Annual Awards Dinner Celebrates 4.82 Million Meals Raised and Honors Hunger Fighters of the Year
On March 5, Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County hosted one of the organization’s biggest events of the year. The celebratory Annual Awards dinner, held at Hotel Paradox in Santa Cruz, honored citizens whose outstanding efforts helped to make the Annual Holiday Food and Fund Drive the most successful yet. Honorees included businesses, schools and private individuals who raised 4,819,098 meals, exceeding the ambitious goal 4.8 million meals set by the drive’s two co-chairs, John Laird and Megan Martinelli.
The event officially marked the end of John Laird’s 2-year term. Laird passed the baton to new co-chair, Carlos Palacios, County Administrative Officer, who will be chairing the event with Megan Martinelli for the 2020 Holiday Food & Fund Drive.
The 2019 Holiday Food & Fund Drive presenting sponsor Dignity Health Dominican Hospital representative Jerry Souza, accepted the President’s Cup Award and explained the importance of community involvement in fighting hunger and food insecurity in Santa Cruz County and the importance of good nutrition for good health.
In addition to the awards received by those who participated in the Annual Food & Fund Drive, the evening celebrated this year’s Hunger Fighters of the Year. John Steele, food drive coordinator extraordinaire for twelve years running at University of California Santa Cruz, has been a leader in fundraising and food insecurity awareness at the college. The other honoree is Santiago Tehandón, a Second Harvest volunteer for over twelve years, he has served as a Nutrition Ambassador and is currently volunteering at three nutrition education sites, helping organize and distribute fresh produce, interact with the community and promote healthy food. Both Steele and Tehandón have worked hand in hand with the food bank by fighting hunger in Santa Cruz County. Second Harvest was pleased to present these two outstanding individuals.
Santiago has been volunteering with Second Harvest for over 15 years. He began as a volunteer at Don Bosco. He became very involved in the creation of Don Bosco’s pantry program.
As a Nutrition Ambassador, he currently volunteers at three nutrition education sites, helping to organize and distribute fresh produce, interact with the community and promote healthy food.
Santiago’s dedication to helping the community and compassion for people is what makes him a true Hunger Fighter. Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County is pleased to present him with the 2020 Hunger Fighter of the Year Award.
For the past 12 years, John Steele has been leading the charge against hunger at the University of California Santa Cruz.
John has served as Holiday Food & Fund Drive Coordinator bringing in nearly one million meals for people in need. Year-by-year.John and his growing food drive team have been building awareness, spirit and coalitions with raffles, dining hall competitions, and tabling.
Annually John quietly comes into Second Harvest with a bag full of donations from the UCSC Banana Slug Holiday Food and Fund Drive.
We are pleased to presentJohn Steele with the 2020 Hunger Fighter of the Year Award.