Second Harvest Food Bank collected 263,283 pounds of food and
cash equivalent in time for Thanksgiving in the annual Holiday Food
Second Harvest Food Bank collected 263,283 pounds of food and cash equivalent in time for Thanksgiving in the annual Holiday Food Drive.
The event, held last week at local Albertson’s stores, brought in more than 12,500 pounds of food and cash equivalent in San Benito and Santa Cruz counties.
“It’s really helpful when you get that much food coming in one day,” said Lee Mercer, education and outreach director for Second Harvest Food Bank.
The one-day event also brought in thousands of pounds of food at Salinas and Seaside Albertson’s for the Food Bank of Monterey County.
Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts helped get the Holiday Food Drive started in November by collecting more than 6,347 pounds of food during “Scouting For Food” by going door-to-door in San Benito and Santa Cruz county neighborhoods.
Earlier in the fall, Second Harvest Food Bank collected more than 88,000 pounds of food at schools in the two counties.
“One of the things that’s very encouraging this year is a whole bunch more San Benito county businesses have signed up – so much more than ever before,” Mercer said. “We’re excited about this because it means San Benito County is part of our food drives much more than ever before, and we’re getting more food to the local food bank.”
All the food raised in San Benito County goes to Community Pantry in Hollister.
Between now and Dec. 30, Second Harvest Food Bank wants to raise an additional 656,717 pounds of food to reach the goal of 900,000 pounds to ensure that Central Coast families have enough to eat this winter. The organization has 263,283 pounds, about one-third of the goal, Mercer said.
A recent University of California at Los Angeles study confirms that because of unemployment and high housing costs, thousands of Central Coast residents face hunger and “food insecurity.” Ninety percent of those seeking assistance are children, seniors, disabled individuals and working families who often face a choice of paying utilities, rent or food, according to Second Harvest.
The agency is also seeking cash donations. For every $10 donated, the food bank can distribute $100 worth of food, Mercer said.
For more information on how to donate food or cash during the annual Holiday Food Drive, call Craig George at Second Harvest Food Bank, (831) 722-7110, ext. 214, or e-mail [email protected] thefoodbank.org.
To volunteer with Second Harvest Food Bank, call Leigh Selby at (831) 722-7110, ext. 205, or e-mail [email protected]