November Mission – Fighting Hunger

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SECOND HARVEST FOOD BANK

The face of hunger is all around us, and it is hard to see, especially in affluent areas like Silicon Valley where we live. Millions of Americans don’t know where their next meal is coming from and the fight to end hunger is a long, ongoing, uphill battle.

These are just a few of the many reasons we chose November’s Mission to be focused on “Fighting Hunger” however we can and we chose to work with and support the Second Harvest Food Bank. Take a look at what we will be doing this month and join along however you can. Last year we collected 326 pounds of food and we would love to beat that this year!

ABOUT

Based in Silicon Valley, the Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties is one of the largest food banks in the nation. Currently providing food to more than one-quarter of a million people every month, Second Harvest is a trusted community-based organization that was founded in 1974.

Despite the immense wealth in Silicon Valley, and partly due to the high cost of living, hunger and malnutrition are pervasive. The Food Bank distributes nutritious food, including more fresh produce than any other food bank in the country, through a network of over 320 nonprofit partners at more than 850 sites. Partner agencies include shelters, pantries, soup kitchens, children’s programs, senior meal sites, and residential programs.

In fiscal year 2017 (July 2016 – June 2017), Second Harvest distributed more than one million pounds of nutritious food each week to low-income people in need in every zip code of our service area from South San Francisco to Gilroy, and from the ocean to the bay.

MONTHLY MISSION OUTLINE

  • Collect canned goods. // Most needed items: Meals in a can (soup, stew, chili), Tuna or canned chicken, Peanut butter, Canned foods with pop-top lids, Canned fruit in its own juice or water, Low-sodium canned vegetables, Olive or canola oil, Spices, Low-sugar whole grain cereals, Healthy snacks (granola bars, nuts, dried fruit). Please avoid donating items packaged in glass. If you find glass items in your barrel, please package them in a box outside of your food collection barrel to prevent breakage.
  • Drop off all your collected canned goods. // You can drop off your donation items at The Finding Kindness Project drop-off location: 14685 Oka Road, Los Gatos, CA 95032 OR email us for pick-up. We are happy to come get your donation items for you and drop them off as well. Email us at thefindingkindnessproject@gmail.com.

BUILDING A KINDNESS COOPERATIVE

Examples of how Rachel & Sue will be putting this Monthly Mission into action:

  • If you are local, join us for the group shopping trip at Grocery Outlet afterschool on Wednesday,  November 29th at 1:45. This is a great way for the kids to get hands-on picking out foods, reading labels and handling money. (see here for details).
  • Taking a wagon around our neighborhoods with our kids after school collecting from neighbors.
  • Reaching out to our immediate social circles; i.e. Girl Scout Troop, Gymnastics Gym, School Board, Hockey Team and Book Club
  • Take a peek at our socials throughout the month to see what else we are doing to participate in raising a Kind generation. Use our hashtag, #kindcooperative, to follow along AND tag us so we can see how you are making the world a little more kind.

FISCAL INFORMATION

If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation instead you can do so HERE. Want to know where your money is going? Here is some fiscal information about the Second Harvest Food Bank for your review:

Throughout the fiscal year, volunteers contributed over 310,000 hours of service, which saved them $6.6 million in equivalent personnel costs.

Below are some figures from their 2014-2015 annual report.

  • 96 % of operating expenses go to food distributions and programs
  • 2% to fundraising
  • 2% go to management
  • 60% of Operating Revenue comes straight from individuals like you and me.

If you would like to check out their 2015-2016 annual report in its entirety check out it HERE.

Thank you and see you next month for our next Monthly Mission:

The New and Gently Used Toy Drive!

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LifeMoves Mission Recap

We are already into February of this new year. Time flies! Rachel and I have a goal of recapping each monthly mission once it is completed to show our kids, those who participated and community here what a Kind impact we all had for those in need during each month.

We started our Finding Kindness Project back in December 2016 with our first mission, Fighting Hunger with the Second Harvest Food Bank. However, the holiday season is an extremely busy time of year for food banks and we have yet to hear back regarding actually how much poundage we were able to donate back in December. I can only imagine how busy they must be getting back to everyone and as long as our food was put to good use, we all win.

This past month’s mission was Clothing the Homeless with LifeMoves and I am happy to report, Rachel and I were able to see exactly how far our Kindness stretched this time….

With the thoughtful donations from friends and family, with the help of our children, their classmates and friends and with the hard work of a special Girl Scout Troop, Rachel and I were able to deliver over 50 large black garbage bags FULL of clothing donations, toys, baby supplies, toiletries, household supplies, canned food donations, elderly care supplies, etc. to LifeMoves this past Tuesday.

