Holiday Fund: Food or rent? Nobody should have to choose


Donate now. Gifts to the Almanac's Holiday Fund benefit 10 organizations, including the Second Harvest Food Bank.


Story by Kathy Jackson, CEO, Second Harvest Food Bank.

You may have seen Second Harvest Food Bank's barrels around town featuring a captivating photo of a mother and her son. They are Delfina and Mauricio, our neighbors.

Delfina's husband works full time, but doesn't earn enough to pay the rent and feed their three kids. Like so many others, they must choose between putting food on the table or paying rent. That's the untenable situation too many local families are facing this holiday season.

It's hard to believe that in this center of innovation and wealth, there is so much hunger. The skyrocketing cost of housing is making it difficult for the people we serve. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in San Mateo County is $2,500 a month, a 50-percent increase over the last four years.

Second Harvest provides food to nearly a quarter of a million people each month. The high rent leaves little money left over for food if you don't earn a high wage. It takes more than $82,000 per year for a family of four to pay their bills and put food on the table.

Second Harvest is working to ensure that anyone who needs a healthy meal can get one during the holidays and all year long.

Delfina told us she remembers the first time she brought food from Second Harvest home for her family. They were amazed by the variety of fruits and vegetables, and her children loved the chicken, yogurt, cheese, milk, tuna and eggs. She and her husband "could finally breathe because this was the kind of healthy food they need."

Last year, Second Harvest distributed more than 62 million pounds of food that's the equivalent of nearly 142,500 meals a day. We get food out into the community through a network of nearly 330 nonprofit partners at more than 700 sites up and down the Peninsula. That includes pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, churches, schools and community centers.

Second Harvest needs to raise $15 million this holiday season. It's a critical campaign because the Food Bank raises nearly half our revenues during the holidays.

You can help children, seniors, and families get the healthy food they need by giving to Second Harvest Food Bank. Every dollar you donate provides the equivalent of two nutritious meals.

Visit or call (866) 234-3663 for more information. You can drop off a donation at Second Harvest's Bing Center at 1051 Bing St. in San Carlos.

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