FAQs

Q. Who is Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin?
A. Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin, a member of Feeding America, is dedicated to ending hunger in southwestern Wisconsin through community partnerships. The Foodbank serves nearly 141,000 people—43 percent are children—who don’t have enough food to sustain active, healthy lives. Through food and financial donations and volunteer support, Second Harvest Foodbank acquires and distributes more than 9.8 million of pounds of food each year to more than 225 partner food pantries, shelters, meal sites and other hunger-relief programs in 16 counties.

 

Q. Where is Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin located?
A. Headquartered in Madison, Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin is conveniently located at 2802 Dairy Drive on the city’s southeast side. It’s near the South Stoughton Rd. (Highway 51) exit off Highway 12/18 (Beltline). Plenty of free parking is available for tours, volunteering and dropping off donations. You can also get to the Foodbank directly on Madison Metro busline 39.

 

Q. Who is Feeding America?
A. Feeding America is the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity that is made up of more than 200 member food banks across the United States including Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin. The Feeding America network supplies food to more than 37 million Americans each year, including 14 million children and three million seniors. For more information, visit www.feedingamerica.org.

 

Q. Do other Feeding America food banks also serve Wisconsin residents?
A. In Wisconsin, several Feeding America member food banks serve different areas of the state to provide food to 573,800 individuals each year.

 

Q. What is a food bank?
A. A food bank such as Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin acquires donated and bulk-purchased food from food manufacturers, growers, processors, grocery retailers and distributors. It stores food in a warehouse, processes food received in bulk into family size portions and makes the food available to partner agencies who directly serve families and individuals facing hunger. A food bank may also take action again hunger through its own hunger-relief programs. For example, Second Harvest Foodbank administers a BackPack ProgramKids Cafe Program and Mobile Pantry Program in partnership with community agencies. The Foodbank also operates a FoodShare Outreach Program to help people apply for food stamps.

 

Q. Who uses Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin?
A. Food pantries, shelters, meal sites and other hunger-relief programs utilize Second Harvest Foodbank to access food to serve people struggling with hunger.

 

Q. Who are the recipients of the food that comes from Second Harvest Foodbank?
A. Charitable, 501c3 hunger-relief agencies that receive food from Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin distribute the food to nearly 141,000 southwestern Wisconsin individuals and families living with hunger who aren’t able to obtain enough food using their own resources to sustain active, healthy lives. Of those, 60,458 are kids, 4,218 are seniors and 75,924 come from households with at least one working adult.

 

Q. What is food insecurity?
A. Food insecurity is the limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe food to sustain an active, healthy life or a limited or uncertain ability to acquire food in socially acceptable ways.

 

Q. What types of people need food assistance?
A. The people who rely on Second Harvest Foodbank’s partner food pantries, shelters, meal sites and other programs are making tough choices—single moms, choosing between paying the utilities or feeding their children; seniors, choosing between life saving medication or buying groceries;  recently laid off workers, choosing between paying the mortgage and feeding their families; low wage earners, choosing between filling the gas tank to get to work and putting food on the table.

 

Q. Do recipients pay for the food?
A. Absolutely not! The people who turn to food pantries, meal sites and shelters for emergency food assistance don’t pay for the food they receive. In fact, Feeding America guidelines prohibit any partner agency from charging for food obtained from Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin. The Foodbank is required to ensure this national policy is followed by all who obtain its food.

 

Q. How does Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin get food?
A. Food manufacturers, growers, processors, grocery retailers and distributors donate millions of pounds of food and other grocery products to Second Harvest Foodbank each year. No food is received from the government. The Foodbank’s fleet of trucks travels throughout 16 southwestern Wisconsin counties to pick-up food from donors. Commercial trucks also haul in donations from food industry donors in the region and across the country that are tapped through Feeding America. Food industry donors make a variety of packaged, canned, perishable and non-perishable foods available to feed community members facing hunger. Grocery retailers participating in the Foodbank’s Food Rescue Program donate a variety of nutritious shelf stable items and perishable foods such as fresh produce, dairy, meat, bakery and frozen products. The Foodbank also receives food through generous individual community donors and groups, businesses and organizations that hold food/fund drives throughout the year. Food/fund drives are an important source of food because they provide a diverse range of healthy foods in high demand at the Foodbank. And to ensure a consistent supply of certain food staples, Second Harvest Foodbank purchases food in large volumes. About 10 percent of Second Harvest’s warehouse is purchased food items.

 

Q. How does Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin distribute food?
A. There are 300 food pantries, shelters, meal sites and other hunger-relief programs that distribute food from Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin. Seventy percent of food distributed by Second Harvest Foodbank is delivered by its fleet of trucks to partner agencies in outlying areas who may lack the personnel or vehicles to acquire food by visiting the warehouse in Madison. The remaining 30 percent of Foodbank-distributed food is picked up by partner agencies from the Madison warehouse.

 

Q. How much food does Second Harvest Foodbank distribute?
A. Second Harvest Foodbank distributes more than 9.8 million pounds of food each year.
 
Q. Does Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin sell food?
A. No. The IRS rule 170 (e)(3) prohibits the Foodbank from selling food that has been donated. IRS rule 170 (e)(3) also prohibits partner agencies from selling food they receive from the Foodbank to individuals facing hunger.

