Special Blog Post By: Cindy McCown, VP of Community Engagement and Policy
Second Harvest Food Bank is committed to leveraging resources to provide the highest quality, most wholesome food possible to our clients.
In 2011, food banks and anti-hunger organizations developed a state funding structure called the State Emergency Food Assistance Program. The program uses existing infrastructure of the Department of Social Services through the Emergency Food for Families Fund that provides food to all 58 counties. It is estimated that every $1 million invested by California in SEFAP enables food banks to provide approximately 5 million meals. This program has been temporarily funded at $1 million since 2013-14.
Member food banks from throughout California, including Second Harvest, worked in collaboration with our elected representatives to achieve a major network objective. The 2016-17 State of California budget included $2 million for SEFAP. These funds can be used to purchase, store, and transport food grown and produced in California.
We received an allocation that made it possible to secure 116,025 pounds of chicken that will be used to feed low-income residents. The funding was further leveraged through the collective purchasing power made possible through a partnership with the California Association of Food Banks.
The goal of this Food Bank network is to educate law makers about the importance of this program, maximize the impact of the funding, and preserve it in future years! It not only helps struggling residents with healthy food. but also California agriculture. The high-quality protein that we were able to purchase with these funds will provide our client families with healthy, filling meals.