Chancellor Cynthia Larive was among UCSC volunteers who recently helped load food donations at Second Harvest Food Bank.
Chancellor Cynthia Larive was among UCSC volunteers who recently helped load food donations at Second Harvest Food Bank. Credit: Carolyn Lagattuta

Across the nation, food insecurity has consistently remained a big issue for many communities. Amid the tumultuous events of recent years, including the COVID-19 pandemic and looming economic recession, this issue has only worsened. With one in ten U.S. households struggling to gain reliable access to healthy food, it’s now more important than ever for our community to take a more active role in helping bridge the hunger gap.

This is where local organizations like Second Harvest Food Bank come into play. Second Harvest is not only deeply respected in Santa Cruz County. It made history in 1972, when it was founded, as the second oldest in the nation. For 50 years, Second Harvest Food Bank has been committed to doing what’s necessary – in combating everyday food insecurity or the further ravages of pandemic times.

Second Harvest Food Bank has partnered with Lookout Santa Cruz to ensure every family has a chance to celebrate this year. For every Lookout membership purchased in the next two weeks, Lookout will donate 10% of the price paid to support Second Harvest’s Holiday Food & Fund drive.

This partnership provides a Double Giveback: Second Harvest has found donors to match a portion of the proceeds. Become a member today, and read more about Second Harvest’s never-ending work to provide food to families this holiday season – and all year long.

Second Harvest Double Giveback membership graphic

Read on to learn more about the incredible efforts made by the Second Harvest team in helping strengthen our local community.

The fight to resolve hunger in Santa Cruz

One in three residents are food insecure in Santa Cruz County. That means 75,000 people each month—children, seniors, veterans, homeless, working folks, and more—are missing meals, running out of groceries, or not having enough money to purchase food when they need it.

For some, food insecurity is temporary during a tough time. For others, it’s a chronic result of poverty and can lead to a host of physical and mental health problems in both children and adults including diabetes, hypertension, and depression. Making sure our neighbors don’t face hunger can help in the short-term and decades later by improving health, keeping kids in school, and supporting economic mobility.

There is a trusted way to help our neighbors make it through tough times. By giving to Second Harvest Food Bank during the Holiday Food & Fund Drive, we can make sure no one goes hungry in Santa Cruz County. One hundred percent of the funds raised during the drive goes to providing food to distribute to 150 food pantries, schools, soup kitchens, group homes, youth centers, and Second Harvest program sites throughout the county.

Volunteers at the Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County
Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

Second Harvest can provide four healthy meals for every $1 donated thanks to our extensive relationships with farmers, retailers, and food bank networks, and our dedicated volunteers. We source over 11 million pounds of food each year from farms, grocery stores, food manufacturers, distributors, and individuals, and much of the food we distribute is fresh produce, making Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County the one of the Healthiest Food Banks in the nation.

This year, UCSC and the Community Foundation are proud to team up to lead the effort to raise enough money to serve five million meals. During the Holiday Food & Fund Drive, businesses, organizations, religious institutions, schools, and even neighborhoods band together to form teams. The Holiday Food & Fund drive runs from November 10 – January 15. The easiest and most direct way to help, is to donate through the Second Harvest website.

second harvest 50th anniversary logo