“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.
Special Blog Post By: Chao-Li, Volunteer Site Coordinator
My name is Chaol-Li Tarng. I immigrated to the United States from Taiwan 30 years ago. I got my PhD at the University of Washington in electrical and computer engineering I’m a Cisco retiree, and currently teach at San Jose State University. I teach network security. I teach my students to utilize the security systems we have in place, because many people do not or are sloppy about it. I teach that if you take a job in network security, to defend from hacking, you’ve got to think like a hacker. I have a desire to know about processes, how things work. This ties directly into how I found myself volunteering as a site coordinator for Second Harvest for the last decade.
I was looking for an opportunity to do some volunteer work. Before I did the food distribution I did sorting in the warehouse. Many times I found myself wondering, “who gets the food?” Thinking about the way the food is distributed, because we were asked to sort in a certain fashion and because I’m an engineer, I wanted to really know the whole flow of getting food, from sorting to managing to delivering the food to the client.
I began the site coordinating at my current location in 2008. I feel excited every day of a distribution I think it’s a challenge. I love a challenge. When I get there the first thing I think of is, are we going to get enough volunteers today? Are we going to kill ourselves again? I do this once a month, and afterward I feel great. Physically I’m tired, but that’s great, too.
So, on the day of a distribution, I organize the volunteers. I really enjoy the people and the relationships I have with them. Everyone has their own story and I like to hear them. I enjoy listening to all of their stories.
It’s very rewarding at the end of the day. It’s really, really rewarding. I get this opportunity to do a workout. It’s really good exercise. If I do it, whenever, morning or afternoon, afterward, my whole day is done. I have to sit for the whole day, because I’m so physically tired. But, mentally, I’m so fulfilled. To see the people get food and smile is really my best reward.
***Want to volunteer at Second Harvest? Click here to find out how.
“Nutrition Newbie” is a series focused on basic nutrition information and tips.
Special Blog Post By: Alejandra Menjivar, Second Harvest Food Bank Community Nutrition Educator
Healthy Tips for Good Heart Health
February is the month to celebrate love and friendship. Many of us show our love and appreciation to our family and significant others on Valentine’s Day by going out to dinner, gifting chocolates and flowers, or saying I love you. February is also Heart Month. As we celebrate these heartfelt emotions, I would like to share the following tips to keep your heart healthy.
According to the American Heart Association, at the heart of good health is always good nutrition. Healthy food choices will help reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Eat less of the low-nutrient and empty calorie foods and limit saturated fats which are usually derived from animal products like red meat. Instead, choose lean meats such as turkey or chicken breast. Also limit your intake of sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages; your body does not need sugar to function properly. In fact, there’s no recommended daily percent value for sugar. When we consume sugar, we’re adding empty calories and extra pounds that could lead to obesity and reduced heart health.
Include the following in your diet to make your heart stronger:
Fruits and vegetables: They are fresh, filling, and heart healthy. Fruits and vegetables have vitamins, nutrients, and fiber. Make sure that you fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables. If you make it a rule to eat your fruits and vegetables first on your plate, you will get full quicker because of the fiber and you will eat less of the protein and grains on your plate (which is why only 1/2 of your plate is dedicated to protein and grains according to MyPlate Dietary Guidelines).
More whole grains and less refined grains: There is a difference between whole grains and refined grains. Whole grains contain layers that carry vitamins and fiber which helps keep us regular, ensures healthy blood flow, and makes us feel full. Refined grains are what you get when you take away the layers that make up a whole grain and you are only left with the starch layer which really doesn’t have much nutritional value. MyPlate Dietary Guidelines recommend that only half of your grains be whole grain. I like to follow the dietary guidelines and one way I do this is when I make a sandwich, I use a slice of whole grain for my top and a slice of white bread as my bottom – this way I can still enjoy both types of grains.
I wish you a happy Valentine’s Day and good heart health. I hope this guide helps you make healthy choices. Please share these tips with your family, friends, and loved ones.
