One in three local kids is bullied by hunger. It happens every day and in every neighborhood, even in wealthy Silicon Valley. Just like facing a menacing bully, these kids never know when hunger will pay them a visit. When it does, they fear it will never leave them alone.
Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties launched its Stand Up for Kids campaign to protect local children from hunger, which can have lifelong consequences. The campaign is co-chaired by Menlo Park resident Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and founder of LeanIn.org, and John Donahoe, president and CEO of eBay Inc. (pictured at food distribution center).
“In an area where this community has so much, there are still so many people – and 100,000 children – who are relying on Second Harvest for food every month,” Sandberg said. “It’s our responsibility to make sure Second Harvest has the resources it needs to provide all of the food for all of these families.”
Donahoe added, “Education is key to our children’s success. But every day, students in Silicon Valley who go hungry during the day are distracted, tired and unable to learn. Let’s make a difference in the lives of Silicon Valley children.”
Studies show that kids who don’t get enough to eat suffer emotional and physical effects that can hamper their ability to do well in school and succeed later in life. They are more likely to experience anxiety and depression, to be unable to concentrate, to be sick more often, and to be overweight more than kids who get three meals a day.
“Hunger can make you feel sick and bad,” said 11-year-old Francene, whose family was struggling to put food on the table before they found Second Harvest. “Like how bullying hurts your heart, hunger hurts your tummy and your heart.”
The campaign aims to ensure that local kids have access to the nutritious food they need to thrive. Second Harvest provides food to 100,000 children every month.
“We need to stand up for these kids,” said Kathy Jackson, CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. “We know a quality education is the key to earning a decent living, but hunger can deprive these kids of a good education. When kids get the nutritious food they need, they are better prepared to learn. They have the energy to pursue their dreams.”
Second Harvest works with its nonprofit partners in communities across Santa Clara and San Mateo counties to ensure that local children get enough to eat. The Food Bank partners with more than 330 nonprofit agencies to provide food at more than 770 sites, including schools, after-school programs, pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters.
Second Harvest is one of only a few food banks in the nation that does not charge its partner agencies for the food it provides, so it relies on the generous support of the community.
The campaign goal is $4 million, which will allow Second Harvest to continue feeding kids today, expand and improve existing programs that feed kids and their families, and invest in pilot programs and new innovative efforts that have the potential to reach more children than ever before.
“We hope the community will join us and stand up for kids,” Jackson said. “There is no need for local kids to go hungry. There is enough food to feed every child, but we need the community’s support.”
To learn more or get involved, visit www.SHFB.org or call 866-234-3663.