How does a food bank work? And more questions..

COVID-19 update: Need food?

Call 1-800-984-3663.

What is the mission of food banks?

Nobody should ever grow hungry. Silicon Valley Food bank provides nutritious food to more than a quarter if a million kids, families and seniors every months through an expansive network of 310 nonprofit partners at 1000 sites

How does food bank get food?

Donations come from many areas, often the fresh fruit and veg are excess from farmers or seconds that are not good enough to be sold.   Typically the perishables such as milk, eggs and chicken are purchased at deep discount. Do you know anyone who can supply food, contact your local food bank. You can also contact us at and we can help you help connect with your local food bank.

How can one request for food?

They can call 2nd Harvest and will directed to a pick up site or can look at a calendar online to see where they can pick up. You can also contact us at and we can help you help connect with your local food bank.

If you are a senior citizen and need food, how can you get help?

Second Harvest is working on a delivery program at this time, but not yet up and running. However they do many distributions as senior apartment complexes.You can also contact us at and we can help you help connect with your local food bank.

How can you help a homeless person or any other person in need?

Second Harvest make up emergency bags for the homeless that are available for distribution. CAL Works serves a small number of homeless who live in RV’s or on the streets locally.   You are welcome to share any distribution locations with anyone. You can also contact us at and we can help you help connect with your local food bank.

How many volunteers do you have? What are the different volunteering services that are needed?

Volunteer numbers vary week by week depending on the number of distributions. Cypress that is the sort center has groups and individuals 3 times a day and typically it is 50+ in a group.   There is also a sort center in San Mateo.   If you look at the calendar you can see the number of daily distributions and each needs at least 20 volunteers.   We are always need of volunteers especially in the COVID situation, for example afternoon distribution that usually needs 25+ volunteers had sometimes there are only 12 volunteers.

How can students help?

Students can help donate their time at the food bank. Students can also raise funds.

How does a food bank raise funds??

Second Harvest has support of many corporate sponsors. It is always looking for donations.

Donating food to a food bank? Consider cash instead of canned foods

We can turn a donated dollar into more meals

Rather than paying retail prices, network of food banks works with major manufacturers, retailers, and farmers to secure healthy food. This means that when you donate a dollar, you’re able to put more meals on the tables of families than if you donated food you’d purchased at the store.

Donations build healthier communities 

Canned goods and dry food items like pasta and rice are a vital part of our food banks and pantries—but no one can live healthy lives on non-perishable items alone. Feeding people isn’t just about providing food, but about providing healthy food to all of our communities. Food banks work to keep our network food banks and pantries stocked with more fresh fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, and lean proteins. These perishable items can’t be directly donated through food drives but are vital for healthy lives.

Food Banks use funds to combat food waste

Over 72 billion pounds of perfectly good food is wasted every year. By working directly with farmers, food banks help ensure that healthy fruits and vegetables that don’t make it to the grocery store end up on the plates of families in need instead of a landfill. When you support our food rescue program, not only are you making a contribution to families in need but to creating a more sustainable world.

Link for Reference

How much must an individual earn to support their family

How much must an individual earn to support their family? According to it would take more than three full-time jobs, earning minimum wage, to support a three person family in our community.

How can you help?

Volunteer your time and help raise funds. We are currently collecting funds for our food bank. Consider donating as much as you can. $1 person can also make a difference. Donate here.

Summer meal locations

Click here for location map in Santa Clara County. This map shows all locations distributing meals for kids 18 and under throughout the summer in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. At most locations in Santa Clara County, adult meals will also be offered when accompanying a child.

Enter your zip code in the search bar to find locations near you. Click on the colored pins to see the location address and time that meals are served.

School District Meal Sites 2020

Click here for various location sites Meals for Kids 18 and younger in Santa Clara County.

Any more questions?

Call Second Harvest at 1-800-984-3663 weekdays, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Need free groceries or help applying for CalFresh? Find out more.

If you live outside San Mateo or Santa Clara counties, download the California Meals for Kids Mobile App to search your area for meals.

You can always reach us at We are here to help and provide a nutritious meal to anyone who needs one