While the holiday season serves as a time of unbridled joy and abundance for some, it is also the most difficult time of the year for many families across the country. Due to inequitable access to necessary human resources like clothing, shelter and food, several disadvantaged communities are forced to endure immense hardships, made even more onerous by these last few months of the year.
Luckily, these families can rely on the community-based efforts of local organizations such as Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Cruz County to help make their holidays a little brighter. 2022 marks Second Harvest’s 50th year in providing nourishment for all members of Santa Cruz County. Their inspiring hard work has continually improved processes & protocols to support inclusive & equitable practices and decision making at all organization levels.
While they have been arduously working to provide meals to 85,000 residents every month, Second Harvest has also been introducing some exciting new changes, including welcoming Erica Padilla-Chavez as their new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) this past July. Padilla-Chavez, a Watsonville native, has worked in the health and community services sector for more than two decades and shares a deeply personal connection with the community.
“While we have made strides in Covid recovery, the need for food assistance has not decreased to pre-pandemic levels. With inflation, many families and working people are not making ends meet. This year’s food and fund drive is crucial to making sure no one goes hungry in Santa Cruz County.”
— Erica Padilla-Chavez, Chief Executive Officer of Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County
Read on to learn more about the various ways you can help support Second Harvest Food Bank in their mission to make this holiday season a memorable one for all families across the county.
Holiday Food & Fund Drive 2022Help Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County continue to fill the gap and feed hope by providing healthy food during current challenges and beyond. 100% of the funds raised during Holiday Food and Fund Drives from November 10 to January 15 goes to providing food to distribute at our partner agency locations.
Holiday Food & Fund Drive 2022
One of Second Harvest’s most pivotal efforts to resolve food insecurity in Santa Cruz County revolves around their annual Holiday Food & Fund Drive. This year, the Holiday Food & Fund Drive’s goal is to raise enough money to serve 5,000,000 meals. During the annual drive, businesses, organizations, schools, and neighborhoods are encouraged to form teams and gather funds to help achieve this goal.
100% of the funds raised during Holiday Food and Fund Drives goes to providing food to distribute at our 160 partner & agency locations. As part of Feeding America, Second Harvest has wholesale buying power and carries the ability to provide 4 meals for every $1 raised.
Help Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County continue to fill the gap and feed hope by supporting their Holiday Food & Fund Drive in providing healthy food during current challenges and beyond.
Drive-Through Community Food Distributions
Inflation, as well as high rent and high gas prices, are contributing to local food insecurity. To help ameliorate this issue, Second Harvest will hold drive-through food distribution events over the coming weeks.
To facilitate food pick-up for recipients, and due to the volume of food that needs to be distributed, the drive-through events will be held at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds in Watsonville. Dates scheduled are all Monday evenings to accommodate community members who will be coming from work including December 5th and December 19th from 4:00 - 7:00 PM. The fairgrounds are located at 2601 E. Lake Ave in Watsonville, CA.
The distributions are open to any Santa Cruz County resident; no one will be turned away. No advance signups are required; residents can simply show up during the event to receive a share of healthy food, which includes pantry staples such as tomato sauce, rice, and beans.