Food bank in Saint Clara County

Also known as SHFB with the physical address of; 750 Curtner Ave., San Jose, CA, 95125, United states, the employer identification number of 94-2614101, phone number of (408) 266-8866 and web URL of http://www.shfb.org

The mission statement: Providing food for the people in need in our community

The Food Bank Incorporated of Santa Clara County was founded by Economic and Social Opportunities in the year 1974. In 1979 it was incorporated as a non-profit agency. Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties was formed later in 1988 following the merging of The San Mateo County Food Bank and Food Bank Inc. of Santa Clara County. Second Harvest Food Bank moved to San Jose and acquired a warehouse of 65,000 square foot in 1992. This made San Jose become the major food distribution centre. In June 1995, San Mateo County started receiving distributions from Peninsula Distribution Center in San Carlos which had a 22,000 square foot was in a newly renovated 22,000 square foot warehouse. Since its inception, the Second Harvest has been in operation for forty one years and becoming one of the nations’ largest food banks. It has been providing close to a quarter million people with food every month. With the effort of The Food Bank, community partners, companies and individuals are mobilized to attach people with the nutritious food they require in their bodies. With more than half of the food distributed being fresh, it also plays a role of promoting federal nutrition programs and enlightens families on the choice of healthier diets.

Every year The Food Bank distributes close to fifty two million people struggling with hunger. In 2014 fiscal year, more than one million pounds of nutritious food was distributed in every zip code to the low-income individuals in need. It partners with more than 330 non-profit agencies such as shelters, residential programs, soup kitchens, pantries, senior meal sites, children’s programs located in 770 different distribution centers. According to Guide star (2015), the top funders are: California Association of Food Banks giving US Dollars 40,596,138, United States Department of Agriculture giving US Dollars 12,193,655 and last but not least, AG Against Hunger gives US Dollars 3,831,409.

Individual opportunities are mostly three hours long running Monday to Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 12 noon p.m. I got ten minutes of orientation and asked questions concerning safety and I was given safety rules answers, I had a two and a half hour work and a fifteen minute break. This was my first time working as a volunteer at Second Harvest Food Bank. It was a three hour task which was sorting unlabeled cans, expired goods and household items such as donated baby bottles and organizing them by types. It was very interesting for me to see some of the new canned brands of goods that I had never seen before. Volunteering at the Food Bank gave me a feeling of worth in the world because I was able to help those who struggle each day with each day with hunger. The organization being dedicated to feeding the low- income people and ending hunger in the local community inspired me and I was able to help people facing within my immediate community. It was beautiful working with people of jovial mood and I am going to make sure that I take people willing to volunteer at the Harvest Food Bank to have the same experience that I had. Because of the hands getting grimy by touching the cans, I would suggest that you carry with you disposable gloves.

Group food sorting opportunities run from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m or from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. during the week. When I got there early that Thursday I met our team leader John who was very gracious. I volunteered for the sorting of food in the warehouse 4001 North 1st St., San Jose which included tasks such as, sorting of bread, fruits vegetables and other products, then packaging vegetables and fruits to send to various distribution locations for the low income families with hunger. It was remarkable to me because my group was able to give out ten pallets of four hundred and forty boxes. This was a two hour commitment with other fellow group members and I really felt I did a great task helping the community. I was also able to get acquainted with the owners of the consignment stores and they got to know me by my name. I can assure you that I have never found fun while working with other non-profit agencies the way I had when volunteering at the Second Harvest Food Bank, we really bonded well with the other team mated while listening to the music from the back ground. The rules used in sorting were pretty long and I was very impressed the way the staff mastered them all. Working with people of all ages for one goal with the spirit and energy was the best experience ever. Having the experience at Second Harvest Food Bank my goal now is to giving the most pallets in a span of two hours. If you are going to volunteer at The Food Bank, casual dress code is recommended. In food Sorting/warehouse you are required to wear comfortable footwear such as, work shoes, sneakers or boots because high-heeled shoes and sandals are not allowed. During winter dress warmly in sweatshirts and jeans and in summer dress lightly. For safety, valuables such as watches, jewelry, necklaces, ear rings should not be worn while in the warehouse and should be left at home moreover Second Harvest Food Bank does not claim responsibility in their misplacement or damage.

I have come to learn that although The United States is a wealthy country, the number of people struggling to feed their families on a daily basis is alarming and in every four Americans, one participates in food and nutrition assistance programs that provide food to millions of low-income adults and families with children. Having learnt in Hunger and Environmental Nutrition class that is a health disparity in the United States due to diet related diseases because of difference in socio economic status of families Neff, Palmer, McKenzie and Lawrence (2009), My volunteering work at The Food Bank has enabled me relate the theory I have learnt in he reality of what is actually happening. Therefore the programs done by the Second Harvest Food Bank has had a positive impact on the health and nutrition of people struggling with hunger.

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