September Social Media Roundup

“Social Media Round-Up” is an ‘ICYMI’ compilation of the top hunger-related news articles and other interesting tidbits posted on our social media profiles.

  • East Palo Alto: Life on the Other Side of Silicon Valley’s Tracks, CNET.COM
  • “Eighteen percent of East Palo Alto residents live below the poverty line and the average yearly income per person is $18,385, according to the US Census. For comparison, the average yearly income for all Californians is $29,527.”

  • Congress May Leave Child Nutrition Programs Behind, USNEWS.COM
  • “Lawmakers have only 10 days in September for an extended debate on the Iran nuclear deal and must find a way to fund the government by Sept. 30. But they also must reauthorize the Child Nutrition Act…which provides more than 20 million free or reduced-price lunches and more than 11 million free or reduced-price breakfasts for students each day.”

  • Report: A San Francisco One-Bedroom Costs…How Much?, WW2.KQED.ORG
  • Three SF Bay Area cities are in the top 6 of this list (San Jose is #4), which isn’t cause for celebration…

  • Farm to Food Bank: Saving Ugly Produce and Providing Nutrition, FOODTANK.COM
  • We’re proud to be a recipient of the California Association of Food Banks Farm to Family program which recovers 140 million pounds of produce a year.

  • 1 in & U.S. Households Struggled to Afford Food Last Year: Report, HUFFINGTONPOST.COM
  • “This month the Child Nutrition Act is up for reauthorization in Congress. It provides more than 20 million free or reduced-price lunches and more than 11 million free or reduced-price breakfasts for students every day.”

  • U.S. Aims to Cut Food Waste by Half by 2030, TIME.COM
  • “Let’s feed people, not landfills.” On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency called for a 50% reduction in food waste in the United States by 2030.

  • This Map Shows How Badly America Needs a Minimum Wage Hike, CITYLAB.COM
  • How’s that for a visual?

  • Goodbye, Snickers. Hello, Cashews: Target Ditches Checkout Aisle Junk Food, TAKEPART.COM
  • Not a bad idea. What do you think?

  • Hot Bay Area Economy Props Up California, SACBEE.COM
  • “The San Jose-centered Silicon Valley saw a 6.7 percent increase in economic output last year, the highest growth rate recorded in the Western states and the 9th highest among the nation’s 381 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs).”

  • Why Being a Poor Kid in America is Particularly Awful, THEATLANTIC.COM
  • “The U.S. has a higher proportion of children living in poverty than most other high-income countries, and it spends just 0.7 percent of its GDP on benefits for families—a fraction of what other middle- and high-income countries spend.”

    *** Did you miss our August Social Media Roundup? Click here to read it.

    Giving Time: Bellarmine Water Polo Team

    “Giving Time” focuses on the invaluable volunteers who donate more than 314,000 hours to Second Harvest each year, more than doubling the size of our staff.

    The Varsity Water Polo team from Bellarmine College Preparatory recently volunteered at Second Harvest Food Bank to sort mountains of plums into easily transportable boxes.  A few members of the team took a moment to share their experience with giving back to their community.

    Bellarmine requires students to volunteer at least fifteen hours per school year, thirty hours in their senior year, resulting in over 45,000 service hours annually.  The reason for this requirement is not lost on these young men.  Nor are the results of their efforts.  Many students “go above and beyond that” requirement, “not just because we have to, but because we want to,” said Ryan Werner, Class of 2016.  He continued, “With the motto ‘Men for Others’ we understand that when you come and work in a place like this, it’s more than just working for ourselves or our team, we know that it’s going to make a large impact from here, to all the distribution centers, to helping all the people in our area.”

    Senior Logan MacDonnell reflected on the Water Polo team working together on their volunteer hours at Second Harvest, “Coming here with the team, it’s nice, we get a lot done because we’re used to working together.”  Charlie Laurencio added, “It gives you a sense of camaraderie with the team.”  They would go on to the pool for practice immediately following the three hour food sort, exemplifying their commitment to both service and their sport.

