Holiday donations needed

Second Harvest Food Bank

The nonprofit agency that supplies food pantries in South Santa Clara County has reached just half its goal of collecting 13,000 turkeys to help families in need celebrate a traditional Thanksgiving dinner in the their homes.

And with the holiday approaching, residents who do not have the opportunity to celebrate at home can sit down for turkey and fixings at locations in Morgan Hill and Gilroy, offered by local charities and churches.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties needs about 6,500 more donated turkeys to reach their goal.

Uncooked birds can be dropped off at Second Harvest’s Curtner Center facility in San Jose, at 750 Curtner Ave., according to Second Harvest spokeswoman Caitlin Kerk. Turkeys can also be dropped off at the organization’s Bing Center in San Carlos, 1051 Bing Street.

“Turkey is a traditional holiday meal for many local families, so we are depending on the community to help us meet our turkey goal,” said Kathy Jackson, CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank. “We also need monetary donations to help feed our hungry neighbors all year long. Nearly 250,000 people rely on Second Harvest for food every month, and 100,000 of them are kids.”

On Nov. 24, San Francisco 49ers starting safety Antoine Bethea will be at the Second Harvest’s Curtner Center from 10 a.m. to noon to sign autographs and take photos with anyone dropping off a turkey or a financial donation, Kerk added.

Turkeys will be distributed through Second Harvest’s 330 partners at 770 sites in both counties.

In South County, these include the St. Catherine Church Reach Out food pantry, 17400 Peak Ave. in Morgan Hill; and St. Joseph’s Family Center 7950 Church Street in Gilroy. Both these facilities offer monthly grocery baskets to local families that meet specific income requirements.

St. Joseph’s also offers hot meals three days a week.

Thanksgiving dinner will be provided at four locations in South County:

           Morgan Hill United Methodist Church, 17175 Monterey Road, Morgan Hill, 6 to 7 p.m. Nov. 26

           Salvation Army Gilroy, 200 W. Fifth Street, noon Nov. 26

           Gilroy Compassion Center, 8425 Monterey Road, 11 a.m. Nov. 25

           St. Joseph’s Family Center, 11 First Street, Gilroy, noon to 2 p.m. Nov. 27.

Monetary donations are also accepted by Second Harvest, as those contributions can be used to feed the hungry year-round, according to Kerk. Second Harvest launched its Holiday Food and Fund Drive last month with a goal of raising $15 million and 2 million pounds of food.

“This is a critical drive because Second Harvest raises nearly half its annual revenues during the holiday season,” Kerk said.

Last year, the food bank distributed 55 million pounds of food to the community. More than half the food Second Harvest provides is fresh produce. In 2013, Second Harvest distributed nearly 30 million pounds of produce – more than any other food bank in the U.S.

The Curtner Center dock in San Jose is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the week; from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, November 15; from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 22; and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 23.

The Bing Center dock in San Carlos is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the week and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 22. The week of Nov. 24 through 28, the dock will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For more information about holiday dock hours or to make a donation, visit SHFB.org or call (866) 234-3663. Anyone in need of food can call Second Harvest’s Food Connection hotline at (800) 984-3663.

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