Second Harvest Food Bank CEO Celebrates Supporters, Urges End to Childhood Hunger


Jed York, CEO of the San Francisco 49ers, and co-chair of the Second Harvest Food Bank 2012-13 holiday drive.

‘Good work! Keep going to end hunger!’, was the general message at Second Harvest Food Bank’s 22nd annual recognition event, this year called the “Make Hunger History Awards”, held Thursday, April 4, at the Computer Museum in Mountain View.

“We may not be able to end poverty, but let me tell you what we can do, we can ensure that every single person in Silicon Valley that needs a meal can get one,” said Second Harvest CEO Kathy Jackson. “We can make hunger history tonight.”

She asked the few hundred of the food bank’s faithful present to “double down” on fundraising this year to end childhood hunger, by doubling cash donations, holding food drives during both the holidays and the summer, or involving more friends and colleagues in drives.

Earlier the crowd was celebrated for raising $12.1 million worth of food and cash from October 2012, to January 2013, during the annual Holiday Food and Fund Drive for the nonprofit that covers Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. The men of the hour on April 4 were co-chairs Dan Campbell, a COO at EMC Corporation, B.J. Jenkins, CEO of Barracuda Networks, and the crowd favorite Jed York, CEO of the San Francisco 49ers, last season’s National Football Conference West champions.

The holiday food drive actually fell $300,000 short of it’s original goal of raising $12.4 million, the equivalent of 600,000 meals, but it was announced at the event that after a March 14 public announcement of the shortfall, locals responded by chipping in an additional $431,000.

In her remarks, Jackson put the size of the local hunger problem in a way people could relate to.


Kathy Jackson, Second Harvest CEO

“We’ve heard this number so much: a quarter of a million people every month get food from the food bank. Let me put that into perspective, you know Jed’s new stadium? We could fill it almost four times over with the number of people we feed each month. That’s a lot of people,” Jackson said, referring to the new 49er’s stadium under construction in Santa Clara. The stadium is slated to seat 68,500 people.

“Local hunger is a big problem, but it is a solvable problem,” she said. She pointed out that Americans waste an estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the country every day.

“With 70 billion pounds of food wasted every year, and 49 million people who struggle with hunger, you don’t have to be a numbers person to know we have enough food to solve this problem,” she said.

One solution she suggested was to make childhood hunger as unacceptable as smoking and drunk driving.

“Here, in one of the wealthiest corners of our country, in one of the wealthiest countries of the world, no one should have to worry about having enough to eat,” she said. “We can decide tonight that childhood hunger is not O.K., that it is unacceptable, that letting kids grow up hungry, here in this valley, is as unimaginable as encouraging those kids to smoke a cigarette or to drive drunk.”

This year’s summer drive will focus on ending childhood hunger, and takes place May 1 through July 1. Jackson said Second Harvest serves approximately 100,000 children each year.

Other highlights of the event:

  • Carl Guardino of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group received the first-ever Hunger Hero Award to a standing ovation from the crowd.

    Pictured left to right: Jed York, Carl Guardino, B.J. Jenkins, and Dan Campbell.

    Guardino, a former Second Harvest board member, helped found the Applied Materials Silicon Valley Turkey Trot eight years ago. Jackson said runners in the race have raised $3 million for local charities, including Second Harvest.

  • A big number of school children and teens were recognized for their efforts. Third grade students at Delphi Academy in Santa Clara were cheered for collecting more than their combined weight in food. Cub Scout Sam Maxwell was recognized for collecting almost two tons of food in the last five years he’s participated. Cole Spina also received an Outstanding Youth Award, an eighth grader who has donated nearly $2,000 to the organization over the years from his own allowance. Young sisters Kaitlyn and Emily Levin received awards as Outstanding Drive Coordinators. Other school groups recognized included the Woodside Priory School, Menlo-Atherton High School, and San Mateo High School.
  • Cypress Semiconductor was recognized for donating a building, Second Harvest’s new Cypress Center, in San Jose.
  • Million Pounds Club members included Cisco, for collecting a total of 50 million pounds over the years, Applied Materials for collecting 25 million, and club newcomer Dell SonicWALL, for reaching the 1 million mark.

Dan Campbell with Outstanding Drive Coordinators and sisters, Kaitlyn and Emily Levin.



Sal Pizarro from the San Jose Mercury News acted as Master of Ceremonies.