Andrew Scheiner/Daily Journal
Jed York, 49ers CEO and president, and five-time Pro Bowler Guy McIntryre prepared food bags for the needy at the opening celebration of Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo's annual food and fund drive.
Flanked by the heads of the San Francisco 49ers and San Jose-based tech company Brocade, Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties kicked off its annual food and fund drive yesterday with the message that nothing else matters when a person is hungry.
This year’s effort, aiming to raise $11.3 million and 11.6 million pounds of food, officially began with drive co-chairs Mike Klayko, CEO of Brocade, and 49ers CEO and President Jed York on hand. Three-time Super Bowl champion and five-time Pro Bowler Guy McIntyre, an offensive guard from 1984 to 1993, also appeared to encourage both corporations and individuals to give back to the needy of both counties.
"Hunger is unacceptable in this community,” Klayko said.
Food Bank officials said the drive is critical because hunger means not being able to concentrate, learn, work or otherwise get the day. The bank estimates one of every 10 people will receive food from Second Harvest during the holiday season. More telling, one in four people struggle to put food on the table. Every month, the bank feeds approximately 250,000 people in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties — many who may have never thought they’d need help.
Residents are lucky to live in the counties but "even in the heart of the Silicon Valley, which prides itself on collaboration and innovation, hunger has become a serious problem in our surrounding community,” York said.
The number of people fed monthly has jumped 48 percent since 2007 and is expected to continue climbing as unemployment remains high and wages flat. Last year, the food bank provided 35 million meals. More than 40 percent of food distributed is fresh produce.
Second Harvest has met the increasing need but it depends on the generosity of the community, said Second Harvest CEO Kathy Jackson.
Every dollar donated provides two meals, she said.
Second Harvest partners with more than 300 nonprofit agencies to provide food at nearly 650 pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and after-school programs but is always seeking new relationships. While the hungry are fed all year, half the food bank’s revenue is raised during the holiday drive.
To host a food drive or donate, contact Second Harvest at www.sfhb.org or call (866) 234-3663.