Largest U.S. food drive begins

The biggest food drive in the country kicked off Tuesday as Second Harvest Food Bank announced plans to raise more than $5 million and 2 million pounds of food to feed hungry families in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties during the holidays.

Each year, more than 1,800 organizations participate in the food drive to help feed 163,000 low-income people in need, most of which are families with dependent children and senior citizens. Last year, $5.8 million was raised to purchase food for the needy and more than 1.5 million pounds of food was donated.

“For over 30 years, Second Harvest Food Bank has played a critical role in alleviating and dispelling myths about hunger in two of California’s wealthiest areas — Santa Clara and San Mateo counties,” said Chip Huggins, CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank. “Last year’s food drive was incredibly successful. But we believe there is much more we can do, which is why this year’s food drive goal is so aggressive.”

Tuesday’s launch event in San Jose included a discussion about how hunger can be solved in the region, food samples and recipes prepared by Second Harvest’s staff nutritionist Alan Roth and virtual food drive stations.

In attendance at Tuesday’s launch was Scott Myers-Lipton, associate professor at San Jose State University and author of “Social Solutions to Poverty: America’s Struggle to Build a Just Society.”

“There are many issues associated with poverty including, homelessness, lack of health care, educational inequity and hunger. Of all of these, hunger is the most easily solvable,” Myers-Lipton said.

Second Harvest Food Bank of San Mateo and Santa Clara counties is a nonprofit organization. To learn more go to www.2ndharvest.net.

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