Second Harvest comes up short of food goal for year

The local branch of Second Harvest Food Bank will likely fall
short of its goal to collect 920,000 pounds of food donations for
the holiday season.
The local branch of Second Harvest Food Bank will likely fall short of its goal to collect 920,000 pounds of food donations for the holiday season.

As of Tuesday, area businesses and citizens had donated 800,000 pounds of food, Second Harvest spokesman Lee Mercer said.

Even with the likelihood of missing the mark, Mercer is happy with this year’s donations.

“The outpouring of community support has been phenomenal this year,” he said.

More than 500 companies and 25,000 employees, along with donations from the public, contributed to the Central Coast effort, Mercer said.

“In Santa Cruz and San Benito (counties), a number of businesses have joined the drive this year,” he said.

Each year Second Harvest distributes food bins to locations throughout San Benito County and the Central Coast. With an increase in demand for food this year, along with continually rising costs of living, reaching the lofty goal of 920,000 pounds for the region became difficult.

Second Harvest serves 45,000 people per month through a network of 120 agencies. Ninety percent of those who seek its help are children, disabled, seniors and working poor families.

The demand for emergency food nationwide rose 19 percent this year, according to a report released by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Second Harvest still must count donations before tabulation of final totals.

“There are still checks in the mail,” Mercer said. “There is still food not picked up from all the different places.”

Mercer said the food bank is still accepting money donations. “We credit money at three pounds to the dollar,” he said.

Those who would still like to make donations should send a check, with “Holiday Food Drive” on its face, to Second Harvest Food Bank, P.O. Box 990, Watsonville, CA 95077.

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