    Volunteers from Bellarmine can be found working every week at Second Harvest Food Bank.  They know they’re doing important work, and Laurencio said, “It’s always great” to know they’re helping other people.  In the last year, volunteers contributed nearly 314,000 hours of service time to Second Harvest Food Bank.  Their efforts greatly impact our mission to provide nutritious food to our neighbors in need.  MacDonnell summed up the sentiment with, “when you actually move 8,000 pounds of plums it feels pretty good.”

    ***Want to volunteer at Second Harvest? Click here to find out how.

    Local Hunger Fighters: Jennifer Puthoff

    “Local Hunger Fighters” is a series that spotlights our awesome supporters and staff who help raise awareness of hunger in our community and motivate people to get involved.

    Local Hunger Fighter: Jennifer Puthoff, Director of Child Care and After School Programs, YMCA of Silicon Valley

    How are you helping Second Harvest and our community?

    Through access and opportunities! Now in our 7th year, the YMCA of Silicon Valley’s meal program is part of a year-round effort to fight child hunger in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties by making healthy meals and snacks available to students participating in after school and summer programs, with an emphasis on reaching underserved communities where the need is the greatest.

    In the past few years, we’ve been able to expand the program to reach even more kids in need by helping community partners – including the San Mateo County Library System, San Jose City Libraries, Boys and Girls Clubs of Silicon Valley, and Gilroy Parks and Recreation – provide healthy meals and snacks to their participants as well. As a result, we now serve approximately 333,669 nutritious meals and snacks to 101,896 youth at 42 community sites every year.

    None of this would be possible without funding and support from the Walmart Foundation, USDA Summer and After School Meal Program, Stanford School of Medicine, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, Revolution Foods, and the California Summer Meal Coalition.

    In addition, our partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank has taken this effort to a whole new level. Through Kids NOW (Nutrition on Weekends), we are able to distribute healthy food for kids from low-income families to take home with them on the weekend. In addition, the Produce Mobile Program literally delivers free fresh produce to community sites for any families or individuals in need.

    Together, these efforts are critical to helping nurture the physical, mental and social-emotional development of all youth in our community so they can continue to be healthy and thrive.

    What inspires you to give?

    My inspiration comes from the overwhelming support we receive from families and youth in the community and the gratitude they express for our assistance. Hearing how we made a difference in their life, simply by providing a healthy meal, is truly impactful.

    Jennifer Puthoff (far right) was part of a community collaboration that provided over 143,000 meals to children and their families this summer.

    Why should people care about hunger in our community?

    Proper nutrition is critical to a child’s development. Not having enough of the right kinds of food can have serious implications for a child’s physical and mental health, academic achievement and future economic prosperity.

    Even in an area as prosperous as Silicon Valley, there are far too many families who are barely making ends meet and struggling to provide nutritious meals for their children. For these families, proper nutrition often starts and ends with the child’s school lunch program. And that’s why these types of programs are so important.

    Why do you support Second Harvest?

    There is great strength in numbers – and the power to make a difference. No one organization can fight hunger alone and our partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank helps us reach even more families and children in need. Nonprofits, community organizations, foundations, and government entities must come together if we’re to overcome childhood hunger in our community and we look forward to pursuing collaborations that will help us realize this goal.

    ***Click here to meet more people working to end hunger in our community.

    Nutrition Newbie: A is for Acorn, B is for Butternut

    “Nutrition Newbie” is a series focused on basic nutrition information and tips.

    Special Blog Post By: Alex Navarro, Second Harvest Food Bank Nutrition Educator (San Mateo County)

    With the long summer days being soon behind us, we can’t ignore the subtle excitement about the autumn days ahead. Oh how we’ve missed the falling leaves from the trees and the slight chill in the air. Along with the beginning of sweater weather, pumpkin spice drinks, and warm socks, comes the turnaround of new seasonal produce – one type in particular – the winter squash.

