Second Harvest Food Bank Of Santa Cruz And San Benito Counties
Founded in 1972, Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Cruz and San Benito Counties educates and involves individuals to end hunger and alleviate malnutrition in their communities. Second Harvest began by distributing food from a parking lot in Santa Cruz to groups operating the Breakfast For Kids programs. Today, Second Harvest distributes 6.5 million pounds of food per year to local hungry families, children, individuals and seniors in their community through 180 agencies and programs. Their core values of compassion, service, involvement, empowerment, accountability, and advocacy govern their relationships with each other and with the community at large, ensuring that they stay true to their mission everyday.
Why We Support Second Harvest Food Bank:
- It is as simple as this: Second Harvest Food Bank can help more people, using the same amount of money, than other organizations or individuals. They can provide 4 meals for every $1 donated, due to their extensive relationships with farmers, retailers, food bank networks, and dedicated volunteers.
- SHFB sources over 8 million pounds of food each year from farms, grocery stores, food manufacturers, distributors, and individuals. They distribute this food to 100 food pantries, schools, soup kitchens, group homes, and youth centers… plus another 100 Second Harvest program sites!
- More than 60% of the food they distribute is fresh produce, making SHFB the Healthiest Food Bank in the nation.
- SHFB reaches over 85,000 people each month since COVID hit. Typically, these are children, seniors, veterans, homeless, working poor, and others who need some help from their neighbors to make it through a tough time.
Volunteer Frequently Asked Questions
CAN CHILDREN VOLUNTEER?For our warehouse food sorts and food distributions, children ages 13+ may volunteer with a parent present. Due to safety regulations, we cannot accommodate volunteers under the age of 13.
THE VOLUNTEER SHIFT I WANT TO ATTEND SAYS FULL or 0 SPOTS OPEN, CAN I STILL COME?No, everyone must register ahead of time we do not accept walk-ins. If the event is full, please select another date, or add to the waitlist.
HOW DO I REGISTER FOR A VOLUNTEER SHIFT AS AN INDIVIDUAL?If you are a first-time volunteer, you will be asked to create a login and password when you sign up for your first shift on our volunteer registration system. Please be sure to store your login information for future use. Once registered and logged in, select your shift, and a confirmation email will be sent back to you. For returning volunteers, simply log in, select a shift, and you will receive a confirmation email.
We have created a helpful video to walk you through the process, which you can watch here: here: Volunteer Sign Up Process
HOW DO I REGISTER MY GROUP TO VOLUNTEER?If you would like to bring a group, please contact the Volunteer Program Manager at or at 831-232-8141. You can also fill out the request form with this link Group Volunteer Request Form Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz .
MY PRINTER IS NOT WORKING, CAN I SIGN FORMS WHEN I ARRIVE?Yes, if youre having trouble printing the consent forms or waivers, you can fill them out on-site, provided you are 18 and over.
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Community Welcomes New Second Harvest Food Bank Ceo
WATSONVILLE More than 60 community members gathered Thursday night in Watsonville to meet the newest leader in the fight against hunger in Santa Cruz County.
Erica Padilla-Chavez assumed the role of CEO for Second Harvest Food Bank in July and received a warm welcome at its Watsonville facility from family, friends and other Watsonville leaders eager to see her succeed.
This food bank is so beloved by the Santa Cruz County community, Padilla-Chavez told the Sentinel on Thursday. I think thats why its successful its a community endeavor, its a labor of love.
Padilla-Chavez, who grew up in the region and graduated from Watsonville High School, has been vocal about the fact that her family volunteered at and, at times, depended on the very food bank that she is now leading. She credits that experience, and her parents, for instilling in her an enduring sense of service that has guided her career trajectory.
It feels like Ive come home, she said.
Before her work as Second Harvest CEO began, Padilla-Chavez spent more than seven years serving South County youth as CEO of Pajaro Valley Prevention and Student Assistance. She said that background has informed a holistic approach to solving food insecurity that she is already working to apply in her new role.
Hurst also took the opportunity to honor Second Harvests former CEO Willy Elliott-McCrea who served the organization for more than 40 years and retired earlier this year.
Why We Do It:
As you can read in the UCSC Blum Center report, Santa Cruz County: “Experiences of food insecurity … have been found to negatively impact health and well-being, child development, and academic performance. … Second Harvest Food Bank and its network of nonprofit and community partners … play an invaluable role in alleviating food insecurity in Santa Cruz County and must be fully supported.“
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Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County
- EIN: 77-0326685
- Food Banks, Food Pantries
- Nonprofit Tax Code Designation: 501 Defined as: Organizations for any of the following purposes: religious, educational, charitable, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, fostering national or international amateur sports competition , or the prevention of cruelty to children or animals.
