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2018 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Food, Food Banks & Pantries, Food Programs

Mission: Lead our community to ensure that anyone who needs a healthy meal can get one.

Results: We are the largest nonprofit provider of food in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties; nearly 1 in 10 people in our region receives some of their food from Second Harvest Food Bank. Last year we provided more than 65 million pounds of food to a network of 309 community-based organizations at 985 sites across both counties.

Target demographics: An estimated 700,000 Silicon Valley residents – 1 in 4 – are at risk of hunger.

Direct beneficiaries per year: An average of 260,000 people each month. More than half the people we serve are seniors and children.

Geographic areas served: Santa Clara County, San Mateo County

Programs: Grocery programs, partner programs, CalFresh outreach, school and summer meal support, nutrition education and advocacy.

Community Stories

119 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering for over 10 years as the Site Chair for the Brown Bag Program.
It has been very rewarding.
Second Harvest Food Bank staff provide the tools and support for the volunteers.
It is a great program for the community.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Second Harvest Food Bank came to my attention a few years ago. I am continually in awe of their mission, how incredibly hard they work, and how effectively they produce results. Second Harvest feeds large numbers of people - adults and children - who have nowhere else to go, and those numbers are growing substantially every year. Second Harvest gives people more than food; they give them a leg up, hope, and a way to climb out of an impossible life situation- not enough to eat.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer for the past 3 years. I started out as a member, but when hearing that one of the volunteers had passed away, I jumped right in. Seeing the happy faces of the Senior Citizens that we help each week is amazing. They all know me and I spend half my time getting hugs. This is the greatest reward of all for being a member of Second Harvest Brown Bag Program. I never knew being retired could be so rewarding.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My wife and I have been volunteering for over 7 years, 5 of those as site chairs for the Brown Bag Program.

Our relationship with the staff at SHFB has been exceptional. They respond to our needs in a timely manner and are genuine in their appreciation of the work done by all the volunteers.

The camaraderie we feel working with the volunteers and clients at our site make it a very worthwhile experience.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As Onsite Coordinator of United American Banks' Community Food and Fund Drive since Janaury 2012, It's been my honor and pleasure to work with the fantiastic nonprofit, Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. Jennie Nguyenly, SHFB Coordinator, and her staff are exceptionally committeed to serving needy families up an down the peninsula! I have no hesitation in recommedning SHFB of Santa Clara & San Mateo Counties to the fullest and look forward to working with them for years to come!

Sincerely,
Marcie Mitchell
Executive Administrative Assistant
United American Bank

Barbara154

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Second Harvest Food Bank has a well-deserved reputation as one of the most effective organizations in feeding the hungry in Silicon Valley. Its operations are efficient, and one of my husband's and my criteria for donation involves the percentage of money donated that actually goes to HELP people, as opposed to being gobbled up by administrative costs.

I hope Second Harvest continues to be funded for a very long time. If it weren't here, many people who need assistance would not be able to get it.

--Barbara Saxton

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My experience volunteering at Second Harvest Food Bank was nothing short of exceptional. Last summer, I worked at Second Harvest through the Haas Center for Public Service at Stanford University to help connect eligible residents to the CalFresh (food stamp) program from both a case management and marketing perspective. It was during my fellowship that I witnessed that the Food Bank certainly exceeds expectations when it comes to meeting the needs of hungry residents in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. But what intrigued me the most was the empathy and dedication to the community that each and every staff member exuded. Never have I seen a group of more hard-working individuals who are united by a common goal.

Amy_124

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Second Harvest is, I believe, the biggest and possibly the only food bank on the peninsula. The amount of food they provide and the number of people they provide it to is/are phenomenal . I called the San Carlos location to see about volunteering 2 years ago, and was immediately welcomed and given things to do that I feel allow me to make a meaningful difference there. They are very flexible about having volunteers work in departments and on projects that feel like the best fit to them. And you don't feel like "just a volunteer"-- you feel like a part of the organization. The staff and the other regular volunteers are across the board nice, friendly, hard-working, smart and dedicated. Volunteers are essential to keeping things going at Second Harvest, because they are very lean in terms of employees.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering with SHFB for over 10 years and continue to do so because of many reasons. First, the staff at SHFB really goes all out with the volunteers and genuinely cares about us and appreciates what we do. They bend over backwards to make sure we are happy there. I actually feel bad when I cannot get there on my days of volunteering. And I can honestly say some of the staff are now my friends. We have done things outside of SHFB. Second, I just believe wholeheartedly that SHFB is really helping our community. Their employees believe in the cause too. The employees are passionate about what they do and strive to make each person in need of food get a meal. My volunteering at SHFB has enriched my life and my children's life (they have volunteered there too). I would highly encourage anyone to volunteer at SHFB.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I continue to bring my team back to Second Harvest again and again, and have been doing so for over 10 years. It is fabulous to be able to work with an organization that helps people directly, in our own community. To be face-to-face with the fact that hunger is an issue in a community like Silicon Valley is eye-opening, and we are truly blessed to be able to give back in a meaningful way, in just one morning or afternoon! The staff is amazing, they keep us happy and motivated, and it never hurts that they spur on a little "internal competition" between the Cisco teams to see who can sort and box the most food! It is a very fun teambuilding experience which allows you to get to know your teammates outside of the traditional work environment, and I have appreciated that greatly over the years. And, we all leave very happy knowing that we've done the community a lot of good in the process!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have coordinated food sorts for our company Maxim Inetegrated for years. I try to get our employees involved in 2 sorts each quarter and allow them and Maxim to help give back to the community and help Second Harvest great cause.