While we were there for our donation delivery, we were able to take a few minutes and talk to the workers and even some people who will be benefiting from our donations. We met a woman named Adriana who lives and works at LifeMoves and we were able to take a few minutes to introduce ourselves, hear her story about why she is grateful for LifeMoves and how they differ from other shelters around the area. We even had time to share with her what we, as parents, are trying to do with our children with the Finding Kindness Project.

Even though our children were not able to be present during the donation delivery, they were able to be apart of this mission in a very tangible way. They were able to go through all their clothes themselves and decided what and why they wanted to donate certain items, they were the ones sorting all the clothes and organizing them into categories, they were the ones that bagged each item and labeled the bags appropriately, and finally, they were the ones that loaded the bags into our cars for delivery.

Each little step and monthly mission is a brick in the foundation of Kindness in our children and THAT I am very proud of. Keep up the good work friends and below are some pictures from our sorting party and donation delivery. Enjoy! #kindcooperative

 

#kindcooperative Spotlight – Ben Hagler

Last month when we were working with the Second Harvest Food Bank, one person, in particular, kept popping up in my mind, my Uncle Ben Hagler out in Nashville, TN.

He has worked with the Second Harvest Food Bank out in Tennessee for a number of years and I thought it would be such a great idea to talk to him about his experience with the organization and why he chooses to pour his heart and soul into this charity on a regular basis.

Below you will find his personal thoughts, pictures and an interview on his experiences and the phenomenal organization that the Second Harvest Food Bank has grown to be. I hope you enjoy his story as much as we did…

“Hunger is a worldwide problem and lives in all of our communities. It has no boundaries and impact the lives of 1 in 7 Americans. In Tennessee, where I live, 1 in 6 children go to bed hungry every night and more than a million Tennesseans are at risk of hunger everyday.

An organization working for hunger issues I discovered upon moving here several years ago, is the Second Harvest Food Bankof Middle Tennessee.

Operating since 1978, its mission has been to feed hungry people and solve hunger issues in our community by collecting, processing, inspecting and sorting food that would otherwise be wasted. This food is then distributed to local soup kitchens and homeless shelters serving the hungry throughout middle Tennessee.

I began working with Second Harvest Food Bank over four years ago as a volunteer in the warehouse inspecting and sorting food with other volunteers. This was strenuous but satisfying work. 

I later discovered that the range of work the Second Harvest Food Bank was doing was much broader. There was the Culinary Arts Kitchen!

This Culinary Arts Kitchen, championed by a Chef and Sous-Chef and a staff of eager volunteers, were working hard to produce gourmet meals that were being prepared and served two days a week in their restaurant.

Having worked in a similar environment for years in Atlanta with Project Open Hand, preparing meals for people with AIDS and AIDS related illness, a kitchen was the place for me. Plus, at my age, the kitchen was more suited to my ability and energy level than lifting heavy boxes or food in the warehouse.

I soon began working as a volunteer in the Culinary Arts Kitchen. We, in the Culinary Arts Kitchen, buy our own food rather than use donated food and prepare it to be served 2 days a week in our restaurant to people in the community. We also serve gourmet meals to the general public on Wednesdays and Fridays.

The Culinary Arts Kitchen is not a “food line” for the homeless, since that need is taken care of by local soup kitchens and shelters with food the Second Harvest Food Bank provides free. However, in the Culinary Arts Kitchen, our meals are paid for by the customer and all the money goes directly back into the operating funds of the Second Harvest Food Bank.

In addition to the meals served, we also provide food for breakfast and luncheon meetings in the Second Harvest Food Bank facility, as well as off-site catered events such as weddings, banquets and dinners in private homes. 

All paid for by the customer and all going directly back into the operating funds of the Second Harvest Food Bank.

For me, it has been a gratifying experience to work alongside other volunteers once a week for the past 4 years. Plus, under the direction of our professionally trained Chef and Sous-Chef, I am also learning how to cook!

The problem of World Hunger is a problem we as humanity must commit ourselves to solve. It’s only a matter of choosing to shift our time, money and energy towards that end.

We are all in this together.”

 

Thank you SO much Uncle Ben for sharing your story with us. Love you! ~ Sue

 

Second Harvest Food Bank Meetup

 

Yesterday we met with the kids and some of their friends after school at a local grocery store to help the kids focus on what THEY wanted to pick out and contribute to the Second Harvest Food Bank.

It’s fun to set the kids up for success and watch them feel the big part of making decisions on what we will be donating to the organization this month. We passed out lists of what the Second Harvest Food Bank is looking for and set them off!

Once the excitement wore off a bit, it was really great to see the kids in action at the store; checking labels, checking prices, and matching the items to the list we provided.

We managed to get roughly 50-60 pounds of food in this trip alone, which is a big dent in our goal of 750 pounds by the end of December.

Check out some pictures from our fun meetup below and on our IG account at @findingkindnessproject. Tag us in all your acts of Kindness using our hashtag #kindcooperative, we would love to see how you are spreading Kindness where you are!

 

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