- Donations to this organization are tax deductible.
- More Resources:
- Get notifications:
At Second Harvest Food Bank Our Mission Is To Inspire And Support Santa Cruz County To Provide Nourishment For All Community Members
We strive to continually improve processes and protocols to support inclusive and equitable practices and decision making at all organization levels.
We share our wealth with our partners the stronger they are, the stronger we are.
We work towards talking less and listening more.
We believe in the inherent dignity of all people.
Only with adequate food and nutrition can children learn, adults work, and our community thrive.
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Guest View: Feeding Hope And Nourishing Community
By Erica Padilla-Chavez, Cindy Larive and Susan True
Shelly and Marty Hernandez go big on their annual Holiday Open House. Shelly, who has a passion for cooking, starts prepping weeks ahead. Over the years, the Hernandez open house has raised tens of thousands of meals for the community because its also a benefit for Second Harvest Food Banks Holiday Food & Fund Drive. The Hernandez family encourages guests to bring in both food and monetary donations along with their holiday spirit. I want to feed people in my home and throughout the community, says Shelly.
This year, the Hernandezs efforts are even more appreciated as the reality of inflation hits our wallets every time we go to the grocery store. Many local people and families who were already working hard to recover from the health and economic challenges of the pandemic, are continuing to struggle to make ends meet, especially with the rising cost of food.
This year, UCSC and the Community Foundation are proud to team up to lead the effort to raise enough money to serve five million meals. During the Holiday Food & Fund Drive, businesses, organizations, religious institutions, schools, and even neighborhoods band together to form teams. Shelly and Marty, for example, are part of the team at Twin Lakes Church.
We hope you can join us in feeding hope in Santa Cruz County, as we nourish our community, together.
Planned Giving Through Freewill
Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County offers a service to create or update your legal will. Its 100% free to you and your support ensures that no person in our community struggles to find where their next meal will come from. For more information, .
Fill out the Stock Donation Form or contact for more information.
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If this organization has filed an amended return, it may not be reflected in the data below. Duplicated download links may be due to resubmissions or amendments to an organization’s original return.
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Second Harvest Food Bank Ceo To Retire
WATSONVILLEWilly Elliott-McCrea, who has led Second Harvest Food Bank for more than three decades, will retire in July 2022, the food bank announced Thursday.
McCrea started as a driver for the center in 1978 and was promoted to director 10 years later. Under his tenure, the food bank expanded services fourfold and added a giant warehouse and massive refrigerated storage spaces.
It also expanded its services to thousands of people who need help feeding their families.
McCrea led the food bank through the aftermath of the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake when Second Harvest saw a sixfold increase in people seeking food. The food bank has also helped people in the aftermath of other disasters such as the CZU Lightning Complex fires.
Since the start of the pandemic, Second Harvest has seen the need in the community double.
was just one of the many natural disasters to strike our community, which also included floods, fires and a global pandemic, food bank spokeswoman Suzanne Willis said. Willy was able to use his knowledge and experience to help the residents of Santa Cruz County.
Under his leadership, Willis said, Second Harvest consistently ranked in the top 2% of healthiest food banks in the U.S., with more than 60% of food distributed being fresh fruits and vegetables.
McCrea was Founding President of the California Association of Food Banks from 1995-98 and shaped the future of California Food Banks, Willis said.
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Did You Know
Many of our nutrition distribution sites we would offer cooking demonstrations and nutrition classes? Those have been on hold since March when we really began understanding the full nature of this pandemic.
However, our Nutrition team has been working behind the scenes to reimagine what these cooking and nutrition classes can look like. Visit our Check out the video below to learn how to make a holiday-appropriate, healthy pumpkin pie in this month’s cooking demonstration.
What We Do:
We uplift and support the work of the Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Cruz by:
- Each winter, we organize and run the UCSC contribution to SHFB’s Holiday Food & Fund Drive, raising tens of thousands of dollars.
- All year round, we have service volunteers who are willing to come into your department to:
- Educate about the food needs of the UCSC community.
- Facilitate a hands-on experience for your team, wherein they will receive a tour of the food distribution center in Watsonville and participate in food preparation or distribution activities.
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