  • Why the name winter squash?
  • Squash season is now upon us, starting at the end of September as the days get cooler, and running until the beginning of March. Though harvested in the fall, these hardy vegetables will keep through the cold winter months- hence the name winter squash. Even with the pumpkin dominating the grocery stores during the fall and Halloween, there are many more varieties of squash that are packed with nutrients, versatile flavor, and beautiful vivid colors. From adorning your front porch, to being a hit at your family’s dinner, you can’t go this fall season without taking home a winter squash from your local grocery store, farmers market, and our very own food bank pantries.

  • What are the nutritional benefits of winter squash?
  • Winter squash are packed with antioxidants and vitamins, and are mildly anti-inflammatory due to their high content of Vitamin A and Vitamin C. They are also a good source of dietary fiber, Vitamin E, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium and Magnesium, and a very good source of Potassium. Not to mention, low in fat and calories.

  • What are the different types of winter squash?
  • Some of the most known winter squash include pumpkin, spaghetti, acorn, butternut, and delicata. If hitting the farmers market during this time, you may find up to 12 varieties of this hardy vegetable. Winter squash come in many shapes and colors, and no two look exactly alike. The different varieties of winter squash may be substituted for each other in many squash recipes.

    As one of the more popular winter squash, we love butternut. It has a sweet and nutty taste similar to pumpkin, with deep orange fleshy pulp. Traditional favorite preparations for butternut squash include roasting cut, or cooking and then puréeing into a tasty soup.

    Spaghetti squash is also a crowd-pleaser winning its popularity due to its “spaghetti-like” appearance. You’ll understand how it got its name, once you take a fork to the inside after it’s cooked. By scraping the flesh, you’ll get “strings” that resemble noodles. This makes for a great healthy pasta alternative.

    Here at Second Harvest Food Bank, our warehouses are filled with an abundance of winter squash for months, ready to be distributed for our clients in the community to enjoy. For those not familiar with how to prepare squash, we have our team of Health Ambassador Volunteers out at our distribution sites sharing recipes and passing out nutrition information tip cards:

    Anyway you decide to prepare it (sweet or savory), we want you to fall in love with this fall favorite! provides tasty recipe ideas on a budget that can be translated in both Spanish and Chinese. Here are some of my favorites:
    Spicy apple-filled squash
    Pumpkin oatmeal

    Here’s an Epicurious guide to 12 varieties of winter squash and easy to follow recipes.

    ***Read past Nutrition Newbie posts!

    Meet Stan Travis

    Special Blog Post By: Stan, Volunteer and Client

    Stan has been a dedicated volunteer for Second Harvest since 2006. He’s also a client, father of seven, grandfather, and a tireless community volunteer.

    I was working as a civil engineer on the East Coast and severely injured my back on the job. Soon after, my company merged and I lost both my pension and my disability. I didn’t know what to do and I moved to the West Coast, but because of my injury, finding steady work here was a lot harder than I thought it would be.

    My fridge was empty, my kids weren’t eating, and my odd jobs weren’t bringing in enough to help any of that. That’s when I started volunteering for Second Harvest, and I have been with them ever since. I want to help others get the food they so desperately need to live a healthy life.

    I volunteer with Second Harvest three times a week, run a local mission on Tuesdays, and help at a women’s shelter in Daly City on Thursdays. Yeah, when I come home each day, I’m pretty tired, but also very fulfilled. Honestly, I feel like I am blessed.

    You know, the cost of living just keep going up here, and so many families are having a really hard time affording housing and food, let alone life’s other necessities. Lots of these people are in situations beyond their control. I can tell you first hand that the lines for food distribution here just keep getting bigger. I hear from so many people how they have been forced out of their homes. Just think about that. It really tells you something about how hard it has become to live here.

    I believe that when you do good things, good things come back to you. Second Harvest has helped me to live a better life, and I just want to say that if you love children, then give to Second Harvest. You will feed the kids and the parents at the same time, so feed those kids. Thank God for Second Harvest.

