30,113,434 meals provided so far in 2019
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Frequently Asked Questions

Getting started

How do I start a fundraiser and food drive?

To host a fundraiser and food drive, enroll online and order your collection barrels, posters and other promo supplies, as well as select dates to have them delivered and picked up.

Do you prefer money or food?

Both are valuable in our fight to eliminate hunger. Donated food allows us to offer clients a variety of items while cash donations allow us to purchase items with our impressive buying power. With a $55 donation, Second Harvest can buy the equivalent of up to $154 worth of food at a local grocery store.

How long should my fundraiser and food drive last?

Some drives last for just a few hours, while others span the entire year. If you have never hosted a fundraiser or food drive before, consider hosting a drive for one to two months to allow time to promote the drive and time for your friends, family and coworkers to participate.

Can I pick up my food drive supplies?

Yes, you can pick up food drive supplies at any of our distribution centers. Be sure to schedule a self-service pickup when you register or call our donor relations team at 866-234-3663.

How do I have food collection barrels delivered to my organization?

Simply register for a food drive where you will request barrels to be delivered and picked up at your organization. You can also order posters, promotional cards and biodegradable plastic bags to be delivered with your barrels. It’s important that we dedicate Second Harvest’s resources to purchasing more food instead of expensive fuel costs, so we do ask that you commit to collecting a minimum of 450 pounds (approximately three full barrels) if you are requesting a delivery. If you’re hosting a smaller drive, simply schedule a time to come directly to Second Harvest for your food collection supplies. No matter how many barrels you have on-site, we will be happy to come pick them up from your organization.

When will our barrels be delivered and picked up?

Our drivers are scheduled to be on the road Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., and we will be happy to schedule your delivery and pickups during those times. We base our delivery and pickup schedules on your hours of operation, but unfortunately, we cannot schedule specific delivery or pickup times throughout the day.

Where does donated food go?

Once your barrel is picked up, it is taken to one of our warehouses where volunteers will sort the foods into vegetable, fruit, grain, meat and other main categories. When the food is sorted, it is packaged and distributed out to our clients and the over 300 organizations we partner with.

Keeping your drive going

What if I’m hosting a permanent food drive?

If you’re hosting a permanent food drive and need to swap out your barrels, please contact our donor relations team at 866-234-3663 or drives@shfb.org.

What if I need an additional pickup, or don’t need an already scheduled pickup?

Please call our donor relations team at 866-234-3663 for a pickup when your barrels are about three quarters of the way full. To cancel a scheduled pickup, please call at least two days before the pickup date so we can open up that slot for another supporter and save on fuel costs.

What are your most-needed food items?

Second Harvest accepts all non-perishable food donations, but especially needs these nutritious items:

  • Canned tuna, chicken or salmon
  • Peanut butter
  • Meals in a can (soup, stew, chili)
  • Low-sodium canned vegetables
  • Canned fruit in its own juice or water
  • Olive or canola oil
  • Spices (cinnamon, chili powder, cumin, salt-free spice blends)
  • Canned foods with pop-top lids
  • Low-sugar whole grain cereals
  • Healthy snacks (granola bars, nuts, dried fruit)

Please avoid items packed in glass. No candy or sugar-sweetened drinks.

Wrapping up (donations and awards)

How do I turn in financial donations?

All checks and cash donated through your fundraiser and food drive must be turned in with your drive name. Checks can be mailed to Second Harvest of Silicon Valley, 4001 North First Street, San Jose, CA 95134 and cash and/or checks can be delivered to any of our locations. Please complete a Donation Tracking Form if you are collecting cash donations on behalf of your food and fund drive participants, and include it with your pooled donation.

How do I get my tax donation receipt for monetary donations and/or food?

Monetary donations: Online donors will receive an automatic receipt via email immediately following the processing of your gift. Donations of $5 or more that are mailed or dropped off at one of our centers will receive a receipt by mail, provided we received the donor’s name and complete address at the time the donation is submitted. If collecting donations from a group for your fundraiser and food drive, please complete a Donation Tracking Form if participants in your group wish to receive individual receipts. Please note that the form must be included with the donation when submitted.

Food donations: Please let participants know that we cannot provide receipts for food donations placed in barrels. Donors can deliver food directly to any of our distribution centers for a tax receipt, however Second Harvest can only confirm the weight of the food donation, not its monetary value.

What is the yearend cutoff date for tax-deductible financial donations?

In order for your financial donation to be counted toward the 2019 tax year, your donation must be received or postmarked by December 31, 2019. Please follow these steps to ensure your donation is received by the yearend cutoff:

  • Deliver or send in your financial donation to one of our three locations by 3:00 p.m. on December 31, 2019.
  • If the donation cannot be dropped off by 3:00 p.m., you must have it postmarked by a local post office with the December 31, 2019 date. Please note, if you drop it in a mailbox on December 31, 2019, it is not guaranteed it will get postmarked on that date.
  • Any pre-dated checks received or postmarked after December 31, 2019, will be counted as a 2020 donation and will not be eligible for 2019 taxes.

How are donations counted toward my organization’s fundraiser and food drive total?

In order for your organization to receive credit for participants’ contributions, the following must be included with all checks or cash gifts to Second Harvest:

  • Name of your organization or group clearly indicated with donation
  • Team name (if applicable)

Please tell your participants to write this on checks that are mailed directly to Second Harvest. Individuals who want to donate online will give through your online fundraising page. Make it easy to donate by including the direct link to your page in all of your drive announcements.

How do I find out how much my drive has raised?

Your online fundraising page will show you how much you’ve raised and your collected pounds can be viewed on our food drive dashboard.

Food, cash and checks may take up to two weeks to process, so keep in mind that your totals may not reflect all recent donations.

What is the annual awards and recognition event?

Each year, Second Harvest celebrates the success of all fundraisers and food drives held throughout the year at our Make Hunger History Awards. Points and award levels are calculated at the close of each year’s holiday campaign and then presented to winners at this celebratory evening. We look forward to recognizing your support at next year’s event.

Head here for a recap and photos of our most recent event!

What is the awards structure?

The awards structure is based on a point system:
$1 = 2.5 points
1 pound = 1 point

Formula for total points:
Total Pounds + (Total Dollars x 2.5) = Total Points

How do I apply for my company’s matching gifts?

Many corporations have a matching gift program. Please consult your human resources department to see if your company matches charitable contributions and follow their instructions for applying for a match.