It takes a village to fight hunger

On the horizon, SCU is working with Second Harvest on a research program, which looks into food waste salvage opportunities to increase food assistance efforts.

Raquel González
Bank of America, Silicon Valley Market President

By Raquel González, Silicon Valley Market President, Bank of America

In communities throughout the country, hunger is often unseen but pervasively felt. It affects too many, and takes collaboration to solve.

Here in Silicon Valley, a network of institutions, organizations and businesses are working together to tackle this problem – more than 62 million pounds of food were distributed by Second Harvest Food Bank to low-income people all across Santa Clara and San Mateo counties just last year, the equivalent of nearly 142,500 meals every single day.

Traditional programs have done a great job, but innovations and key partnerships are needed.

At this year’s Hunger Action Summit, the Food and Agribusiness Institute at Santa Clara University’s Leavey School of Business and Second Harvest released its hunger index. This index provides critical information on how many people are missing meals in each county, and how many of those meals are provided by food assistance organizations, making it possible to identify where throughout Silicon Valley, there is a gap in meeting food needs.

With funding from Bank of America, SCU has also conducted research that has helped Second Harvest meet client nutritional needs, mapping high poverty locations against food assistance distribution sites to better serve areas of highest need. Second Harvest has used this information to guide its operations, including the opening of additional sites where there was a large population of low-income families with no easy access to food assistance.

Both SCU and Second Harvest have been long time partners with Bank of America in Silicon Valley through various grants and volunteer programs. The motivation for each organization is clear – those living paycheck to paycheck and struggling to put food on the table don’t have time to focus on furthering their education or financial stability. Addressing hunger relief and other basic needs is a primary and critical step to overcoming barriers to economic mobility. It’s the roof over one’s head, the food on the table, and the opportunity for gainful employment that are strategic priorities. That’s why Bank of America supports both organizations, and works to connect the dots locally here in Silicon Valley.

On the horizon, SCU is working with Second Harvest on a research program, which looks into food waste salvage opportunities to increase food assistance efforts. Second Harvest receives the majority of its fresh produce supply through a statewide food recovery network However, this misses the opportunity to salvage food discarded on-farm and throughout the wholesale supply chain. To increase its supply of healthy foods to its clients, Second Harvest is working with SCU to look into the potential for salvaging additional surplus food, including directly from farms.

These integrated partnerships are deeply engrained in the community. The focus is on meeting basic needs to open the doors for upward financial, community and economic mobility for all members of our Silicon Valley community. It truly takes a village, and at Bank of America, we are proud to do our part.

5/4/16

 

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