To say they can set up this tent in the dark is not an analogy: it is literally what food bankers Joe Kilar and Michael Berry do with some frequency. Long before many of us are awake, they are unloading boxes, setting up tents, and, at this time of the year, trying to stay warm.
It is Holiday Food Drive Season, when food bankers work with our wonderful supporters at WXII 12 News to harness the good will of our communities and collect much-needed food and funds for our work. Donations make up about three quarters of the total food that Second Harvest distributes across the 18 counties that we serve. The dedicated crew from WXII broadcasts live throughout the day from the drives, helping not only bring in donations, but also raise awareness about just how pervasive hunger is in our communities.
Even though we often do these drives through rain and cold (once or twice, even snow!) there is something about a holiday food drive that makes us all feel warm. Many people share with us the reasons they donate, helping us know that the work that we do is not only providing nourishment, but also hope for communities.
“One gentleman, a Reverend who lost his wife this past July, came to our recent drive in Thomasville and donated three times. He said that his gracious gifts were given in memory of his late wife, because he had known the struggles of hunger as a child,” says Joe. “While he could have easily stopped after his first visit, he said his wife kept telling him to come back and share more. It is wonderful moments like these that make our WXII Food Drives so great.”
Come On Down!
Want to come out and support Second Harvest and our partner network? You can find us as the following locations in this holiday season:
Wednesday, Nov. 22: Food Lion, 13 Cloniger Dr., Thomasville, NC Wednesday, Nov. 29: Food Lion, 1526 N. Bridge St., Elkin, NC Wednesday, Dec. 6: Chick-Fil-A, 328 E Hanes Mill Rd, Winston-Salem, NC Wednesday, Dec. 13: Walmart, 261 Cooper Creek Dr., Mocksville, NC Wednesday, Dec. 20: Chick-Fil-A, 2007 Rockford St, Mt Airy, NC
Where Does the Food Go?
After you drop off your food at a WXII Holiday Food Drive, our team loads it up in the Second Harvest truck to bring back to the food bank. There, it is sorted and inspected by volunteers and repacked for our partners to pick up.
It is our partners who do the on-the-ground work of getting food back out to their communities. We have over 475 community-based partner programs, from food pantries to BackPack programs to senior meals programs to community meal sites. You can check out our full list of partners listed by county here.
This past year, Second Harvest Food Bank provided over 30 million meals (or 36.9 pounds of food) for neighbors in need through our frontline partners, saving our network members more than $62 million dollars in food acquisition costs. Many of our partners are small, volunteer-run operations and simply do not have the staffing or the money to collect all the food they need to do their best work. We hope to take that burden off of them so they can focus on their communities.