On Friday, July 29th, we marked a new beginning with the dedication of our recently completed warehouse expansion and upgrade. We were incredibly happy to have so many of our friends, supporters and peers with us on this momentous occasion—the culmination of a project that was ten years in the making. Thank you to everyone! We really could not have done it without you. You can see all the photos from the event here.
Your generous support provided the means to modernize our facility to include highly efficient food sorting and agency distribution areas, solar powered cooler and freezer storage, racks and docks, a new parking lot and more. Our warehouse has grown from 6,000 feet to 36,000. The improvements will enable us to better serve our clients: the 200 agencies and programs that distribute food to more than 50,000 Santa Cruz County residents each month.
A self-guided tour of the warehouse gave guests a chance to see all the improvements, with Second Harvest staff stationed along the route to provide explanations and answer questions. As we always say, this is the best way to truly understand what we do. Even people who were already very familiar with our organization probably learned something new along the way.
Outdoor seating in our new parking lot provided a place for guests to mingle while enjoying delicious barbecue and sides. Although the sun never did quite break through, somehow it still felt warm. Must have had something to do with all the great people and conversation.
Willy Elliott-McCrea, CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County welcomed guests and provided a brief history of the project. It would have been impossible, or at least taken the rest of the day, to name everyone that had a hand in it, but Willy did take a few minutes to acknowledge key participants, including:
• Bob Corbett, who drew up the master plan
• The Packard Foundation, who approved a loan to purchase the property
• Ron Slack, the Chair of the Capital Campaign Committee
• Jeremy Lezin, who helped with our major gifts campaign
• Sheree Storm, Capital Campaign Director
• All the Campaign Volunteers
• USDA Rural Development, who provided a construction loan to finish the final two phases instead of waiting for actual receipt of final capital pledges.
• And the 2,000 that donors pledged over $5M to make the improvements we so desperately needed.
The project came in on time and on budget thanks to Barry Swenson Builders and Project Manager, Ram Tipton. We could not be happier with the quality of work provided by Ram and his team.
We’d also like to thank our guest speakers, including Dominican Hospital Director of Community Relations Martina O’Sullivan, County Office of Education Superintendent Michael Watkins, and Plantronics Sr. VP of Human Relations Pat Wadors. Thank you for your thoughtful comments and the work that you do in our community.
We all know there are plenty of problems in the world, but we also know, that like us, you are driven by solutions. With your continued support, we can provide the next generation with healthy food and the opportunity to develop healthy bodies and healthy minds in a culture of compassion and leadership.
Special thanks to:
Plantronics for sending us awesome volunteers, staff and interns
SHFB staff, board, committee members and AmeriCorps volunteers
Whole Foods – donated food
Watsonville Coast Produce – donated produce for giveaway bags
Alexis Party Rental – tables/decor
M&M Party Rental – tent
Lift Line – shuttles and drivers
First Alarm Security – parking lot security