SAN JOSE, CA--(Marketwire - Sep 5, 2012) - Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) -- Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties unveiled its new Cypress Center at 4001 North First Street today, which nearly doubles the Food Bank's operating space. The addition of the new building, coupled with a retooled produce distribution model and streamlined operations, will enable Second Harvest to distribute significantly more, and fresher, food to the community.
"The generous 'over-and-above' gifts we received from longtime Food Bank supporters, including the building and funds to renovate it, are helping Second Harvest to significantly improve our efficiency," said Kathy Jackson, CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank. "As one of the few food banks in the country that does not charge for the food we provide, we have to work smarter to address the still-growing need, while offsetting challenges like rising food prices. Our new dedicated distribution model is reducing the number of food 'touches', increasing inventory turns, and getting food out into the community faster."
Cypress Semiconductor donated the 75,000-square-foot building and surrounding five acres, with an estimated value of $9 million, to Second Harvest in April 2011. After a major renovation of what was once a research and development facility for Cypress, the Food Bank opened its doors at Cypress Center in April of this year. Second Harvest will also continue to operate out of its two other facilities -- on Curtner Avenue in San Jose and Bing Street in San Carlos.
"With its central location on North First, the new facility will also allow us to broaden our connection with the community by actively engaging volunteers from our many corporate neighbors, as well as developing volunteer opportunities for families with children," Jackson said.
A $10 million capital campaign, including a $2 million donation from Cisco, funded the cost of the Cypress Center renovation, and will fund improvements at the Food Bank's other facilities as well as critical IT, fleet, and equipment needs. A $1 million bequest from the late Ashawna Hailey, a noted Silicon Valley innovator and philanthropist, provided both the "capstone contribution" to the capital campaign as well as additional funds to inspire future planned gifts to Second Harvest Food Bank.
During the grand opening, Second Harvest unveiled a large donor wall in its volunteer reception area that lists the Food Bank's key supporters. The reception area sits just off the main lobby and provides a welcoming place for volunteers, who are an integral part of the Food Bank. Last year, volunteers contributed 300,000 hours to Second Harvest, valued at $5.9 million.
Rooms have been named in honor of some major contributors, including the 10,000-square-foot Cisco Volunteer Room located next to the volunteer reception area. It is the main room where volunteers sort the food that is distributed to people in need. Two smaller sort rooms totaling about 6,000 square feet have been named the Applied Materials Volunteer Room and the SanDisk Volunteer Room. The Charmaine and Dan Warmenhoven Volunteer Break Room is located near the sort rooms to make it convenient for volunteers. Next to the break room is the Pond Family Conference Room, the largest meeting room at Cypress Center.
The new Cypress Center has plenty of cold storage to keep produce fresh, including an 8,000-square-foot walk-in cooler and a 2,000-square-foot freezer. The nine loading docks more than double Second Harvest's loading capacity, adding to the six docks at Curtner Center and two docks at Bing Center.
The new facility and operational changes are expected to increase Second Harvest's capacity by more than 50 percent over the next four years, from 46 million pounds of food to more than 69 million pounds of food distributed annually. The additional space and optimized processes have allowed the Food Bank to increase fresh produce to more than 50 percent of its total food distribution.
"The increase in the amount of fresh produce Second Harvest distributes is consistent with our focus on nutrition," Jackson said. "We have evolved far beyond providing just the rice, beans, and other shelf-stable commodities that previously filled our warehouse shelves. The Food Bank is determined to scale our operations, improve the nutritional content, and drive down the cost per pound of food we distribute, increasing our overall impact in the community."
The changes to Second Harvest's operations have improved what was already an extremely effective and efficient organization. For the sixth year in a row, Second Harvest has received Charity Navigator's four-star rating, placing it in the top 3 percent of nonprofits nationwide.
The Food Bank has seen a nearly 50 percent increase in the number of people it serves since the recession started. Second Harvest provides food to nearly 250,000 people each month -- that's one in 10 people in the two-county region. Even in the face of an improving economy, demand for Food Bank services continues to grow.
Anyone who is struggling to put food on the table should call Second Harvest Food Bank's Food Connection hotline at 800-984-3663. To support the Food Bank, visit www.SHFB.org or call 866-234-3663.
Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties is the trusted leader dedicated to ending local hunger. Since its inception in 1974, Second Harvest has become one of the largest food banks in the nation, providing food to an average of nearly one quarter of a million people each month. The Food Bank mobilizes individuals, companies and community partners to connect people to the nutritious food they need. Nearly half of the food distributed is fresh produce. Second Harvest also plays a leading role in promoting federal nutrition programs and educating families on how to make healthier food choices. Visit www.SHFB.org to get involved.
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