Second Harvest Food Bank facing donation crisis


This holiday, Frances Maura is grateful for a simple gift -- food. It means the two grandchildren she is helping to raise will truly celebrate on Christmas.

"That's the main thing, that we have something on the table to eat, and they are able to help us with that and that's a blessing," Maura said.

It is a snapshot of the need. It does not matter what city you are in, what day it is, what service organization. If food is being given away, there is a line.

Economists may call this a recession, but to Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties, it feels more like a depression.

"We're hearing from our partner agencies where they have an adopt-a-family program and families are actually writing on their wish list, 'We want food,'" Second Harvest spokesperson Lynn Crocker said.

The food bank is doing what it can; helping more than 300 agencies feed the hungry.

"That is actually our only source of food to our food pantry, so without them we would actually have absolutely nothing," Stephanie Lout of New Beginnings Church said.

Last month, Second Harvest provided food for 272,000 people -- the highest number in its 35 year history. But with a month left in its goal to raise $10 million and 2 million pounds of food, Second Harvest has collected just over $4 million and one-third of its food goal.

That shortfall is why Penelope Harrington did her own canned food drive at work. The result was 117 pounds of food.

"This is a graduate school that I work for, so they are working adults; some of them brought just one can, if everybody brings just one can we can fill the place up," Harrington said.

It turns out the wishes this holiday are more modest and perhaps more meaningful than ever.

"I like time with my family," 5-year-old Francesca Arias said.

For those who are hungry there is no greater gift this holiday than feeding a family.

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