Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Food Bank takes home 2008 CalWORKs Community Partner Award

On December 9th, Second Harvest was honored by the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors as the Santa Clara County Social Services CalWORKs Community Partner of the Year at the 2008 Client Achievement Awards. Cindy McCown, Senior Director of Programs and Services, accepted the award from Ken Yeager, Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors District 4.

The partnership between the Food Bank and the County has always been cooperative. When the Welfare Reform Act hit in 1998, it required both agencies to work in a much stronger partnership. Together, they helped ensure food resources were in place before thousands of recipients were bumped off Welfare. To assist with this endeavor, the Food Connection Hotline was created with funding from the County. Not long after, The Safety Net Committee was set up to ensure that local human services organizations would work together to assist those living in poverty. With this history, the relationship between CalWORKs and the Food Bank was a natural one.

CalWORKs provides their clients with tools for a successful career and puts them on the path to self-sufficiency. Many of the clients find themselves both receiving food from and also putting in their volunteer hours at the Food Bank during their transition period.

One of our former volunteers, Pam Keo, was also an award recipient for the outstanding example she set. She is pictured to the left with Kristin Sulpizio, Director of Volunteer Services. There wasn't a dry eye in the house when we heard the story that took her from the brink of destruction to an eloquent, hard-working, caring mother of a rather feisty toddler who took over the stage!

In all, there were 11 client awards handed out, and each had their individual story read by one of the Supervisors. After all the depressing economic news that's been floating around, this was a time of inspiration and hope for the future. Employees and volunteers of Second Harvest get the energy to carry on through difficult times by seeing results like this. We can work together and make a difference—adding possibility and prospect to one real-life story at a time.

Photos by Poppy Pembroke