Second Harvest struggling as food prices rise

Increase in gas prices also hindering operations at Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties

Higher food prices and the rising cost of gas are hindering operations at one of the South Bay's biggest food banks.

Officials at Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, which provides food to nearly 250,000 people per month, say that higher prices for staples such as rice, eggs and peanut butter are forcing them to deliver smaller portions to the soup kitchens, pantries and shelters they supply.

"We've had double-digit increase for several core commodities," director of development and marketing Tami Cardenas said. "We used to buy truckloads of tuna, but we can't buy it at all anymore because it's become so unaffordable."

According to Cardenas, the average price of peanut butter has gone up approximately 57 percent, rice is up 25 percent, eggs are up 24 percent and beans are up 17 percent. The higher costs are hitting the Food Bank at a time when its services are needed the most, Cardenas said.

Since 2007, Second Harvest has seen the number of people it serves each month increase by almost 50 percent. Second Harvest is asking for the public's help in raising money to feed hungry families in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. Cash donations can be made online at, or by calling 866-234-3663.

Cardenas said food donations are also needed to restock Second Harvest's shelves. People wishing to donate eggs, beans, rice, cereal and peanut butter can do so at 750 Curtner Avenue in San Jose, or at 1051 Bing Street in San Carlos.

— Bay City News Service


Like this comment
Posted by jardins
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 8, 2012 at 11:32 am

This news is a good reminder that we shouldn't assume that all's well in this area just because hi-tech is doing well.

I'm very glad that the Weekly has run this notice, and that it supplied a link to make donating online very easy!

Like this comment
Posted by south PA mom
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 8, 2012 at 11:57 am

Thank you, PA Weekly, for this update on Second Harvest. The work they do is so important. I'm writing a check today.

Please join me!!!

Like this comment
Posted by CJ
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 8, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Thanks PA Weekly for sharing this important news. I am going to donate online -- thanks for the link. We should not tolerate hunger in our community. Please readers, every little bit helps so join me in making a donation!

Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 8, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

I agree w/the other posters here - thank you for this! I have seen the good work Second Harvest does in EPA. I've particulalry noticed how well it serves the low income elderly & disabled folks. I've helped pick up & distribute their food to people in EPA & it's a vital part of the care for a good number of people.

I have Cause Fatigue from being hit up by the endless charities, but I never feel that way about Second Harvest or Ecumenical Hunger Program because it helps people in our midst.

Like this comment
Posted by Kevin
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 8, 2012 at 12:13 pm

This is just one example of the real inflation in our economy. The federal official rate suggests that there is no inflation, but that is based on deflated home prices. We all know that it costs a lot more to feed our families, fuel our cars, pay our utilities, etc.

Much of this is self-inflicted, because we refuse to exploit the natural resources that are readily avilable to us, for example natural gas, oil and nuclear power. The emphasis on solar and wind power have led us into an economic miasma. Agriculture is energy intensive, from soil to the family table.

The simplified formula is:

Alternative Energy = Poverty + Hunger

Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 8, 2012 at 12:35 pm

We've already exploited 90 percent of the readily available natural resources and things have just gotten worse. The last 10 percent may help temporarily but what do we do when our population reaches 10 billion and every other species becomes extinct?

The "self-inflicted" part is choosing to live in one of the most expensive regions of the planet. I enjoy living here and can eke out an existence. I could move elsewhere and be insanely rich. But then I'd be wracked with guilt and feel compelled to share my fortune.

Like this comment
Posted by Kevin
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 8, 2012 at 1:07 pm

"We've already exploited 90 percent of the readily available natural resources "

How would you know that? "Readily available" is only relevant to the current technologies. We were running low on natural gas only a few years ago, but now we have so much that it is game-changer. Why? Because new drilling technologies can exploit resources that could not be exploited previously. We have enormous supplies of Uranium. We also have enormous supplies of oil, given the new drilling technologies.

The are much more recent innovation in drilling technologies, in terms of energy production and useage, than there is in solar panels, wind turbines, and battery storage.

We have the capacity to be a vey prosperous nation, yet we fall prey to the alternative energy movement. The luddites of this movement are the ones that are heavily responsbile for the poverty and hunger that this thread talks about.

Like this comment
Posted by Bill Klink
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 8, 2012 at 2:06 pm

Again, in the interest of full disclosure, I'm a former resident of midtown (Stelling Drive).

Please give prayerful consideration to also supporting the Society of St. Vincent de Paul at the Catholic parish in your neighborhood.

As a Vincentian since 1986 here in Phoenix I can assure you the food boxes delivered to any needy family by Vincentians and volunteers throughout the world are well received by the recipients (we do a lot of "recall" work to the same families every month here in Phoenix).

I'm sure the overhead figures are the same up in the Bay Area as here (we run about 94% of all funds/goods received going back as direct aid---6% overhead).

The Diocese of either San Francisco or San Jose can point you in the right direction as far as a "conference" in the nearest Catholic Church to deliver food to (either perishable or canned/dry).

My own spirit of giving was started at First Methodist on Hamilton Avenue with The "Heifer Project" We sold Christmas cards in our neighborhoods (I hit every home on Stelling and David for sure). The money we made went to buy heifers for families in third world nations.

Thanks for all your generosity.

Bill Klink
Phoenix Az
(midtown from 1958-67)

Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 8, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

Bill - thanks for the reminder re St. Vincent de Paul - it's always good to know the local orgs which help so much!

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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