Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties' holiday fundraiser fell short of its goal, and now it needs help to continue feeding the thousands of struggling people seeking the organization's help.
During the three-month holiday fundraiser, in which about half of the food bank's annual revenue is raised, $12.1 million was generated, according to food bank officials. The goal, however, was to raise $12.4 million, leaving Second Harvest $300,000, or 600,000 meals, shy of its goal, officials said.
Second Harvest CEO Kathy Jackson said the shortfall is the worst she's seen in years.
"If we were seeing demand for our services fall off we would be much more relaxed about this outcome," she said, but instead, the food bank has found that there are more and more people seeking its services.
In 2012, Second Harvest Food Bank provided roughly 41 million meals to the communities it serves at 740 sites, including soup kitchens, shelters, pantries and senior centers, throughout Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, according to food bank officials.
Jackson said Second Harvest is the only food bank in the Bay Area that does not charge for the food it provides. "That's why the fundraising is so important," she said.
In order to avoid leaving some of the 250,000 people who eat meals from Second Harvest each month hungry, the food bank is asking for the public's help to close the $300,000 gap, dubbing the effort the "600,000 meal challenge," Jackson said.
Anyone capable of providing any support to the food bank can call (866) 234-3663 or visit www.SHFB.org.
Anyone struggling to put food on the table is encouraged to call the Second Harvest food connection hotline at (800) 984-3663 to learn about food-assistance programs.