Give What Matters

We are now providing food to an average of 500,000 people every month – double the number of neighbors we served before the crisis.

COVID-19 STORIES 

KIDS

DRIVE-THRU

SENIORS

HOME DELIVERY

FAMILIES

NHON, SAN JOSE

Situated in an industrial-sized parking lot in East San Jose is a food distribution that serves 750 households every week. Among all the drive-thru and walk-up clients, 71-year-old Nhon patiently pushes his cart to the front of the line. He wears a homemade mask to protect his face and plastic gloves to cover his hands; he’s ready to collect his weekly bounty amid the global pandemic. He methodically places the items from the boxes into his cart: vegetables, fruits, chicken breasts, milk, cooking oil, rice and other shelf-stable items.

Before shelter-in-place began, Nhon and his wife had a routine: they would take the bus to their ESL classes and then pick-up food at a community food distribution before going home. But once everything started closing, Nhon was stuck…

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Nhon

ED, REGIONAL PROGRAM COORDINATOR

Ed, a former client and current staff member at Second Harvest of Silicon Valley, is used to providing fresh fruits and vegetables to his community. At nine years old, Ed would wake up at 5 a.m. to start working in fields of strawberries, squash and tomatillos on his parents’ farm in Santa Maria. “Just being able to see [the produce at Second Harvest] reminds me of home, because I am still working with food. I am still out there helping people,” he said.

Ed once worried about asking for help and needing food assistance for himself. When he first moved to the Bay Area to attend San Jose State University (SJSU), he was shocked that he had to pay $600 to split half of a small room…

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Ed

MARICELA, CLIENT AND VOLUNTEER

Maricela is up at 5:30 a.m. every day to cook for her husband, who is an essential worker, and care for her eight-year-old son. While Maricela can’t work outside the house full-time due to her seizures, helping her son with remote learning and maintaining the house is a full-time job.

And in addition to that, Maricela makes time to volunteering at Second Harvest of Silicon Valley’s distributions, something she’s been committed to supporting for the last 20 years.

Maricela loves having her son Alberto at home with her all day and he enjoys being at home too. The nutritious food she receives from Second Harvest helps keep him alert and engaged with his classes. Maricela says receiving food from Second Harvest is a great blessing.

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Maricela

ERNESTO, SAN JOSE

Since the shelter-in-place order started, several big boxes from Second Harvest of Silicon Valley have been showing up on Ernesto’s doorstep twice monthly: a box of fresh, colorful produce like mangos, plums and celery, a box of non-perishable dry goods like rice and cereal, and a box with proteins, like chicken, eggs and peanut butter. These groceries were delivered by volunteers at no cost to Ernesto.

Ernesto, a 70-year-old bus driver for special education students, found himself out of a job when COVID-19 forced schools to move to remote learning. With the unexpected and abrupt loss of his income, Ernesto wondered how he was going to survive.

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Ernesto

ELIZABETH, SAN JOSE

A church in San Jose has lines of cars snaked throughout its parking lot, but no one is there to attend service; instead, inside every car is a driver and their family waiting to accept boxes of groceries in their trunk.

Elizabeth’s family—her husband and three children—started coming to this drive-thru distribution in the most recent months of the pandemic. “My husband works in a company that makes equipment for hospitals and they actually have a lot of demand right now, so they are asking him to not rest, to miss as little workdays as possible so they can fulfil all of the orders they have.”

But Elizabeth, who has been a professional hairdresser for over 19 years, lost her income when her salon had to unexpectedly close at the beginning of shelter-in-place…

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Elizabeth

SAYRA, CLIENT AND VOLUNTEER

Sayra has been a volunteer and a client with Second Harvest of Silicon Valley for seven years. Her desire to support the community that supported her is what led her to take on the commitment of becoming a site lead at one of our free grocery distributions.

The responsibilities of a site leader include everything from loading boxes into car trunks to setting up tables and awnings for volunteers to directing traffic. When Sayra gets home from her shift, she is tired. She knows she needs to rest to take care of herself.

“With lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, I get so tired. [But] when I volunteer, somehow, I am not tired. When I’m there [the mission] makes me help more and work more.”

