About Us

About Second Harvest

Founded in 1972, Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County was the first food bank in California and is the second oldest in the nation. We began by distributing food from a parking lot in Santa Cruz to groups operating the Breakfast For Kids programs.

Second Harvest works to end hunger and malnutrition by educating and involving the community. Through our network of 200 agencies and programs and their 3,000 volunteers, we distribute over 8.3 million pounds of food annually to working poor families, children, and seniors.

Our mission is end hunger and malnutrition by educating and involving the community. Our vision is to use 95 cents of every dollar for program services while increasing the distribution of healthy foods and nutrition education.

History of Second Harvest

Second Harvest Food Bank was the first food bank in California and the second in the nation. Founded in 1972, Second Harvest began by distributing food from a parking lot in Santa Cruz to groups operating the Breakfast for Kids programs. For over thirty years, Second Harvest has distributed surplus locally grown produce and other food staples to the needy in our community. As we prepare to grow to meet the demands of the community in the next thirty years, we salute those who have helped us remain at the forefront of feeding the hungry for the past thirty years.

The Second Harvest Legacy

1972 The first pounds of food are distributed from old Santa Cruz County Hospital parking lot.
1978 Second Harvest moves to a small packing shed in Watsonville.
1979 The National Second Harvest Network is established. Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Cruz & San Benito Counties is one of the 13 founding board members.
1986 Second Harvest moves into its existing facility in Watsonville.
1989 Second Harvest serves then-record numbers of people in relief efforts due to the devastating Loma Prieta earthquake.
1993 Second Harvest Food bank becomes an independent non-profit organization.
1996 Second Harvest distributes 2.5 million pounds of food to clients in its service area.
2001 Hunger Study spearheaded by Second Harvest finds growing need-and projects a need of 10 million pounds of food yearly by 2015.
2005 Second Harvest launches its Capital Campaign to purchase and renovate the Second Harvest Food Bank in response to the community’s growing need.
2007 Second Harvest celebrates 35 years in operation.

2008 Demand for Second Harvest assistance breaks all previous records as a result of the economic downturn.


Meet the Staff of Second Harvest


Financial and Administrative Background

  • Find how to contact a specific staff member here.
  • Second Harvest has been a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization since 1993.
  • Second Harvest’s audits have been in conformity with generally accepted accounting practices. View our most recent audit letter. Request a full audit document.
  • View our most recent annual report.
  • Go to Guidestar to view our full Form 990.
  • Second Harvest is a member of Feeding America.


Want to Learn More? Take a Tour of Second Harvest Food Bank

Second Harvest Food Bank welcomes visitors of all kinds. We have recently been honored to entertain groups as diverse as local boy scout troops and the Santa Cruz Restaurant Association at our facility.

Whether it is an educational tour for a school group, a visit from a city council member, a tour with a Second Harvest donor, or a member of the public who would like more information about our operations, we welcome you to sign up for a visit.
Email: Brooke Johnson

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