Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin has been serving families and individuals facing hunger since 1986. The timeline below illustrates the milestones and accomplishments on the road to ending hunger in southwestern Wisconsin.



  • A few local business people start meeting regularly over breakfast at Howard Johnson's to discuss food bank concept.    

  • The concept of a food bank to serve agencies in Dane County is presented at the Warehouse Study Committee Meeting, formed by Salvation Army President Keith Moyer.

  • By July, the first board meeting is held. Officers for Southern Wisconsin Regional Foodbank, Inc. were elected: Bob Forbess, president; Kay Anderson, vice president; Kent Carnell, secretary; and Reuben Lorenz, treasurer.

  • Southern Wisconsin Regional Foodbank, Inc. – eventually renamed Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin - is incorporated as a charitable organization.


  • A warehouse opens at 919 Stewart St. in Madison. In the first week, emergency food assistance programs picked up 2,000 pounds of food (compared to 20,000 pounds per day by 2006).

  • Oscar Mayer donates a surplus refrigerated truck – the food bank's first.        

  • By the end of the year, $102,700 in cash and pledges had been raised to support the food bank and 293,915 pounds of food had been distributed to 98 partner agencies in eight counties.


  • We become a United Way participating agency.          


  • Our name changes to Southern Wisconsin Foodbank, Inc.          


  • We distribute more than one million meals in one year.           


  • Our name changes to Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin.

  • William T. Graham donates land in the World Dairy Center valued at $193,500 for a new food bank facility.     



  • Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin begins operations at its new warehouse on Dairy Drive.     
  • 1.5 million pounds of food is distributed to more than 150 member agencies.
  • We affiliate with America's Second Harvest – The Nation's Food Bank Network.

  • In partnership with Mike McKinney and NBC15, NBC15 Share Your Holidays is established to feed those facing hunger during the holiday season. The event raises 46,000 meals in one day, becoming the largest food/fund drive in southwestern Wisconsin. 


  • The Food Fund is created to increase distribution of food to charitable food providers facing financial constraints.     

  • Second Harvest volunteers are the recipients of the JCPenney Golden Rule award.       


  • Direct Delivery is implemented to provide additional food to charitable food providers in seven outlying counties.      

  • Second Harvest, in partnership with UW Extension and Nutrition Education Program, opens the first Kids Cafe at Nehemiah Development Corporation.


  • A new truck, purchased with generous grants from Oscar Mayer Foods, The Cremer Foundation, and The Beloit Foundation, offers adequate cargo space and ensures safe handling of dry, refrigerated, and frozen food items during Direct Delivery and Drop Site runs.

  • We distribute more than 200,000 pounds per month – that's 2.5 million pounds this year to nearly 230 agencies with more than 330 programs.    

  • Our volunteers donate an average of 800 hours per month.         


  • Bob Mohelnitzky becomes our new Executive Director.          


  • Our Direct Delivery program adds three more drop sites convenient for agency pick-ups.       


  • Build a Future to End Hunger Capital Campaign is launched to raise funds for a crucial warehouse expansion to keep up with our growing distribution level. 

  • Our first Mobile Pantry is held at Lincoln School in Madison.         


  • Nearly 4 million pounds of food is distributed to more than 340 hunger relief programs.

  • Second Harvest's first BackPack Program to fight childhood hunger launches in the Evansville School District.     

  • Volunteer hours average 1,000 – 1,200 per month.

  • America's Second Harvest - The Nation's Food Bank Network, with which we are an independent affiliate, commemorates its 25th anniversary.  


  • Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin marks its 20th anniversary.

  • A second BackPack Program is added in the Tomah School District.

  • We acquire more than five million pounds of food to distribute to our neighbors at risk of hunger.      


  • Our Build and Future To End Hunger warehouse expansion campaign is completed. In September, construction ended and our warehouse and office space more than doubled in size.

  • We acquire more than 6.5 million pounds of food for distribution to more than 400 programs in our partnership network.    


  • Volunteer hours average 2,800 per month.           

  • Our national organization America's Second Harvest - The Nation's Food Bank Network changes its name to Feeding America

  • We start a third BackPack Program in the Royale School District in Elroy, south of Tomah.      


  • Dan Stein is welcomed as our new President/CEO.

  • Volunteer hours average 5,100 per month.  

  • Second Harvest launches a FoodShare Outreach Program to assist potentially eligible individuals receive food stamp benefits.   

  • Second Harvest Foodbank's Kids Cafe Program has been in operation for 10 years, and a seventh site opens at East Madison Community Center. 

  • We distribute more than 6.8 million pounds of food through our partner agencies.       


  • NBC15 Share Your Holidays celebrates its 15th anniversary.

  • We start our eighth Kids Cafe at Lussier Community Center.

  • Second Harvest now operates 30 Mobile Pantry Program sites.     

  • We distribute 8.1 million pounds of food to families and individuals struggling with hunger.    


  • Second Harvest Foodbank celebrates its 25th anniversary of fighting hunger.

  • We distribute 8.6 million pounds of food through our partner agencies to community members facing hunger.

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