered from the loss! Many community members responded by making generous monetary donations. In addition, upon hearing about what had happened, SanDisk stepped in and wrote us a check to cover the entire amount.
“Hunger at any time of the year is a major concern of ours; the more so during the holidays,” said Gisela B. Bushey, Senior Manager of the SanDisk Foundation and Community Relations. “We are just glad that the repairs can be made and that the people who come to Second Harvest in need won’t be turned away because of the actions of others.”
Thanks to SanDisk and the community, we are back on track and working to deliver food on time to more than 330 nonprofit agencies, including pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters, to provide meals to hungry people in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties!
“Help families enjoy their holiday dinner by donating a turkey! They are high in protein and generally low in fat. If you do decide to drop off and donate a frozen turkey, please be sure it’s hard as a rock to prevent any food-related illnesses.” – Janet Hung, Community Nutritionist
For many, the holidays aren’t complete without a turkey on the dining table. For the 1 in 10 people in our community who rely on the Food Bank for food, a turkey can be hard to come by. Every year, we hold a drive to collect turkeys for our hungry neighbors and this year’s goal is to collect 12,000 turkeys.
How Can I Help?
Fresh or frozen turkey donations can be dropped off at two of our locations, with extended dock hours to make donating easier:
• Curtner Center – 750 Curtner Avenue, San Jose; Holiday Hours
• Bing Center – 1051 Bing Street, San Carlos; Holiday Hours
Here are a couple of “don’ts”:
• Don’t donate a frozen turkey that has been thawed out; frozen turkeys must be frozen!
• Don’t leave turkeys in the food collection barrels that can be found throughout the community.
Want an alternative to giving us an actual turkey? Make an online donation; we can turn a $1 donation into 2 nutritious meals!
Who is Perky the Turkey?
Perky the Turkey is our proud symbol of giving that we hope inspires others to give. If you’ve already donated food or funds, please tell your friends that you did and spread the word about Perky the Turkey:
1. Like our Facebook page, add our Google+ page to your circle, or follow us on Twitter
2. Like Perky’s Facebook photo or +1 Perky’s Photo on our Google+ page
3. Spread the word by sharing Perky’s photo on Facebook or Google+. Or tweet a message about your giving – tag us and include hashtag #PerkyTurkey
(sample tweet: I donated holiday meals to @2ndharvest #PerkyTurkey)
Thanks so much for your support – together, we can help feed families in need during this holiday season!
The holiday season is a really busy time for us. We are extremely grateful to have so many partners in the community that help raise awareness of hunger in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties and support our mission to provide food to people in our community.
The following list includes the many fun ways you can help us fight hunger locally:
Do you play Zynga’s Farmville? Check out FarmVille’s Holiday Lights expansion now thru December 31 to purchase a variety of virtual items that benefit Feeding America, a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks. Need another reason to play for good? Ten percent of the contributions have been earmarked to benefit Second Harvest!
Buy meals for Bay Area families. KPIX/KBCW and Whole Foods Market run the Feed 4 More Program, which benefits Bay Area Food Banks and runs thru January 1, 2014. At your local Whole Foods Market, you’ll have the option to buy a $5 Breakfast, $10 Lunch or Dinner, or $25 Full Day Meal for donation. Food barrels are also available at stores so you can donate your own non-perishable goods.
Every dollar counts! Lucky and Food Maxx supermarkets are hosting their annual Holiday Shares program. From November 13-January 4, they are selling $5, $10, $15 and $20 icons at checkout as direct donations for Second Harvest. Last year, we received $18,705 from Lucky stores!
Every bag counts too! NBC Bay Area is once again partnering with Safeway Stores for a one-day food drive on Saturday, November 23 to benefit Bay Area Food Banks. The “Every Bag Counts” food drive will take place at 156 Safeway locations throughout the Bay Area. To make the donation process easier, a specially produced shopping bag filled with items that food banks need the most will be available for $10 at all local Safeway stores through December 25.
Did you know that $1 can equal $3? Bank of America and Feeding America have teamed up to raise awareness and support for hunger relief through the “Give A Meal” campaign, now through January 10, 2014. For every $1 you donate, Bank of America will give $2 more. You can support local efforts by designating Second Harvest as the beneficiary or national efforts by designating Feeding America.