IRS rule 170 (e)(3) does allow food banks to request partner agencies to contribute a shared maintenance fee to share in the cost of soliciting, collecting, storing and distributing food. If you’ve ever shopped by catalog or on-line, you’ve likely paid a shipping and handling fee. That’s what a shared maintenance fee is; it helps defray the expenses associated with transporting and storing such large volumes of food.

The shared maintenance fee ranges from zero to 18 cents per pound. There is no shared maintenance on produce, bakery, baby food, infant formula, ice cream and milk. About 40 percent of the food distributed by the Foodbank to partner agencies has no shared maintenance fee. If a partner agency cannot pay the shared maintenance fee, the Foodbank will work with that organization to address the costs in another way. 
 

Q. From where does Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin get its funding?
A. The majority of funding comes from individuals, corporations, foundations, organizations and community food/fund drives.

 

Q. How does Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin provide three meals for just one dollar?
A. The efficiency of Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin is derived from successful partnerships with major manufacturers, retailers and other partners. It leverages collective buying power through negotiating large-scale donations with local donors and through its national office Feeding America. One dollar providing a day’s worth of meals to a person facing hunger is an incredible feat. Also, 95 cents on every dollar invested in Second Harvest Foodbank goes directly to the organization’s programs that provide food for free to families and individuals struggling with hunger. This calculation is based on audited financial statements. Plus, Second Harvest Foodbank just earned its seventh consecutive Charity Navigator four-star (out of four stars) rating—something only four percent of charities have achieved. The rating demonstrates the Foodbank’s trustworthiness and differentiates it from its non-profit peers.

 

Q. What can I do to help people facing hunger?
A. One of the best ways you can help is by making a financial donation to Second Harvest Foodbank. To donate now, click here. You can also hold a food/fund drive or volunteer to help fight hunger in your community. No one person or organization alone can solve hunger in our state, but working together, we can make a difference!

 

Q. Does Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin offer tours?
A. Second Harvest Foodbank welcomes you or your group to tour its facility and learn more how it fights hunger in southwestern Wisconsin. Contact Tami Lee at 608-216-7204 to schedule a tour.

 

Q: Does Second Harvest Foodbank need volunteers?
A: Volunteers power Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin’s mission. The Foodbank saves annually more than $1.3 million in payroll based on a monthly average of 5,300 hours of volunteer service. This enables the organization to focus its resources on programs that serve families and individuals struggling with hunger.

 

Q: Does Second Harvest Foodbank accept volunteers of all ages?
A: Ending hunger requires all possible helping hands, but some Second Harvest Foodbank volunteer opportunities aren't suited to children and have age requirements. For safety reasons, all Foodbank volunteers must be age 12 or older, depending on the task. Volunteers between the ages of 12-15 require adult supervision.

 

If your child is under age 12, here are some ways to get involved in hunger relief:

  • Organize a food/fund drive for the Foodbank.
  • Participate in an event that benefits the Foodbank.
  • Take a Foodbank tour. Contact Tami Lee at 608-216-7204.
  • Volunteer at a meal site, food pantry or shelter. Call 2-1-1.

 

Q: How do I sign up to volunteer at Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin?
A: To sign up for Second Harvest Foodbank volunteer opportunities for groups or individuals, contact DeNae Gitonga at 608-216-7214. To help ensure space, contact the Foodbank by 12 p.m. at least one weekday before your desired shift.

 

Q. How do I hold a food/fund drive or event for Second Harvest Foodbank?
A. Holding a food/fund drive or event is a fun way to get involved in helping families facing hunger in southwestern Wisconsin. Second Harvest Foodbank’s Partnership Packet will help with the planning of your food/fund drive or fundraiser and share ideas for managing it with little or no Foodbank resources. For immediate questions, contact Anna Nelson at 608-216-7205.

 

Q. How can my charitable hunger-relief program become a Second Harvest Foodbank partner agency?
A. Second Harvest Foodbank welcomes inquiries from non-profit emergency food providers (such as  food pantries, soup kitchens or emergency shelters) and non-emergency food assistance programs (such as adult or child daycares, long-term transitional shelters or afterschool youth programs) in our service area that provides free food to people struggling with hunger. To learn if your organization may be eligible for membership at Second Harvest Foodbank and to download a partner agency membership application, visit Second Harvest Foodbank's Become a Partner Agency webpage. For questions about the application process, contact Linda Lundquist at 608-216-7240.

 

Q. What is the NBC15 Share Your Holidays to eliminate hunger campaign?
A. NBC15 Share Your Holidays to eliminate hunger—southwestern Wisconsin’s largest food/fund drive campaign—has raised more than 22 million meals for families facing hunger served by Second Harvest Foodbank’s partner agencies since its inception in 1996. Spanning six weeks each year, the campaign provides a myriad of fun events and opportunities for corporations, organizations, schools and individuals to raise funds, food and awareness for hunger relief. To learn more about NBC15 Share Your Holidays sponsorships, contact Lisa Gundlach at 608-216-7212. For more information about NBC15 Share Your Holidays food/fund drives, contact Anna Nelson at 608-216-7205.

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