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Sayra

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Former UFC Champion Cain Velasquez shares his own experience with hunger and why he feels it’s important to give back to the community where he was raised.

“Thank you for the delivery of food… I was so impressed. It was almost like a second Christmas.”

– Anonymous senior

We rely on volunteers to meet the need

Volunteer

“Sorting and boxing produce means I have muscles now that I never had before! Volunteering is a rewarding way to make a difference in the community.”

– Martha, volunteer

“When I come out here every day, whether it’s for the volunteers or even those coming to get the food, it’s to help spread positivity, put a smile on people’s faces and just make a difference and a positive impact in their day.”

– Jordan, volunteer

FOR KIDS

I get excited when my mom gets the food. Sometimes with the chicken, she makes molé. For special occasions, like birthdays.

– Martin, Redwood City

We are now serving
143,000 KIDS
on average every month.

We help schools, libraries and camps leverage federal dollars and provide infrastructure like meal carts so they can serve more kids during the summer months. This enabled the delivery of more than 650,000 meals last summer.

“These meals make me strong like my favorite superhero, Wonder Woman. I like being strong.”

– Isela

DRIVE-THRU DISTRIBUTIONS

We are so thankful that we heard about this [service] because now we don’t have to worry about food anymore.

– Lázaro, Mountain View

We launched
130+ SAFETY-FOCUSED, LOW-TOUCH DRIVE-THRU DISTRIBUTIONS
providing pre-boxed food.

“[When I first came to get food] Oh, I said, “Oh my God, are you kidding?” It was very good. They give you three or four boxes of things. And they’re not always the same. So, they change it up.”

– Richard, Milpitas

“The pandemic has affected me as I lost my job, and I have seen that many people got sick and I’m afraid of getting sick as well as afraid of my family getting sick.”

– Jesús, Redwood City

FOR SENIORS

The hardworking staff and volunteers of Second Harvest have made us homebound seniors feel grateful and joyful.

– Liying, home delivery client, Saratoga

We distribute food through more than
300 PARTNERS at
1,000 SITES
to reach people in nearly every corner of Silicon Valley, from Daly City to Gilroy.

“I’m on a fixed income. Sometimes I run out of food, so I go to the distribution on campus and the food I get there helps me.”

– Sheba

“All I have done is work hard and help the community as much as I can. And now the community is helping me.”

– Natalio

HOME DELIVERY

Because of the coronavirus, I didn’t want to go anywhere. I was scared to even take a step outside.

– Ernesto, San Jose

Our home delivery program serves more than
5,500 HOUSEHOLDS
on average every month.

“[The most challenging aspect of home delivery is] the sense that the need is growing and not shrinking. You’d love to find out that the sweet lady who waved at you from her window last week is okay now and doesn’t need the food. But we’re delivering to her house again.

– True, home delivery volunteer with Team Rubicon

“[Speaking with clients] is like speaking to my grandma. I love connecting with them and letting them know it’s not just about adding them to a list… I like to make sure they know that we care.”

– Suleyma, Regional Program Coordinator, Second Harvest of Silicon Valley

FOR FAMILIES

Natasha needed help when she left an abusive relationship with her husband, taking her children, 16-year-old Tyler and 6-year-old Kai, with her. They left their home with nothing.

Soon she was connected to Second Harvest, and was able to get fresh fruits and vegetables for her family. They were also able to move into a shelter operated by LifeMoves, one of Second Harvest’s partner agencies.

A year later, Natasha’s family lives in a townhouse in San Jose and she works as an accountant at a local children’s hospital. Natasha is able to focus on healing and providing for her boys. She shared:

“I couldn’t have done everything I had to do in the past year without nutritious food.”

A typical client receives
$250 WORTH
of free groceries every month from a Second Harvest distribution, freeing up dollars that can be used to pay for housing and other basic necessities.

When Rebekah’s son was born premature and with low blood sugar, she knew he would need plenty of nutritious food to grow up healthy and strong. She shared:

“It’s helpful because it’s expensive to eat healthy otherwise. This just helps tremendously. It’s a big, heavy weight lifted.”