How We Work

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Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties operates three food distribution warehouses located at 750 Curtner Avenue in San Jose, 4001 North 1st Street in San Jose, and 1051 Bing Street in San Carlos.

Food comes into these warehouses in the form of donated food and purchased food. Donated food comes from growers, processors, wholesalers and retailers, food drives, and the government through USDA allocations. Additional food is purchased to supplement donated items and includes fresh fruits and vegetables, milk, meat, and cheese. We also buy large quantities of staple canned and dry goods at wholesale prices.

From July 2016 through June 2017, we distributed more than one million pounds of nutritious food each week. Each month, more than one quarter of a million local residents received food through our food assistance programs. Our core service model mirrors that of most food banks. Ours is called the Food Assistance Program and involves partnerships with 300 non-profit agencies including shelters, pantries, soup kitchens, counseling centers, educational organizations, and community-based safety net organizations. These agencies service low-income populations from Daly City to Gilroy, and from the coast to the bay. Food is either delivered by the Food Bank directly to these partner non-profits or representatives from the organizations visit the San Jose or San Carlos Distribution Center to pick up items, which they take back to their location and provide to their clients.

In addition to partnering with local non-profits, Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties is unique because we address underserved geographic areas and populations through our own direct service programs. We established these direct service distribution sites in specific geographic areas because we determined the food needs in those neighborhoods were not being met with existing programs. Our direct service programs include:

  • Family Harvest provides monthly food assistance to low-income families with children.
  • Brown Bag provides food assistance twice a month to low-income seniors.
  • Kids NOW (Nutrition on Weekends) provides children ages 6-18 with an assortment of food items to take home every Friday.
  • Produce Mobile delivers fresh fruits and vegetables to low-income households each month.