Who wants in on a “Holiday Wine & Dine Around”? Every Tuesday in December (12/3, 12/10 & 12/17), enjoy wine and food tastings, as well as exclusive shopping discounts at participating shops in Santana Row as part of “Shop, Enjoy & Give.” Tickets are $10 and include a signature Santana Row wine glass. All proceeds will benefit the Food Bank. Donate a canned food item and receive $2 off your ticket price! Buy tickets online or inside the Concierge Center.
Here are some great gift ideas:
Fond of fashion? Now thru December 31, the eBay Fashion team is putting on the “Fashion for Food” auction through eBay Giving Works. You’ll find women’s and men’s clothing, accessories and shoes. All items were donated by the eBay Fashion team and 100% of the proceeds to benefit Second Harvest. New items are added weekly.
Show the world that you care about ending local hunger. At our GoodJoe online store, you can purchase shirts, hoodies, lunch boxes, and even stationery cards that show your passion for helping our hungry neighbors while generating funds for the Food Bank.
Acoustic music fans, take (a music) note! KFOG Live from the Archives, a unique music compilation, will once again benefit Bay Area food banks. In 20 years, the CD series has raised over $4.6 million for local food banks. Buy the CD at Bay Area Peet’s Coffee & Tea locations and online.
A Versatile Gift Card! Imagine a gift card that you can use to go shopping, out to dinner, or simply use to catch a movie. With more than 37,000 locations nationwide, you can spend the Community Connection Card’s full value like cash and purchase the everyday items you want. A portion of the proceeds for each card purchased goes back to the Food Bank. Purchase one today!
The following events and promotions have passed (thanks to everyone who participated!):
We love the Boy Scouts; don’t you? More than 30,000 Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Venturers, Explorers and their supporters in the Bay Area will be “Scouting for Food” by picking up boxed or bagged nonperishable food items placed on doorsteps by 9 a.m. on November 16. If you got a door hangar, that means you’re on a scout’s route!
A Thanksgiving morning run is strategic, obviously. Sign up to participate in the 9th Annual Applied Materials “Silicon Valley Turkey Trot” on November 28, sponsored by Applied Materials and produced by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group Foundation. In the past 8 years, over $3.4 million was donated to local charities. This year, registration will be capped at 28,001 participants, so sign-up today!
We’ll keep updating this list, so be sure to check back soon. Thanks for your support!
P.S. If you’re aware of any local events and promotions benefiting the Food Bank, please feel free to share them in the comments section below.
We are excited about a partnership between Lean Cuisine® Honestly Good™ and local donor, George Chiala Farms, which has resulted in thousands of pounds of fresh produce for Second Harvest Food Bank. These incredible donations greatly increase our ability to provide nutritious food to more than 330 community-based organizations at 770 food distribution sites – from soup kitchens and shelters to food pantries and drop-in centers – throughout our two counties.
“The Lean Cuisine brand believes strongly in the importance of serving the best-tasting, highest quality ingredients. So we’ve teamed up with select farms, like George Chiala Farms, to grow the ingredients in Lean Cuisine Honestly Good entrées. To say ‘thank you’ to our farmers, we’re donating 1 MILLION servings of vegetables to area food banks, like Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties, which serves the local communities where our Honestly Good vegetables are grown,” said Daniel Jhung, Director of Marketing at Lean Cuisine.
When Nestle began looking for farms to partner with, it was important to find farms that already had relationships in place with local food banks. George Chiala Farms in Morgan Hill has been generously donating to Second Harvest Food Bank for many years, and was excited about the opportunity to do more for their community.
“Being local, staying local and supporting our Bay Area communities is something we have taken pride in since 1972. We are fortunate to have customers who feel it is as important to them as it is to us. Together our support provides a bright, fruitful tomorrow; and we couldn’t be more thankful for our customers, partnerships and surrounding Bay Area communities,” said Tim Chiala, General Manager at George Chiala Farms.
Through the Honestly Good Giving Program, we have received three truckloads of onions (over 100,000 pounds), a truckload of bell peppers (over 40,000 pounds) and 250 pounds of garlic. We are expecting several more truckloads of fresh produce before the end of the year. These are the same vegetables that George Chiala Farms supplies for the Lean Cuisine Honestly Good entrees.
