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 100 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 5,267 households (representing 23,073 individuals), more than half of whom are children.
  • Households have an average of four people; 88% of the households have one or more children younger than age six, when brain development and proper nutrition are most critical.
  • Eligible households are at or below 200% of the federal poverty level and re-apply each year. The average Family Harvest recipient household's income is $1,438 per month.
  • There are currently 48 Family Harvest distribution locations (31 in Santa Clara County; 17 in San Mateo County). Distribution locations include family resource centers, a variety of family-serving non-profit organizations, community centers, and schools.

Impact

We know we are making a difference in the lives of the families we serve. When Family Harvest recipients were recently surveyed, we asked about changes as a result of participating in the Family Harvest Program. We found that 94% report that their children eat healthier, 63% stated that they eat more fruits and vegetables, 48% responded that their family has more food at each meal, 46% cook more, and 39% responded that they eat less fast food.

For More Information

For more information about the Family Harvest Program in San Mateo County, please call Arlene Aquino at 650.610.0800 ext.416 or email aaquino@shfb.org.

For more information about the Family Harvest Program in Santa Clara County, please call Osvaldo Maldonado at 408.694.0023 or email omaldonado@shfb.org.

Funded in part by:

United Way Silicon Valley