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[whitespace] Second Harvest Food Bank helps fill the pantries of those in need

Saratoga--As sure as Thanksgiving and Christmas fill some people's homes with bountiful food, cheerful decorations and fun presents, the winter holidays fill other people's homes--or, in some cases, their shelters--with a reminder that these same amenities are missing from the holiday season.

The Second Harvest Food Bank can help with the most sorely missed of these aspects--food--in a number of ways. Directly and through social service agencies throughout Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, SHFB gathers and distributes food to homeless adults and children, low-income senior citizens who find it difficult to pay for both food and medicine, and low-income families just barely making ends meet.

"There's absolutely as much need for food throughout the year as there is during the holidays," emphasizes Second Harvest Food Bank Director of Communications Jenny Luciano. "We get coverage all the time during the holiday season, but in the off season we have just as many needy families to serve.

"I think being hungry hurts more this time of year because our holidays are centered around food as part of the celebration. There's also a dignity issue there as well," Luciano adds.

Taking away some of that hurt is SHFB's job, and one it's been doing since 1974, when its predecessor, The Food Bank Inc. of Santa Clara County was formed by an organization called Economic and Social Opportunities. The Food Bank incorporated as a nonprofit agency in 1979; in 1988, it merged with a similar nonprofit called the San Mateo Food Bank to become Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. Its main distribution center in Santa Clara County is a 65,000-square-foot warehouse on Almaden Expressway in San Jose.

Many local nonprofit agencies and groups participate in Operation Brown Bag, one of SHFB's community programs. This one provides bags of well-balanced groceries to senior citizens with low incomes or disabilities. Among the distribution sites are Odd Fellows Fellowship Plaza and Sacred Heart Church, both in Saratoga; the Los Gatos Neighborhood Center; the Campbell Community Center and the Campbell United Methodist Church, both in Campbell; Cupertino Union Church and St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Sunnyvale.

Food pantry programs are also available at the Los Gatos Community House of Prayer, Cupertino Community Services and Sunnyvale Community Services, while senior nutrition programs are available through the Willows Senior Nutrition Program in Willow Glen and the Sunnyvale Senior Center. Other food programs are also available in various areas.

The SHFB welcomes donations of time, money, food or services throughout the year. Likewise, it can provide needy individuals and families with contacts for groceries and hot meals throughout the year as well. For more information, call 408.266.8866, or visit www.2ndharvest.net on the Internet.
Shari Kaplan

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Web extra to the November 23-29, 2000 issue of Metro.

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