We served over 500,000 people in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties in April 2020 — that’s an 85% increase since the start of the COVID-19 crisis.
ONE COMMUNITY IN TIME OF CRISIS
Even during a global pandemic, Guadalupe and her family know that eating a meal together at the dinner table is critical to their well-being. The family is able to come together because of the pre-boxed food they receive from Second Harvest, which is distributed by our partner Urban Services YMCA’s Community Resource Center.
Guadalupe, her husband and their kids live in South San Francisco. When one of her children was diagnosed with autism, she became a stay-at-home mom to help support his development. Once the spread of COVID-19 forced everyone to shelter in place, her husband lost his hourly wages as an Uber/Lyft driver. “We don’t have any income right now,” Guadalupe said.
Guadalupe says her kids especially like getting spaghetti and fruit from the boxes, and her family also loves when she is able to make beans, rice and sauces from the vegetables and spices they receive. What Guadalupe loves is that she has food to give her kids every day.
“What we enjoy the most is the fact that we’re all sitting together, eating together.”
Give hope during the COVID-19 crisis
“The volunteers and staff practiced social distancing like marking tape on the ground so that everyone lines up 6 feet apart. Everyone who came to get food complied with the rules like wearing masks. This makes me feel safe to come get food.”
– Tuyet, San Jose
“Although we were in a distribution line, with masks and gloves, we were also in conversation with each family in each vehicle. We were connecting in order to help and serve others, and developing empathy by asking questions, listening, observing, and learning.”
– Micaela Ochoa, Volunteer. Vice President of Administrative Services at College of San Mateo
“This entire operation is need driven. We are faced with serving new and more people in a very safe and secure way. This has made us change our method of distribution as much as possible.”
– Stan Edde, Chief Operating Officer, Second Harvest of Silicon Valley
“Kudos to Second Harvest for the changes you’ve had to make. Making sure we’re safe, six feet apart, we’ve had all the gear… You’ve met every challenge.”
– Debbie, volunteer
“When you read and watch the news of people losing jobs, and you know people are in need of the food we’re packing, that is my motivating force working here.”
– Technical Sergeant Ariella Lewis
I get excited when my mom gets the food. Sometimes with the chicken, she makes molé. For special occasions, like birthdays.
– Martin, Redwood City
30% of KIDS
are at risk of hunger in Silicon Valley.
> 85,000 KIDS
are served by Second Harvest each month.
“These meals make me strong like my favorite superhero, Wonder Woman. I like being strong.”
When Aaron went to his first food distribution at San Jose State University, he was shocked to see that hundreds of other students also needed help.
“I thought I was the only one who was food insecure, but it turns out there is quite a number of us.”
Aaron was able to land a campus job, but all of his money went to school fees. The fresh produce and nutritious groceries he received from Second Harvest made it possible for him to concentrate on his schoolwork.
“I was at a crossroad in my life. I had to figure out how to survive and actually complete my education.”
Aaron graduated from San Jose State University in December of 2019 with a degree in software engineering. He hopes to get a job that will pay enough to cover his bills and put food on the table.
Second Harvest’s school pantry program serves students at
including every community college in Silicon Valley.
“Having access to all of these wonderful resources allowed me to pursue my lifelong interest in astrophysics. Be proud to seek out these resources. You’re going to get to a better place, and it’s going to help you get there.”
“You probably have more responsibilities or circumstances that you do need to worry about. Don’t let food be one of them. There is a community with you, especially if you are a student.”
This center is close to me. I don’t need to take a bus a long way. I just walk. Now I’m eating brown rice because of my diabetes. And the chicken, oh boy! I like to cook adobo.
– Catalina, Daly City
We distribute food through
310 PARTNERS at
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.”
“All I have done is work hard and help the community as much as I can. And now the community is helping me.”
[Food’s] a passion for everybody. You get a good meal and you’re happy and you’re full. What else can you ask for?
– John with Sugar, Mountain View
“If you don’t have this support group… I’ve been to that point where you’re losing hope. [The food] is a supplement to what I can buy. It really helps out.”
“That does change your personality, if you have food and then don’t. What Second Harvest does is good.”
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
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.”