#MemberMonday: Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County
May 10, 2021
This week’s featured member food bank is Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County. Founded in 1972, Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County was the first food bank in California and is the second oldest in the nation! They are also one of our 11 member food banks participating in our Food Access for Farmworkers Initiative.
“The Food Access for Farmworkers Initiative (FAFI) has been an outstanding pilot program for the food bank,” states Bryn Calderon, the food bank’s Marketing & Annual Fund Director. “The initiative is working towards establishing a more inclusive food network that includes the food banks, who make it possible to distribute food to those in need, and the farmworkers, who source our food and are often in need of it themselves.”
Upon receiving their box, one of the farmworker stopped to thank the food bank, sharing how hard he felt the work in the fields can be, and that it was nice to know they, the farmworkers, were not forgotten.
Farmworkers are in the fields, working daily to cultivate and harvest the food that the community gets to enjoy or the food bank provides for others in need. The food boxes, which are specifically customized for farmworkers, is a first step towards giving back to those who work so hard to provide Californians (and the rest of the country) with fruits and vegetables.
In March, the food bank was able to publicly recognize the farmworkers through social media, “Campesinos” t-shirts, and banners that are now included at distributions. Additionally, they championed print and digital advertising thanking farmworkers with “Got Food? Thank a Farmworker!” outreach.
Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz also works to help eligible Californians apply for, or continue, their CalFresh benefits. Recently, an older couple who was looking for food and had not received any assistance was directed to the food bank’s CalFresh Outreach staff. The couple asked questions and shared their concerns about the program. After the conversation, they were put at ease and decided to apply.
Throughout their pending application, Concepcion, the 67-year-old wife, would call to check in, and the food bank kept her updated on her case. Now approved, Concepcion still reaches out to ask questions about letters she receives from the County about the program. “And we are glad to help!” shares Bryn. “She gets excited knowing she will be able to help herself and her husband purchase healthy food, and depend less on her children. She is so happy she can purchase healthy food, like her favorite snacks of almonds and cashews.”
Being a CAFB member enables us the opportunity to provide even more fantastic resources, such as the food boxes, that only serve to further strengthen our bond with our community. CAFB also provides necessary resources for our food bank to function at a high level, which has proved extremely beneficial, especially during these times.
Bryn Calderon, Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County
Tomorrow, May 11, Second Harvest Santa Cruz County will be holding the CalFresh Forum for the County of Santa Cruz with Keynote Speaker Jimmy Panetta (Congressman, California’s 20th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives). Information can be found here. Topics include Pandemic EBT, Innovation Driven by Pandemic (panel), Disaster CalFresh and more!
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