April 05, 2012

Canned Quail Eggs and other delicacies at the Second Harvest Food Bank

By Amy Truel, Content Chair, Communications Team

Fifteen enthusiastic League members and Provisionals volunteered their time at the Second Harvest Food Bank Done in a Day on Tuesday, March 15. Our members volunteered alongside several other groups of eager volunteers -it really does take an army to properly sort, perform quality control, and categorize the donations! League member Samantha Symonds Shear felt the same way, “The Second Harvest DIAD project was rewarding because you see firsthand that the food you select, sort, and package will help so many people. This DIAD is a great team experience, working together to provide an immediate impact to those in need.” 

You may be wondering what the Second Harvest Food Bank is all about, so I’ve included some facts about the non-profit below. 
  • 1 in 10 people in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties receive food from Second Harvest
  • In fiscal year 2011 (July 2010 - June 2011), Second Harvest distributed 45 million pounds of nutritious food to low-income people in need in every zip code of our service area from Daly City to Gilroy, and from the ocean to the bay.
  • Throughout the fiscal year, volunteers contributed 297,755 hours of service, which saved us more than $5.7 million in equivalent personnel costs.
  • Partner Agencies include shelters, pantries, soup kitchens, children's programs, senior meal sites, and residential programs.
  • For more information on Second Harvest’s great service to our community, visit their website.
A few of us braved the expiration date checking, but most ended up as the “queens” of categorization. We dutifully distributed donations among many categories, including canned protein, vegetables, fruit, bulk items, crushables, and our favorite…miscellaneous! That is where the canned quail eggs and “bread in a can” ended up. Yes, those items really do exist. We made sure to separate out “pop-tops,” which go to homeless people that may not have access to can-openers.

“Sorting the food was really rewarding and surprisingly harder than I thought it would be,” reflected Jen Cooper, DIAD committee member who also organized the volunteer activity. “There were so many special instructions to follow, such as green beans needing to be separated from the kidney, black, and refried beans.”

It was truly impressive to see the volume of food on site, but also sobering when you realize why it is all there and that our area’s homeless and low-income population still need so much more. Kelly Dayton was quoted, “I was also shocked to learn that the food bank serves 250K people a month which is 10% of the two counties but that food need is really 25%.”

It was the second time Nacole Barth-Ellis volunteered at the Food Bank. She keeps coming back because Second Harvest is very organized and she feels her time is valued by the organization - they put her to work! In addition, Nacole was quoted saying, “It’s always inspiring to see so many volunteers helping to feed so many people, and that these volunteers give up their time all year round.”

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