“Second Harvest is committed to serving our community by providing highly nutritious foods, especially fresh produce, which is often too expensive for those struggling to cover their basic expenses,” noted Diane Zapata, Sr. Manager of Food Resources at Second Harvest Food Bank. “With the support of our agricultural donors like George Chiala Farms, it is possible for us to distribute over 50% of our total food pounds in fresh produce. We are so very thankful to George Chiala Farms and Nestle for their groundbreaking partnership.”
Lean Cuisine Honestly Good frozen entrées are available in the natural meals section of the freezer aisle of supermarkets nationwide, with six delicious varieties. Please check them out and help support our donors that are giving back to our community!
Special Blog Post By: Deborah McGaw, Donor Services Specialist
Our Food Drive team at Second Harvest made the bold decision to request poundage commitments from anyone wanting to run a food drive. We asked Food Drive Coordinators to commit to collecting a minimum of 450 pounds of food. We were a bit nervous because we didn’t want anyone to think we were ungrateful for whatever they could give us (we truly are grateful!), but we also knew that we needed to take a risk and have confidence in our community’s ability to reach for the stars.
Several weeks ago, Monta Vista High School (MVHS) in Cupertino, California registered for a food drive that would begin in mid-September. As I reviewed the registration, I noticed they were asking for 20 barrels to be delivered. I reached out to one of the coordinators of the MVHS drive, a student named Alli, and she and others in the Monta Vista community commission (Megan, Izzy, and Elaine) were a little nervous to find out that we expected them to: 1) collect 150 pounds per barrel and 2) beat last year’s total of 3,262 pounds. We had several conversations about how they could promote their drive and what kind of support they had at school. By the time their drive started, they were motivated to do whatever they could to rally the team and beat last year’s results.
We agreed that MVHS would start with 16 barrels and call if they needed more. Just 3 days into their drive, I got a call for 10 more barrels. I checked in with Alli and she assured me they were going to fill them. She was right – 1 day later we got a call to pick up 20 barrels…..and give them ANOTHER 15! I was so excited when I got the weight of their first 20 barrels – 4,832 pounds! That was an average of 241.6 pounds per barrel and MVHS had already beaten last year’s results with their first pick up. AND THEY WEREN’T EVEN DONE YET!
The next day, I got a call from Alli. They were ready for us to pick up their last 21 barrels and there’s some extra food, so we should bring some extra barrels.
On September 27th, just 8 days after their drive started, our drivers picked up the final barrels from MVHS. Their final pickup total for 21 barrels was 5,732 pounds!
We asked them to raise 150 pounds per barrel; they raised 257.66 pounds per barrel
We asked them to raise 6,150 pounds; they raised…10,564 pounds of food! (That’s equal to about 8,803 meals.)
Great job, Monta Vista High School! We hope other Food Drive Coordinators will be inspired by your story!
***Help feed hungry neighbors in our community this holiday season; host a food and fund drive! Click here for more info and to sign up.
Some people say that Halloween is just the beginning of a loooong season of eating super sugary sweets. The other day, I got the “Thanksgiving Double Issue” of Cooking Light magazine in the mail and in it is a special report on sugar, aptly titled, “Got Sugar?” Seriously, sugar is EVERYWHERE.
I don’t particularly have a sweet tooth, but I do like to bake sometimes (thanks for the inspiration, Pinterest) and whenever I see chocolate, I do swoon a little. My sugar intake definitely increases around Halloween. You know, like when you buy candies meant for trick-or-treaters, but somehow they get consumed by the adults as post-dinner desserts and then you have to trek back to the store 3 days before Halloween to buy replacement candies…so bad, I know…
Well, why is sugar so bad anyway? After poking around on the interwebs, the main bad thing is the existence of added sugar (sugars and syrups added to foods during processing) and how they equate to empty calories. I was severely bummed to learn that empty calories aren’t the same thing as zero calories.
Empty calories are calories with few to no nutrients, which contributes to unhealthy weight gain, tooth decay, and other health problems. You probably can guess that the top sources for added sugar include desserts, sodas, and energy/sports drinks, but have you thought about the added sugar in marinara sauce and salad dressing? Believe me, they’re in there!