    *** You can make a difference for local families in need. Give what matters – donate today.

    What is the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act?

    Special Blog Post By: Cindy McCown, Second Harvest Food Bank VP of Community Engagement and Policy

    We have an opportunity to let our federal elected representatives know why providing healthy food to children matters.

    The Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act (CNR) that governs many federal nutrition programs for low-income children is currently being reviewed by Congress. This process provides an opportunity to strengthen the programs so they can better address the food needs of our nation’s children and their families. Some of the programs include:

  • Summer Food Services Program – Provides meals/snacks to children during the summer. This summer, selected public libraries in both Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties provided healthy meals along with enrichment activities.
  • School Breakfast & National Lunch Breakfast Program – Provides breakfast/lunch/snacks at school.
  • Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women Infants and Children (WIC) – Provides nutrition education and supplemental nutritious foods for infants, young children and pregnant women.
  • During the Congressional August recess, our representatives have been back in their districts. I took the opportunity to let them know how critically important these programs are to low-income children and families that Second Harvest Food Bank serves. I was able to arrange visits to Second Harvest food distribution sites, so that they could talk with constituents about their food needs and see first-hand what is being done to address hunger.

    After Labor Day, our representatives will return to Washington to discuss various proposals during the Child Nutrition Reauthorization process. It is important for them to hear from their constituents about why these programs matter.

    Join me on September 15 for a national call-in day to talk with elected representatives about CNR. I plan to voice how important it is to pass a strong child nutrition bill that will increase access to healthy food for children struggling with hunger. It will take all of us to solve hunger. We’ll let you know how you can take action as we get closer to the call-in day – keep an eye on our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter. (include links to FB and Twitter)

    For more information on the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act, go to Feeding America or Food Research and Action Center.

    Local Hunger Fighters: Silvia Montaño and Jesus Calderón

    “Local Hunger Fighters” is a series that spotlights our awesome supporters and staff who help raise awareness of hunger in our community and motivate people to get involved.

    Local Hunger Fighters: Silvia Montaño and Jesus Calderón

    How are you helping Second Harvest Food Bank and our community?
    Every month we get together at the Franklin McKinley School Site located in McKinley Elementary School in East San Jose and enjoy delivering food baskets to more than 500 registered low-income families. We work with San Jose State University and community members, and are led by a group of mothers called, “Champions of Health.” We are grateful to be working with the Food Bank to help our own neighbors. Helping is a privilege that makes us very happy as a family.

    What inspires you to give?
    We are inspired to help our families. Knowing how they work so hard and how difficult it is to put food on the table, then having to pay for a roof over their heads is also a challenge every month. There’s very little money for food. I am also a person that has to work and has a family and knows the struggle that we all have to go through. Helping them makes me feel proud because I’m helping the ones in need.

    Why should people care about hunger in our community?
    I think all of us at some point in life have felt the need to eat. Knowing that there’s hunger and how that makes our stomachs feel. Imagine how that affects our children, not letting them concentrate on their school work. Learning is elemental in the life of any student and feeling hunger at the same time does not give them the opportunity to learn. Understanding the needs of our families inspires and gives us the courage to continue serving.

    Why do you support Second Harvest Food Bank?
    It’s a resource that informs families about food and nutrition, and always looking for a way to help. It’s a group that is attached to its work and supports whoever asks. They are willing to do their best to make this happen. It is a privilege to be part of Second Harvest Food Bank!

    ***Meet more of our neighbors working to end hunger in our community! Click here to read past Local Hunger Fighters posts.

    August Social Media Roundup

    “Social Media Round-Up” is an ‘ICYMI’ compilation of the top hunger-related news articles and other interesting tidbits posted on our social media profiles.

