Second Harvest reaches goal in holiday food drive after all

Second Harvest Food Bank officials were

pleasantly surprised

that the food bank reached its goal of 920,000 pounds of food
donations for the holidays.
While most nonprofit organizations in California have experienced tough times during the state’s slow economic period, Second Harvest Food Bank officials were “pleasantly surprised” that the food bank reached its goal of 920,000 pounds of food donations for the holidays.

“A lot of companies came in at the last moment,” said Jeffrey Kongslie, Second Harvest development director.

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.

By the end of December, citizens had donated 800,000 pounds of food, according to Second Harvest spokesman Lee Mercer, who at the time said the company did not expect to reach the goal.

But according to Kongslie, several large donations during the week after Jan. 1 from San Benito County businesses and residents bumped the total over the top. The drive ended Jan. 6.

Kongslie boasted in particular about donations from San Benito County businesses. Of the 57 new businesses in SBC or Santa Cruz County that donated to Second Harvest this year, 40 were from San Benito County.

“And so that was critical to meeting the need this year,” Kongslie said.

He said the best part of this year’s success was doing well when most other nonprofits suffered.

“In the face of that (poor economy), we actually saw an increase this year,” Kongslie said. “Every other community is seeing nonprofits suffer. That’s just not the case with the food drive.”

Last year, Second Harvest collected 835,000 pounds of food.

Second Harvest sets a goal for its food drive each year based on hunger needs in the area, Kongslie said. The organization set the goal higher than last year’s because the need was higher this year.

Kongslie said Second Harvest will wait a few more months before setting a goal for 2003.

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