It’s Time to Donate Turkeys


second-harvest-food-bank-turkey-donations-thanksgiving-holiday-givingBuying a turkey this weekend for your Thanksgiving table? Pick up one or two more frozen birds to donate to local charities, and while you’re at it, consider buying canned hams, canned soup and other nutritious nonperishable foods to help feed the more than 780,000 children and adults in the San Francisco Bay Area estimated to face hunger on a consistent basis.

Nonprofit organizations throughout the Bay Area are putting out the call for turkeys not only for Thanksgiving, but other holiday meals. On Friday, Nov. 21, officials from Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties announced they were only a little over halfway to their goal of collecting 13,000 turkeys.

Below is a list of agencies collecting turkey and other foods this holiday season. Did we miss one? Tell us in the comments section below.

Bay Area Food Banks

Find the food bank near you by visiting The website represents seven food banks serving 11 Northern California counties. All the food banks are in need of frozen turkeys and other holiday meal staples.

Your donation could even win you a pair of tickets to see the 49ers play the Seattle Seahawks on Thanksgiving Day if you donate frozen turkeys or chickens to Second Harvest by Monday, Nov. 24. 
[Read more…]

Turkeys and Cash In High Demand by Food Banks, Agencies Helping the Poor


second-harvest-food-bank-turkey-donations-thanksgiving-holiday-givingThanksgiving is one week away and sadly local food banks and other agencies helping those in need are short of turkeys and money. Nonprofit officials are putting out the call to the public to donate generously as soon as possible.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported on Wednesday that the San Francisco and Marin Food Banks were short 800 turkeys, and The Alameda County Food Bank was still in need of 4,000 turkeys, hams and chickens. Also on Wednesday, Sacred Heart Community Services sent an email to supporters asking for 3,500 turkeys.

A “Turkey Tally” on the front page of the website for Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties showed the agency only about half way to its goal of collecting 12,000 turkeys, as of late Wednesday afternoon.

[Read more…]

Five Ways to be a Good Neighbor in November


San Jose Veterans Day ParadeThe Halloween decorations are on the discount aisle, and the Christmas decorations are already up and blinking away at many retailers, so it must mean it’s November. Before we hurtle ourselves toward December holidays, let’s take a deep breath and focus on Thanksgiving, a time to be thankful for what’s good in our lives, and share that thankfulness with others by making a difference in our communities.

Every month I suggest five ways to help others and build a stronger community. I hope you will consider trying at least one of these suggestions in November. Follow the links in each item to find out more.

1. Support Our Veterans: Veterans Day is Monday, Nov. 11, and there are numerous events taking place around the Bay Area to honor and support our veterans. One unique way is through “Operation Laughter”, a comedy show on Wednesday, Nov. 6, at the De Anza Hotel in downtown San Jose. The show features two comedians who call themselves “The Joint Chief of Laffs”, and includes cocktails, appetizers, and a raffle. Proceeds go to help the Walking Point Foundation, which helps Iraq and Afghanistan war vets through the expressive and performing arts. Also in San Jose on Sunday, Nov. 10, is the National Veterans Day Run, on the Guadalupe River Trail. Proceeds go to the Folds of Honor Foundation, which helps the spouses and children of soldiers killed or wounded in war. On the actual day itself is the 95th annual Veterans Day Parade in downtown San Jose, starting at 11 a.m. San Francisco’s 94th annual Veterans Day Parade also starts at 11 a.m., at the intersection of Second and Market streets. [Read more…]

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. [Read more…]

Last Chance to Donate to Our Virtual Food Drive


There are just a few days left in the Good Neighbor Stories 2013 Virtual Food Drive for Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Second Harvest Food Drive 2012Counties. You can help feed Silicon Valley families facing the challenge of hunger and food insecurity by donating to our drive today. It’s quick and easy, and for every one dollar donated, Second Harvest is able to provide two healthy meals.

Thanks to our readers who already donated to the drive. Your generosity is greatly appreciated!





Food, Food, Everywhere, and Not a Morsel to Eat; Food Drive Donations Important


Everywhere you turn  on television, the Internet, newspapers, magazines, etc., there is food. How to buy it, cook it, eat it. Competitions to find Second-Harvest-Food-Bank-Santa-Clara-San-Mateo-Counties-Good-Neighbor-Stories-Virtual-Food-Drivethe best people to cook it or bake it. And at the holidays it only seems to amplify, with an endless array of special foods to enjoy, or on which to splurge and indulge.

And yet for an estimated 700,000 people in the San Francisco Area each month, food—especially healthy food—is limited, and often by the end of the month, nonexistent. In one of the richest metropolitan areas in the country, 700,000 people—just under the population of San Mateo County—are hungry, and even starving.

That’s why those of us who have enough food, and in many cases, so much food that we’re throwing it away, need to chip in and help our neighbors who do not have enough.