  • 6 Welfare Myths We All Need to Stop Believing, MASHABLE.COM
  • “These stereotypes simply aren’t true. We need to dispel the myths surrounding government benefits so we can truly understand the value of welfare, the humanity of those receiving it and the improvements that could be made to better support those in need.”

  • Report: Silicon Valley’s Housing Affordability Crisis Worsens, MERCURYNEWS.COM
  • “Less than 25 percent of workers and just 40 percent of households in metro San Jose are able to rent or buy average-priced housing”

  • Skip the Pharmacy, Head to the Farm: Physicians Write Prescriptions for Fruits, Vegetables,
  • Love this! In our own community, thanks to a partnership with the American Academy of Pediatrics, nearly 500 pediatricians received recommendations for screening patients for hunger, as well as our “Nutrition Rx” pads to connect patients to food bank resources.

  • Rising Silicon Valley Rents: A Mountain View Tale, MERCURYNEWS.COM
  • “…this guy’s leaving over here. And this couple — she’s a physician, and he’s an IT guy, and they have a new baby, and they’ve decided they just can’t make a life here. Our Shangri-La is unhinging.”

  • Newlyweds Skip Traditional Banquet to Feed Thousands of Refugees, TAKEPART.COM
  • “I thought that sharing a big delicious dinner with our family and friends was unnecessary, knowing that there are so many people in need living next door.” So inspiring!

  • How to Choose the Healthiest Foods at the Grocery Store for the Least Amount of Money, BUSINESSINSIDER.COM
  • What are your tips for eating healthy on a budget?

  • Study Shows Link Between Hunger and Health Care Costs, AGWEEK.COM
  • “…when considering the benefits associated with SNAP and other food assistance programs, their effects on health-care costs should be acknowledged.”

  • Food Banks Struggle to Meet Surprising Demand, MERCURYNEWS.COM
  • “…the increased demand is surprising since the economy is growing and unemployment has dropped from 10 percent during the recession to 5.3 percent last month. However, many people who have found jobs are working only part-time or for low wages, and others have stopped looking for work.”

    Happy Retirement to Kris Sulpizio, our Director of Volunteer Services – we will miss you!

    A photo posted by Second Harvest Food Bank (@2ndharvest) on

  • Finding Affordable Housing Mean a Longer Commuter for One Silicon Valley Worker, KALW.ORG
  • Sound familiar?

  • This One Chart Reveals How Long Your Food Actually Lasts, ATTN.COM
  • “…expiration dates often cause many Americans to needlessly throw away food and contribute to the $165 billion worth of food that goes to waste every year.”

  • Map: How Student Poverty has Increased Since the Great Recession, WASHINGTONPOST.COM
  • “Such high-poverty districts need more money to help address the issues that their students bring to school, including hunger, homelessness and higher risks for mental health challenges…”

    *** Did you miss our July Social Media Roundup? Click here to read it.

    Nutrition Newbie: Pack a Nutritious Punch

    “Nutrition Newbie” is a series focused on basic nutrition information and tips.

    Special Blog Post By: Alex Navarro, Second Harvest Food Bank Nutrition Educator (San Mateo County)

    It’s back to school, and with breakfast known as the “most important meal of the day”, and dinner being quality time with family, it’s easy to argue that the importance of school lunch is often overlooked. As a parent of two children, I can relate to the hectic 7:00 am mornings where you have to strategically balance your time between making breakfast (or the endless energy it takes to repeat the “importance of breakfast”), helping find your child’s missing shoe, making sure homework is actually in their backpack, all while getting yourself ready and out the door on time.

    Given our busy schedule, it’s easy to choose the popular and convenient, pre-packaged lunches, even though we know that they are more expensive and offer less nutritious foods. A well-balanced healthy lunch is especially important for school kids, and benefits the child by giving him/her energy to remain alert during class time. Many studies, such as the one conducted by Tufts University of School Nutrition, have confirmed that students who skip lunch, or have an unhealthy snack for lunch, tend to be more distracted in the classroom.