I asked Janet, a nutritionist at Second Harvest, what sorts of lessons her team gives to community members about sugar. She said they teach how to convert grams of sugar to teaspoons of sugar, so people can visualize how much sugar they’re actually eating. They distribute a flyer which shows this calculation:For example, 68 grams of sugar is equal to 17 teaspoons of sugar.
What is the ‘right’ amount of sugar then? According to MayoClinic.com, the American Heart Association advises no more than 100 calories a day from added sugar (about 6 teaspoons) for most women and no more than 150 calories a day (about 9 teaspoons) for most men. Unfortunately, most Americans consume more than 22 teaspoons (355 calories) of added sugar a day.
The takeaways – be more mindful and read those nutritional information labels on packaged foods. It’s okay to have a small amount of empty calories, but always in moderation – think about what’s best for your health needs. One serving of regular soda can contain as much as 10 teaspoons of sugar (and there’s 1.5 servings in a can of soda), so if you drink soda daily, consider changing that.
For more information about added sugar and empty calories check out:
Special Blog Post By: Kayla Haley, Community Relations & Events Associate at Second Harvest Food Bank
We hope you’re ready for the holidays, because here at Second Harvest we sure are!
Last week we kicked off the 2013 Holiday Food and Fund Drive at our Cypress Center facility. This annual event thanks our holiday campaign sponsors, showcases the client family highlighted throughout the holidays, and gives our holiday co-chairs a chance to share why they became involved with the Food Bank. We really appreciate all the wonderful individuals who came out to show their support.
BJ Jenkins, CEO of Barracuda Networks and holiday co-chair, unveiled the goals for the 2013 holiday campaign:
2 million pounds of food
He also discussed why companies should get involved and why Barracuda believes in giving back. A hungry community is not a thriving community and he said, “Business leaders know that when employees get together to do something good in the community, it builds morale and camaraderie, which is priceless.”
Keren Pavese, on behalf of EMC Corporation and co-chair Guy Churchward, shared the story of the Parker Family, who serves as our holiday campaign inspiration. We have already shared their story which really hits home with so many people in our community. Keren emphasized EMC’s commitment to education and how a hungry child will have a much harder time learning in school.
Finally, our CEO, Kathy Jackson, focused on why Second Harvest exists and why so many great organizations host food and fund drives to support efforts to feed hungry people. It all boils down to one thing – a shared belief that no one should be hungry.
Thank you to all our great supporters and volunteers for helping us kick the holiday season off right! If you are inspired to run your own food and fund drive to help hungry people in our community, visit http://www.shfb.org/ffd.
Special Blog Post By: Kathy Jackson, CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank
I am pleased that Congress has come together to provide our economy the stability it needs. Though the immediate crisis has passed and agreements to reopen the government and avoid a default on our nation’s bills were achieved, we still face an automatic reduction of 5% in Federal food stamp benefits (called CalFresh in California) effective November 1 to current recipients. That is because increased benefit levels established during the Great Recession will expire, regardless of the deal to end the shutdown.
At Second Harvest, we expect to see increased reliance on the food we provide to local families as those critical benefits expire. This holiday season, more than 1 in 10 of our neighbors in need will be turning to Second Harvest Food Bank for a meal. On October 18, we will be kicking off our annual Holiday Food & Fund Drive at the Food Bank. Please join our campaign – which will raise funds to help us feed children, families and seniors all year long – and help us drive hunger from our community. As individuals, charities, businesses and government, we all have a role to play in getting more food to people in need. Together we can solve hunger.
Kathryn G. Jackson, CEO
Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties
***Click here for information about hosting a Food & Fund Drive.
Since its inception in 1974, Second Harvest has become one of the largest food banks in the nation, providing food to more than 250,000 people on average each month. The Food Bank mobilizes individuals, companies, and community partners to connect people to the nutritious food they need. Nearly half of the food distributed is fresh produce. Second Harvest also plays a leading role in promoting federal nutrition programs and educating families on how to make healthier food choices.
Stay tuned here for the latest news — efforts to end local hunger, stories from the front lines, advocacy alerts, and promotions benefiting the Food Bank.
We have distribution warehouses in San Jose and San Carlos, CA. Get Directions