If you are so inclined to help others facing hunger this holiday season, it is very, very easy to donate food or money. Nearly every supermarket has a food bank barrel near entrances. Buy some extra cans or boxes and drop them in the barrel on your way out.

Donating online is also simple. Good Neighbor Stories is sponsoring a virtual food drive for Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties, with a goal of raising $1,500 by Jan. 1. You can click on the link right now and give a special holiday gift for a local family. It does not have to be a large gift; any size donation is gratefully accepted.

This year we’re offering a special gift for anyone that donates $100 or more: a free copy of the Good Neighbor Stories 2013 Datebook! Just send us a soft copy of your donation receipt.

Please help us reach our goal, and help local families and individuals be a little less hungry and food insecure at the holidays and into the New Year. Thank you!



We’re Kicking Off Our Second Annual Virtual Food Drive!


I’m proud to announce that for the second year in a row, Good Neighbor Stories is hosting a virtual food drive for Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. Last year we raised almost $1,400 to feed local hungry families and individuals, exceeding our $1,000 goal. This year the goal is to raise $1,500 between now and Jan. 1, 2013.

Second Harvest officials estimate that they help one person out of every 10 in Silicon Valley. The organization does an efficient job of helping those hungry people: for every $1 donated, officials estimate that two meals are provided.

The efficiency extends to the online donation process, which was streamlined considerably this year. Last year’s process was a little more cumbersome, but Second Harvest apparently listened to input and made necessary improvements to the system.

To donate to the Good Neighbor Stories Virtual Food Drive, go to our donor page and fill out the form. The whole thing takes only a minute or two. Any amount is greatly appreciated, and will make a difference in the lives of local hungry families.

This year I’m offering an incentive to the first 10 people willing to donate $100 or more to the virtual food drive. Email me a copy of your receipt, and in return I’ll send you a thank you gift of the Good Neighbor Stories 2013 Datebook, free of charge. You’ll feel good about helping others, and all throughout next year using the datebook.

Please consider making a donation today. Thank you!

La Mesa Verde Gardeners Growing Community


Debbie Cullati Meza

Like a flourishing vine extending outward, Debbie Cullati Meza’s tender loving care for two raised beds full of delicious and healthy vegetables goes beyond her back yard into her surrounding San Jose neighborhood.

Meza, a.k.a. the “Urban Garden Diva”, is a volunteer for La Mesa Verde, an urban gardening program at Sacred Heart Community Services, located in the Washington-Alma area. When she signed up to plant and tend the beds in her own yard, she jumped in to help grow the program for the entire neighborhood.

She writes a blog at, chronicling her experience tending the beds in her yard, has a Facebook page, and helps La Mesa Verde Program Manager Malin Ramirez in numerous other ways.

“It’s been incredible,” Meza said.  “This gardening has been a really important way for me to reconnect with people and for healing…it’s therapeutic and satisfying, plus now I’ve connected with a bunch of people.”

On Spring Planting Day back in April, after Meza received all the materials to create her new garden, she volunteered herself and her husband and son to help with more deliveries. They dropped off supplies and met with 14 other families that same day.

After a successful season with her own beds, she was excited for Fall Planting Day on Saturday, Sept. 29. And just as she had in spring, Meza was busy volunteering again, this time in the kitchen at Sacred Heart’s headquarters making coffee for more than 100 people.

The festive event included planting demonstrations in English and Spanish, testimonials from participants, and a time for families to pick up seedlings of broccoli, lettuce, peas, and other cool season crops to take home to their backyard gardens. [Read more…]

Stamp Out Hunger: Send More Than Mail on Saturday


Mail carriers will be picking up and delivering more than mail this Saturday, May 12, as part of the  Stamp Out Hunger food drive, the largest single-day effort to combat hunger in America.

Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, the 20-year-old program is also the largest single-day food drive for local food banks, according to officials at Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. The drive comes just as food banks are gearing up to feed area children through the summer who will lose access to subsidized school lunches.

Anyone can participate by leaving a sturdy bag of non-perishable food by their mailbox before the mail is delivered on Saturday. Food bank officials say items like peanut butter, pasta, rice, low-sugar cereal, and canned foods such as tuna, meat, stew, soup, and vegetables are needed the most. Mail carriers will deliver the food to local food banks. [Read more…]

Our First Virtual Food Drive Is A Smashing Success!


Thank you to everyone who donated to our first virtual food drive for Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties! Together we raised $1,390.90 in less than one month, nearly $400 more than our original goal!

Second Harvest calculates that each dollar provides two meals, which means we provided more than 2,700 meals for hungry people in the Silicon Valley! Although our virtual food drive is over, the holiday food drive continues through Jan. 20, and of course donations are needed year-round.

Holiday Food Drive