Family Harvest Program

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Second Harvest Food Bank's Family Harvest Program provides supplemental food to low-income households with dependent children. Family Harvest distributes food once a month at locations throughout Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. The program has been in operation since 1995.

"Thanks to the Family Harvest Program, I don't have to worry about not having enough money to buy food for my family."

-Family Harvest Member

Program Description

Low-income families must stretch their money as far as possible, which often means sacrificing the variety and nutritional value of food consumed. Many of our clients also live in areas where there is limited access to full-service grocery stores or food markets where fresh produce is available. The alternative for many is fast food restaurants and convenience stores which do not offer the types of nutritious food that people need to sustain a healthy life. When a child's basic needs are not met, there are devastating consequences. Children from low-income families are at the highest risk for malnutrition, childhood obesity, poor mental health, and lack of energy. Hunger can have devastating effects on a child's school performance and ability to learn.

The Family Harvest Program addresses these concerns by providing free groceries to low-income families with children under the age of 18. Each family in the Program receives approximately 112 pounds of food per month (the equivalent of 3-4 bags of groceries).

Same Family Harvest items:

  • Fresh produce
  • Ground turkey
  • Eggs
  • Pasta
  • Assortment of canned and frozen items

The Food Bank's Community Nutritionists also provide materials to promote healthier eating habits among children and adults and offer special tastings of food items that might be unfamiliar to Family Harvest members. Newsletters contain information about various health and nutrition issues as well as delicious recipes and food preparation instructions. The newsletters are printed in multiple languages for our diverse client population.

In order to create a true partnership between the Food Bank and the families that we serve, we offer volunteer opportunities at each of the distribution sites. Family Harvest volunteers sort, pack, and distribute food to their neighbors each month. Typically, Family Harvest volunteers are also clients themselves; they are well connected to the community being served and enjoy giving back.

Population and Region Served

  • The Family Harvest Program provides nutritious food to an average of 4,980 households per month (representing an average of 21,806 individuals per month and an average of 10,972 children per month), about half of whom are children
  • Eligible households are at or below 200% of the federal poverty level and re-apply each year.
  • There are currently 44 Family Harvest distribution locations (30 in Santa Clara County; 14 in San Mateo County). Distribution locations include family resource centers, a variety of family-serving non-profit organizations, community centers, and schools.

Impact

In a recent survey, 96% of respondents said their families eat more fruits and vegetables as a result of being in the Family Harvest program and 91% reported having more money to spend on other basic needs like medication and rent. 92% said the food from Second Harvest helps them better manage their health and 97% said it helps reduce the stress of providing food for their family.

For More Information

For more information about the Family Harvest Program, please call our Food Connection Hotline at (800) 984-3663 or email foodconnection@shfb.org.