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Second harvest Food Bank's School Pantry Program Helps Local School Kids Get Enough to Eat

Morgan Stanley grant will help to expand the program

SAN JOSE, Calif., September 12, 2014– Now that children are back in school, the last thing they should have to worry about is getting enough food to eat. Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties is making sure kids get enough to eat through its school pantry program, which provides fresh produce and nutritious food to families at more than 30 school sites in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.

Second Harvest recently received a $50,000 grant from Morgan Stanley that will help to support and expand the program. The grant is part of the latest phase in Morgan Stanley's more than $14 million commitment to Feeding America and its network of 200 local food banks. As part of the initiative, Morgan Stanley will award more than $4 million over three years to local food banks like Second Harvest to launch, expand, and sustain critical childhood feeding programs.

"Nearly 100,000 children rely on food from Second Harvest every month," said Kathy Jackson, CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. "The grant will help Second Harvest expand the school pantry program, which provides much-needed food to children and their families at their neighborhood school. We are grateful for this grant and for the Morgan Stanley volunteers who show their support by spending so many hours volunteering for Second Harvest."

School pantries are located at schools in high-need neighborhoods and provide easy access for families living nearby. Fresh produce and nutritious groceries are distributed at schools monthly and some sites offer a weekly bag of groceries for students to take home on Fridays.

Other services are also offered during the food distributions. Second Harvest nutritionists provide nutrition education to families as they wait in line to help them learn how to eat healthier and cook with the produce they receive from the Food Bank. Second Harvest CalFresh (food stamps) specialists are also on hand to help eligible families enroll in the federal food-assistance program.

"Schools are a great place to reach out to children and families and connect them to the nutritious food they need to thrive," Jackson said. "Hunger can deprive kids of a good education. When they don't get enough nutritious food to eat, they can't concentrate in school, they are sick more often, and can suffer lifelong consequences."

Morgan Stanley Executive Director Renee Arst said, "We are honored to be able to help Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties in its important fight against child hunger. Giving back to the communities where we live and work is one of Morgan Stanley's core values."

Families who are struggling to put food on the table can call Second Harvest's Food Connection multilingual hotline at 800-984-3663 to learn about food-assistance programs that can help, including CalFresh.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties is the trusted leader dedicated to ending local hunger. Since its inception in 1974, Second Harvest has become one of the largest food banks in the nation, providing food to an average of one quarter of a million people each month. The Food Bank mobilizes individuals, companies and community partners to connect people to the nutritious food they need. More than half of the food distributed is fresh produce. Second Harvest also plays a leading role in promoting federal nutrition programs and educating families on how to make healthier food choices. Visit www.SHFB.org to get involved.