Do you have any ideas on how to maintain a healthy heart? Have you tried any of our suggestions? Let us know in the comments section below!
Check out the American Heart Association website for more resources.
***Check out our past Nutrition Newbie posts.
While most kids Coltrane’s age wish for action figures and building blocks, Coltrane chose to celebrate his fifth birthday by giving instead of receiving. He decided to help his hungry neighbors in lieu of any gifts. When asked why, he said, “Some people have no food and so they may be very hungry. I don’t want people to be hungry anymore.”
Supporting his decision, Coltrane’s parents setup an online fundraiser through our website. They set a goal and uploaded a video they recorded of Coltrane asking family and friends to donate the money that they were going to spend on a gift to the Food Bank.
The online fundraiser was a success and inspired Coltrane to raise even more money by creating a homemade cookies and lemonade stand. Together, the online fundraiser and the cookies and lemonade stand raised an astonishing $1,212, which we turned into 2,424 nutritious meals for our hungry neighbors.
Join Coltrane and become a volunteer fundraiser. Pledge your birthday today!
We’re pleased to present…
7 Biggest Mistakes Trustees Often Make
Thursday, January 28, 2016, 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Pond Family Conference Room
Second Harvest Food Bank – Cypress Center
4001 N. First Street, San Jose, CA 95134
Who Should Attend:
Anyone who has created a trust, is named as a trustee, or is considering establishing a trust.
Guest speaker and veteran wealth strategist Sandeep Varma returns for this complimentary educational seminar. Both entertaining and informative, Sandeep will share numerous real-life stories that illustrate the responsibilities and liabilities that trustees accept. You will learn the possible problems that trustees face and know how to avoid or remedy them. Sandeep will also identify potential opportunities with a special type of revocable living trust called an IRA Trust. Continental breakfast and light lunch included.
Seating for this workshop is limited. Please RSVP by January 22 to Jennifer Plumlee at (408) 266-8866 ext. 529 or firstname.lastname@example.org
“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: Chiaki Crossman, Brown Bag and Family Harvest Programs Volunteer
How are you helping Second Harvest and our community?
I am providing support for two programs: Brown Bag, for elderly people, and Family Harvest, for families with children under 18 years old. Both programs have a membership system so I do administrative work to conduct both programs smoothly. I update member information in the database, issue membership cards, and renew memberships. As a part of this work, I mainly devote my time to food count reconsolidation. We need to know how much food we provided at each site, and from that number, we need to predict how much food we should order the next month. So I need to figure out those numbers from each site’s monthly report. Besides this, I help with customer service at the front desk. I greet people who donate food or money and issue receipts if necessary, provide information about how to get food, and hand out emergency food.
What inspires you to give?
Coming from a relatively economically rich country, Japan, I was shocked to see the difference in the standards of living in this area. Silicon Valley is the capital of the computer industry, so people come for its name value and variety of job opportunities from across the country or all around the world. Although there are many successful rich people here, there are so many people who are earning minimum wage. This is a place where the American dream and grim reality coexist. As a very fortunate immigrant who has the time to care about others, I wanted to support people who need help.
Why should people care about hunger in our community?
Because food is the source of energy and nutrition! If you are hungry, you can’t go get a job to earn money, or you can’t go to school to learn something you need to know. Food is very essential, especially providing enough nutrition to our children, our next generation, to establish a better future for our community. Let’s make Silicon Valley not only an IT empire, but also the place where people can have a fulfilling life.
Why do you support Second Harvest?
My biggest dream is to feed all hungry children around the world. But, of course, the things I can do is very limited. So I started with the things I can do first: helping to feed people locally. Even in the Second Harvest office, what I am doing now is a very small part, but I feel a connection to the people in our community. Second Harvest is a place that connects people who need help and people who want to help. That’s why I support Second Harvest.
***Read past Local Hunger Fighters posts and meet more of our neighbors working to end hunger in our community.