It is easy, fun, great to get to know others in your company in a fun meaningful way, and do a small part to make a different in our part of the world.

The staff at Second Harvest is incredible and so easy to work with. They work around your schedule and make it a great experience that employees want to do again and again.

Keep up the great work and we will be back for all the years to come I work with Maxim.

Best regards,

Jeff Thomas

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I can't tell you how much I enjoyed volunteering at the Food Bank. I am so happy to see that the Food Bank provides food to seniors who are in need week after week, year after year. And little me, who has the privilege to participated in helping people too. Not only does the Food Bank provide basic needs for seniors, they also give comfort to low income families and homeless people through out the community. Truly, the Food Bank makes those people feel that someone cares.

Thank you for all the good work you do to help make this a better society.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been bringing faculty, staff and students from Santa Clara University to volunteer at the Second Harvest Food Bank for the past three years. We were looking for an opportunity to do something good for the community while doing some team-building outside of my research lab & the classroom. Usually, 5-10 of us pack fruits & veggies into boxes to be distributed to people in need. We started at the Curtner facility and have been volunteering more recently at the First Street facility. At both locations, the front office staff was always very cheerful and welcoming. Our volunteer coordinator, Colleen, was always there to greet us and help us get started. The Second Harvest Food Bank staff always took a few minutes in the beginning to remind us of the need for food for the hungry and how the Food Bank survives largely on the efforts of volunteers (like us!). We often get a chance to work alongside people from a diversity of places (local high school students, tech companies, college sports clubs, etc.). it's always a very positive vibe in the warehouse when we're packing food, but at the same time, everyone is motivated to work hard sorting the edible from the rotten fruits & veggies, building boxes, then weighing and stacking them. Colleen often comes down and takes a photo or two of our group and is always very quick to email them to me so I can share with my colleagues. Several of her photos are scrolling on the Department of Biology's website! As our 1.5-2hrs comes to an end, one of the warehouse staff announces how many pounds of food we prepared for distribution and we trade our paper name tags for a refreshing bottle of cold water. My lab has benefited greatly from the opportunity and we hope to continue to volunteer for several years to come.

Donor

Rating: 4

It amazes me how successful our Bay Area community is, and how at the same time, families in our same community, struggle to purchase groceries. I have been a supporter of Second Harvest for more than 10 years and I also communicate with them frequently. This organization is one of our best and well-run. Each time I participate in a Second Harvest event, they maintain the same level of excitement, love and enthusiasm for their supporters. They are organized, dedicated and their well-trained staff and volunteers are a pleasure to partner with. Thank you Second Harvest for taking care of our community!

Susana Meisenhelder
Maxim Integrated
Program Manager, HR

Marie Bernard

Board Member

Rating: 5

For the past 14 years, I've been honored to be a nonprofit partner and now a board member for Second Harvest Food Bank. During that time, Second Harvest has always been a leading advocate for food and nutrition in our community, and they have scaled their mission to meet the rising needs in Silicon Valley. Kathy Jackson, Executive Director, and the dedicated staff are innovators in the nonprofit sector, engaging business leaders and community members to work to solve hunger issues and shed light on the policy issues affecting nutrition. They truly are thought leaders.

Donor

Rating: 5

Even though Silicon Valley is full of tech millionaires, we also have thousands of people who do not have enough to eat. Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties is effective, efficient and ever-focused on providing the best experience to their customers. There but for the grace of God go all of us, so I am so proud to support Second Harvest in good times and in bad.

Donor

Rating: 5

This is the best run charity in our area. They are meeting a real need, and continue to serve the community well.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Our group at Cisco volunteers at SHFB at least once every quarter and participates in a food drive every year. Second Harvest is one of the greatest non-profit orgzanizations in the Santa Clara Valley. Their focus and dedication to helping the hungry has had an astronomical and profound effect on me personally.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I work with Second Harvest at various sites to let local residents know about their option to see if they qualify for CalFresh, the food stamp program. The residents are grateful to find out about it. At the same time, I let the residents know they may be eligible to pick up food, and where to call for more information. Second Harvest does a fabulous job in supporting me with what I do, and in how they operate overall. The hours are flexible. Second Harvest will let me know when they need extra help, so I have the option to be of greater service.

Donor

Rating: 5

Second Harvest Food Bank serves a very basic need in our community and one that is foundational to serving higher level needs such as education, training, and healthcare. SHFB is one of the most efficient non-profits in terms of how much of each donated dollar directly benefits the intended recipients. SHFB is also one of the most progressive non-profits in its use of technology and strategies to met the needs of tomorrow.