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  1. My Eagle Scout Project: Growing Vegetables for the Hungry

    by Guest Blogger: Ethan Terry | Comments (0)

    My name is Ethan Terry and I am a Life Boy Scout from Troop 167. I have been in scouting for 9 years now, from 1st grade to 9th grade. When I became a Life Scout I started to think about my Eagle project. I knew I didn't want to build benches or make any signs, although there is nothing wrong with those projects. I wanted to give back to the organizations that assisted me throughout my Scouting career. I spoke to the principal of my school, the pastor of my church, the director of my preschool, and Sam at Second Harvest. Sam had an idea for my project that I was really excited about, to create an organic garden planted with fresh vegetables to help feed the needy.

    I have interacted with Second Harvest all of my Scouting career, collecting non-perishable foods in the Fall, planting seeds of vegetables for the edible field in the Spring, packaging foods and picking oranges in the Summer, so I was very familiar with their programs. The dry and canned foods that the food drives collect are fine, however, fresh nutrients in fruits and raw vegetables are always needed and there never seems to be enough of it for young children and the elderly.

    Ms. Christine Montevideo, the Volunteerism Manager at Second Harvest, was a great help in donating the seeds, trays, and soil to get me started. I decided to grow cabbage and broccoli because they are winter/spring vegetables and they are hardy and don't spoil easily. In addition, they are full of minerals like potassium, manganese, iron, and magnesium which help the body to function more efficiently. They are a good source of Vitamin K and also have phyto-chemical antioxidants to help the body fight off diseases.

    The project took seven months from October 2014 to April 2015. There were three stages - the seed-sprouting stage, the transplanting stage, and the harvesting stage. I enlisted more than 40 volunteers to plant 2,000 seeds which yielded about 1,600 sprouts. We transplanted them into the ground and started to harvest about four months later. There were three harvest dates and the crops all grew at different rates. We yielded a total of 2,424 pounds of vegetables (774 heads of cabbage and 920 crowns of broccoli), which is the equivalent of 2,020 meals.  

    Mr. Glenn Tanaka assisted me greatly by providing me with the land and water to grow the crops for all four months. I could not have done this project without Tanaka Farms. We are in a drought and finding the land and adequate water to nourish these plants would have been very difficult without his help. To grow an organic garden means using no pesticides or chemicals. Mr. Tanaka assisted me in using natural processes to grow my crops. There were uncontrollable factors such as weather, contaminants, and pests to deal with, but we grew quite a lot of vegetables with his expert help.

    Thanks to partners such as Second Harvest Food Bank, Tanaka Farms, Troop and Pack 167, we worked as a community to help end hunger. The project has been challenging at times, but extremely rewarding and very educational. If you haven't eaten cabbages and broccoli from the field, you have not lived. They are sweet and very fresh and I'm glad I was able to grow them for the hungry.

  2. Food Assistance

    by Emily Doyle | Comments (0)

    Last week, one of our member agencies received a thank you letter from a client who receives food provided by our Food Bank.  The church passed along this letter to share the gratitude, and to illustrate the impact that food availability has made on his family's lives:

    Re: Food Assistance

    To whom it may concern,

    My wife, children, and I greatly appreciate all the help and assistance our church has offered in providing food and groceries for our family.

    I am a disabled military veteran and unable to provide for my family like I had hoped to.  We are on a fixed income, recovering from being homeless 1 week short of 5 years.  Being in an apartment is such a blessing from what we had to endure. 

    It’s been approximately 1 year and a half.  Although my wife and I do not have a bedroom, and sleep in the living room, we feel very blessed knowing our children each have a bedroom of their own. 

                    Our son and our daughter certainly deserve a room to their selves, but at times feel guilty of our arrangement.  Believe it or not, we all have health problems; my wife is also disabled and our kids have many health concerns. 

                    Knowing we always seem to run out of food and groceries by the middle of each month tears my wife and me up.  Thank God for the church pantry.  Month after month the Pastor has allowed us to go to your warehouse or he many times has come to us and given us groceries. God bless you all.

    The Ryan Family

  3. Newport Church’s Food Distribution

    by Emily Doyle | Comments (1)

    As an intern at Second Harvest Food Bank, I learned about the thousands of people that go hungry in Orange County.  While this fact impacted me, it was a statistic. I encountered people from the hundreds of agencies involved in distributing food across Orange County, but never had a chance to see the faces that were in need of this food.  Last week, I was hired as the Special Events and Public Relations Coordinator for Second Harvest and was lucky enough to finally attend an agencies food distribution.

