Second Harvest Meals Financial institution CEO Erica Padilla-Chavez evokes the group to assist elevate cash for 4.5 million meals on the launch of the annual Vacation Meals and Fund Drive Friday. (Aric Sleeper/Santa Cruz Sentinel)
APTOS — The Second Harvest Meals Financial institution launched its annual Vacation Meals and Fund Drive at Cabrillo Faculty on a heat and sunny Friday afternoon with speeches from Second Harvest CEO Erica Padilla-Chavez, co-chairs of the fundraiser, supporters and a brief Zumba class to get group members pumped as much as elevate cash for these in want this vacation season.
“The purpose of elevating 4.5 million meals is a really actual purpose,” stated Padilla-Chavez. “We projected we’d see a decline in meals insecurity wants in our county post-pandemic. That’s not what we’re seeing. The ten million kilos of wholesome, nourishing meals that we distribute at over 130 areas all through Santa Cruz County accounts for us feeding 65,000 residents per thirty days with 20,000 of them youngsters.”
Padilla-Chavez spoke to the significance of this yr’s vacation drive in feeding native households and the that means behind the meals financial institution’s new apple-centered brand.
“The apple in hand represents Second Harvest Meals Financial institution’s robust dedication to nourishing our group, however the apple additionally pays homage to a staple that kicked off the produce distribution business in our county,” stated Padilla-Chavez. “Enjoyable reality, the apple began the meals distribution in Santa Cruz County so we’re paying homage to the apple.”
The nonprofit’s annual Vacation Meals and Fund Drive is being co-chaired by Santa Cruz County Superintendent of Faculties Faris Sabbah and Neighborhood Basis CEO Susan True.
“I believe it’s actually essential this yr as a result of up to now years with Covid, starvation has been so seen,” stated True. “However this yr it’s quieter. Individuals are scuffling with rising meals prices, rising lease, and rising transportation prices so the necessity has by no means been greater.”
True talked about that the Second Harvest Meals Financial institution is ready to flip every greenback raised into three meals for these in want and that this yr’s purpose of elevating funds for 4.5 million meals is achievable if everybody pitches in.
“It’s actually highly effective after we all come collectively as a group,” stated True. “We will all ensure that our neighbors don’t go hungry and I believe that’s the ability of this meals drive is that we are able to present three meals for a buck.”
County Superintendent Sabbah spoke to the significance of the fundraiser for youth within the county that want nourishing meals to maintain up on their research.
“Meals insecurity is one thing that actually impacts numerous our households and our youth,” stated Sabbah. “One in 10 college students within the county lives with starvation and we acknowledge that is one thing that could be very actual and has an impression that’s far reaching for college kids and their households.”
Sabbah identified that with 65,000 native residents benefitting from the work of Second Harvest Meals Financial institution it’s a no brainer to assist help their trigger.
“We’re an enormous portion of our group benefiting from this so we need to ensure that now we have sufficient sources and to have the ability to help all of our households,” stated Sabbah.
Santa Cruz Metropolis Supervisor Matt Huffaker, who can also be a member of Second Harvest Meals Financial institution’s board of trustees, proposed a problem to his colleague in South County, Watsonville Metropolis Supervisor René Mendez.
“I do know that our associates with the town of Watsonville are additionally fierce starvation fighters so I wish to suggest a pleasant wager this yr,” stated Huffaker. “If Watsonville raises greater than the town of Santa Cruz, I’ll fortunately take a polar plunge off the top of the Santa Cruz Wharf.”
With the group’s consideration centered on him, Mendez fortunately accepted Huffaker’s problem. He additionally identified the essential position that Second Harvest Meals Financial institution performed in feeding group members throughout the winter flooding and the ability of group partnerships.
“I’m excited to kick this off for our group and work with all of you,” stated Mendez. “At present is one other reminder of the ability of what we are able to accomplish collectively. We’re the meals financial institution.”
For details about fundraising or to donate to Second Harvest Meals Financial institution’s annual Vacation Meals and Fund Drive, go to thefoodbank.org.