Holiday Fund: Second Harvest helps feed families despite devastating impact of pandemic | News
Everyone has suffered the dramatic and often devastating effects of the pandemic this year, but many people receiving food from Second Harvest of Silicon Valley have also faced incredible financial hardship and increased levels of food insecurity. . We now serve an average of 450,000 people each month, an 80% increase from pre-pandemic levels, and distribute double the food at twice the cost. Low-wage workers like our clients Ana and Oscar have been hit the hardest by job and income losses and are now experiencing a slow economic recovery.
Before the pandemic, Ana would save small amounts of her husband Oscar’s paychecks to secure their children’s future. However, after Oscar lost her construction job in April 2020, the nearly $ 10,000 Ana had saved in eight years was completely depleted in eight months, used as a lifeline to pay rent. utilities and food.
After immigrating from Mexico, Ana and Oscar hoped their children would have more opportunities than before. Maybe the savings would help pay for school fees for Kimberly, 12, or buy art supplies for Montserrat, 8, who enjoys creating landscape paintings of sunsets. He could also have covered the costs of therapy for Oscar Jr., 7, with autism. Ana calls Oscar Jr. her “special child” who “taught us to overcome any obstacle in our lives.”
Oscar struggled without any income to support his family from April to December 2020. âI had a huge weight on my shoulders but I did not pass it on to my children. I put up with it on my own because I am the head of the family. I couldn’t cry in front of them, âOscar said.
Through distance learning, the family’s one-bedroom apartment has also become a classroom and cafeteria, meaning their children have reliable internet access and provide more meals at home. Faced with these rising costs, the family used their savings to pay rent and then turned to Second Harvest to stock their kitchen with fresh produce, dry goods, meats and eggs. Ana reflected, âThank goodness; It allows us to have access to these (grocery distributions) and to hearts like those who give without receiving anything in returnâ¦ we really didn’t have enough to buy food.