    As I pulled up to Monte Vista Elementary School, I noticed a large truck with the word “FOOD” publicized on its side.  The agency that was doing this particular food distribution was Newport Church.  Newport Church has been passing out food at Monte Vista Elementary for only 5 weeks, and already, they serve about 140 families per week. Their very first week brought about 102 families. With such a great need in the area, it’s not surprising the agency chose to work with Monte Vista. After having worked with the school in the past, passing out holiday gifts to children for a few years, Newport Church chose the site to host its weekly food distribution. The principal of the school was on board from the beginning. Before the first distribution, she says she advertised it to about 300 families.
    Newport Church uses a “client-choice” style of food distribution, which can be challenging, especially to newer agencies. I asked Graham Bronzyck and Kaipo Ruiz how they plan and select food for their distribution. Graham said, the first week, all they knew was that the principal had advertised to 300 families, and so he and Kaipo just “guesstimated” how much food that would be. Graham also said how working with a place like Second Harvest makes it easier, because everything is in one location. They don’t have to spend the time making relationships with stores and restaurants, the food is already sorted, and it’s of good quality. The fresh produce is also very popular, and to have it available in the quantities Second Harvest does is very helpful.
    The more the all-volunteer staff works with the client base around Monte Vista, the more they get to know them, and their needs. The most popular items are things like canned beans and corn, and Graham tells me whatever food they are unable to distribute, they give to the school to use. The principal came by towards the end of the distribution, and said some families have lined up for food as early as 8:15am.
    I was very fortunate to have encountered Newport Church at my first food distribution. Seeing the enthusiasm on the volunteer’s faces made me appreciate the purpose of these food distributions.  One volunteer described how the food distributions have impacted her. She shared that a 6 year old had given her a hug during the last food distribution and thanked her for giving his mother food, because his mother was happy now.  I am looking forward to attending more food distributions, but I am especially excited to see how Newport Church will affect the community in the future.



    Thank you to Newport Church!

    For more information, visit their website:

  4. Bringing Hope to the Table

    by Kourtnee Kovacs, PR Manager | Comments (1)

    When Barney Kroger began donating loaves of bread to the poor each week in the early days of his business, Kroger’s long history of fighting hunger in the communities it serves was born. Since 2006, Kroger & Ralphs have raised significant funds through their Bringing Hope to the Table annual in store campaign, bringing key supplier partners and customers into their efforts.

    Since its launch in 2006, the program has generated $18 million in funds and $7 million in food, all of which goes directly to food banks working in Kroger communities. These funds help food banks purchase new trucks, refrigeration equipment, computers and other resources critical to their mission.

     “Now more than ever, food banks and other hunger organizations are stressed and stretched,” said Donna Giordano, President of Ralphs Supermarkets. “People who have never been in need before have been hurt by the difficult economy and they are struggling to meet their families’ basic food needs.”

    In addition to supporting Second Harvest Food Bank through their annual Bringing Hope to the Table campaign, Ralphs has also been a long time supporter of the Food Bank by donating numerous gifts to support our special events, and by allowing their employees to donate their time in our warehouse or harvesting crops at the Incredible Edible Park.

    Thank you to Ralphs for their continued committed and support of Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County. We truly appreciate their partnership!

    Join the Bringing Hope to the Table Campaign

    Ralphs is also currently accepting cash donations for hunger relief in the collection canisters located at the checkstands in its stores

  5. Junior League of Orange County

    by Kourtnee Kovacs, PR Manager | Comments (1)

    The Jr. League of Orange County has been a partner to Second Harvest and our Backpack program for three years now. They have been a significant financial contributor to our program, helping Second Harvest provide for 2218 backpacks to children in low-income communities, and have helped Second Harvest add a nutrition element to our program. Currently the Jr. League is creating a nutrition component to go with our backpacks to educate children about nutrition.  In addition the Jr. League held a cooking class for our backpack sites earlier in the year, to teach families how to cook nutritionally balanced, health-conscious meals that are packed with flavor.

    About the Junior League of Orange County, California, Inc.

    The Junior League of Orange County, California, Inc., is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.

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