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Holiday Food & Fund Drive 2019 Surpasses Fundraising Goal

Community Raises Over 4.8 Million Meals

Second Harvest Food Bank revealed the results of its annual Holiday Food & Fund Drive (HFFD) today with a Facebook Live broadcast from Presenting Sponsor Dignity Health Dominican Hospital. This year the community came together to raise 4,819,098 meals, beating last year’s goal by nearly 2,000 meals.

The ambitious 2019 goal was set by Holiday Food and Fund Drive Co-Chairs, John Laird and Megan Martinelli. They wanted to challenge the community to reach another tremendous goal. Jerry Souza, Director of Cardiovascular Services at Dominican Hospital, said “It’s really about getting all the employees involved” as he encouraged other businesses/organizations to get involved next year.  Richard Tress, Director of Nutrition Services at Dominican Hospital, said that “one of our departments had a bake sale with home-made baked goods and raised $750 (3000 meals). It was simple and great!”

Dominican Hospital itself raised 240,000 meals.  Richard and Jerry said that this was really because of the staff, the doctors, nurses, everyone coming together to combat hunger in their community.  As members of the medical profession they see the direct impact lack of food can make in the lives of their patients. Dr Nan Mickiewicz, President and CEO of Dominican Hospital recognized the hard work her team put in to this year’s Food and Fund Drive, and was thrilled to learn that the campaign made it’s goal of 4.8M meals.

The healthy meals raised by schools, businesses, cities, neighborhood groups, and others in the annual drive will help over 55,000 county residents each month. The Holiday Food and Fund Drive raises the money needed to provide food at no cost to Second Harvest’s 200 partner agencies and food and nutrition distribution programs.

“One Hundred percent of the funds donated through this drive will go directly to distributing healthy food and fresh produce throughout the county”, said Willy Elliott-McCrea, Second Harvest CEO. “Four million, eight hundred and nineteen thousand meals sounds like a lot of food, and it is, but more than one in five residents of Santa Cruz County face hunger. The high cost of living here really stretches the resources of our residents. People are forced to make hard choices between necessities like medicine, housing, and food. So we challenged the community to help more people in need, and they came through.”

“I’m thrilled [with the results]” reports John Laird, HFFD Co-Chair.  He and his co-chair partner, Megan Martinelli took active roles in achieving this year’s results.

“Businesses, neighborhoods, schools, churches and other organizations all worked so hard through the Holiday Food & Fund Drive to raise food for people in need,” Elliott-McCrea added. “It’s fantastic to come together to celebrate what our community was able to accomplish this year. The food raised will help feed families, veterans, children, and seniors all year long. Everyone should have access to healthy food.”

The Holiday Food & Fund Drive campaign will be capped off with Second Harvest’s annual Awards Dinner on March 5, 2020 where many will be honored for their efforts to make this year a success.  For tickets or more information on the dinner visit Phil Gomez (KSBW News) interviews Jerry Souza and Richard Tress (Dignity Health Dominican Hospital) after they revealed that Santa Cruz County raised over 4.8 million meals for people in need during Second Harvest Food Bank’s Holiday Food & Fund Drive 2019 campaign.