    It’s easy to make packing a school lunch part of your morning routine, and also fun to have your child be involved in the process. When you get your child to help pack his/hers own school lunch, you are not only teaching them responsibility and independence, but also educating them about nutrition, portion control, and balanced meals. Studies show that when a child makes their own lunch, they are more inclined to eat it, and enjoy it.

    When packing a healthy, well-balanced lunch, try to cover all five food groupsgrains, protein, dairy, fruits, and vegetables. Small lunch, kids-size containers will also help with controlling the portions. If your child is a picky eater when it comes to vegetables, try adding a dip like hummus or cream cheese to compliment the vegetables. Choosing a fruit in season will be sweet enough for their meal, – so no need to add “fruit snacks” to the lunch (which happen to be mostly sugar and no fruit). It’s also important to add a snack to their lunch, if your child is in an after-school program or sport. This also keeps them from overeating as soon as they get home, and reaching for quick unhealthy pre-packaged food.

    Here are some quick easy go-to ideas:

    Choose a GRAIN and PROTEIN

  • Turkey sandwich
  • Peanut butter sandwich
  • Beans and rice
  • Granola and yogurt
  • Pasta and turkey meatballs
  • Chili and crackers
  • Hummus and crackers
  • Cheese quesadillas
  • Choose a FRUIT

  • Apple slices
  • Clementine
  • Grapes
  • Bananas
  • Berries
  • Cucumber slices
  • Choose a VEGGIE

  • Carrots
  • Celery sticks
  • Green salad
  • Zucchini sticks
  • Coleslaw
  • Choose a SNACK

  • String cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Trail mix
  • Seaweed
  • Granola bar
  • Popcorn
  • Choose WATER

    Choose healthier alternatives:

    Parents can find more information and ideas on this topic below:

    School Lunches article from (in English and in Spanish)

    Healthy School Lunches and Snacks article from

    ***Read past Nutrition Newbie posts!

    Food Pharmacies and Healthy Food Prescriptions

    Food is medicine. It provides the nutrients we all need to stay healthy. That’s why we’re partnering with healthcare providers to ensure that everyone has access to the nutritious food they need to thrive. We are working with our longtime partner Samaritan House, located in San Mateo County, on an exciting new “food pharmacy” pilot. The pharmacy will fill physicians’ “prescriptions” for healthy food, free of charge, for 200 low-income, uninsured patients with diabetes at Samaritan House Free Clinic of Redwood City. Sequoia Healthcare District is generously underwriting the pilot program.

    We sat down with Dr. Jason Wong, Medical Director at Samaritan House Free Clinic of Redwood City, and Bart Charlow, Samaritan House CEO.

    What are some of the challenges your patients face in terms of accessing healthy food? What impact does that have on their health?

    Jason: The challenges of accessing healthy food include barriers related to cost, culture, transportation, and knowledge. Specifically for diabetes, which is a very diet-sensitive disease, these barriers lead to poorer control of diabetes and poorer health outcomes and complications.

    Bart: When you’re on a tight budget, you’ll eat whatever food is filling and cheap. Unfortunately, that food tends to be a bit of a nutritional wasteland. The clinic’s patients often experience not just temporary hunger, but food insecurity—the enormous physical and psychological impact of not knowing where your next meal comes from. That can have huge, long-term health consequences.

    Jason: Eating habits formed by food insecurity are adopted by the entire family. We hope that the food pharmacy will help enable parents to model healthy eating habits for their children.

    What is the typical content of a bag you’d prescribe to your patients?

    Jason: We’ll work with a nutritionist to develop the exact contents, but in general a bag would consist of a variety of proteins, complex carbohydrates, and fresh produce. The bags would also include educational material about diabetes, recipes, and healthy lifestyle changes.

    The food pharmacy will serve patients with diabetes, are there plans to extend these efforts to include other conditions?

    Jason: In the future, we might consider other diet-sensitive diseases like high blood pressure.

    ***Stay tuned for more information on this exciting pilot!