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When you think of Silicon Valley, immediately companies like Apple and SAP come to mind. Instinctively it is easy to believe that the areas surrounding them must be really thriving. You’d be surprised to find out that there are thousands of people who have a hard time getting a meal. Luckily there are organizations like the Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. It is one of the largest food banks in the nation currently providing food to more than one quarter of a million people every month.Hunger is something no one should have to experience. Statistics show that the average American eats about 1,996 pounds of food a year, according to NPR. This is literally a ton of food that is consumed by a person every year. This is about the same amount of weight as a full sized polar bear.

As SAP employees , we participate in a yearly tradition called Month of Service where we look for different ways to give back to the community. Myself and a group of 15 other SAP employees helped the Second Harvest food bank with a food sort. A food sort is when you gather a group and they sort food that doesn’t meet the strict standards of supermarkets or vendors. The food is still edible and for one reason or another cannot be sold in market. The food may be missing labels, the cans may be slightly dented, and fruit could be slightly odd sized. Second Harvest helps repurpose food that would have instead gone right into the landfill.

To start our afternoon off, the food bank staff informed us that by volunteering today we would help out a lot of people.

They said that 260,000 people were being helped by Second Harvest alone and out of those 260,000 people, 70% of them are children.

For our food sort we helped by going through cans which were rejected by the manufacturer. The food inside the cans were intact but due to certain defects they could not be sold in the stores. What we did as a group was go through and sort out the good cans from the bad and re-label and package up the items so they can be delivered to needy families.

In the couple of hours we helped to sort and re-label cans, we were able to help process about 4,000 lbs. of food that would help go out toward hungry families in need. For two hours, that is pretty good!

As mentioned earlier in my post, I shared that the average American eats about 1,996 lbs of food a year. If you calculate that out by days in the year, we eat about 5.5lbs of food per day.

1,996lbs / 365 days in a year= 5.46lbs of food a day

4,000lbs from Second Harvest / 5.46lbs consumed a day= about 733 people will get food from those two hours.

It’s pretty amazing to see how much our team was able to accomplish in such a short amount of time. To know that we helped feed about 733 mouths for a day puts a smile on my face.

Second Harvest is always in need for donations and volunteers. Volunteers are one of the ways they help to service the community. In 2016 volunteers contributed over 310,000 hours of service. If you are looking for a way to help out your community, please go and find a local food bank near you. You can also find out more at their website! Go out and make a difference in the community.

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