Q. Who is Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin?
A. Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin began working with local hunger-relief agencies in 16 southwestern Wisconsin counties in 1986. We help end hunger through food distribution to our partner agencies, promotion of outside food assistance programs like FoodShare, and raising awareness of hunger. As southwestern Wisconsin’s largest hunger-relief charity we meet nearly one million requests for service each year. From July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021 Second Harvest, together with our partner agencies and programs, provided 19 million meals. We are one of 200 members of Feeding America, the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity.
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 bus line 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 hundreds of thousands of individuals each year. The counties served by Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin include: Adams, Columbia, Crawford, Dane, Dodge, Grant, Green, Iowa, Jefferson, Juneau, Lafayette, Monroe, Richland, Rock, Sauk, and Vernon.
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.
Q. Who uses Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin?
A. Food pantries, shelters, meal sites, and other hunger-relief programs use 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 individuals and families living with hunger who aren’t able to obtain enough food using their own resources to sustain active, healthy lives. Take a minute to read their stories to understand the face of hunger in southwestern Wisconsin.
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 statistics tell the story of those we serve. 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. Fund & food 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 20 percent of Second Harvest’s warehouse is purchased food items.
Q. What kinds of food does Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin distribute?
A. To best serve our guests, we must approach our mission as providing food not only to end hunger, but also to promote and protect health to give guests the opportunity to pursue physically, financially, and emotionally healthy lives. Healthy food can help to prevent – as well as manage – the chronic illnesses that are highly prevalent in the communities that we serve. Therefore, Second Harvest is increasing our focus beyond the quantity of food distributed to also consider the nutritional quality of the food that we provide and providing education to help our guests make healthy choices. Review our Healthy Food Policy.
Q. How does Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin distribute food?
A. There are over 200 food pantries, shelters, meal sites, and other hunger-relief programs that distribute food from Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin. Food distributed by Second Harvest Foodbank is delivered by its fleet of trucks to partner agencies who may lack the personnel or vehicles to pick up the food from our warehouse in Madison.
Q. How much food does Second Harvest Foodbank distribute?
A. Second Harvest Foodbank distributes more than 22 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 of up to 19 cents per pound to share in the cost of soliciting, collecting, storing, and distributing food. If you’ve ever shopped by catalog or online, 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.
There is no shared maintenance on produce, baby products, dairy products, eggs, and bakery. About 30% 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, 94 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 eleventh consecutive Charity Navigator four-star (out of four stars) rating—something less than one 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. 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 together, we can end hunger!
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 about how it fights hunger in southwestern Wisconsin. Contact Kris Tazelaar at 608-216-7206 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 $1.1 million in payroll based on a monthly average of 42,000 hours of volunteer service. This enables the organization to focus its resources on programs that serve families and individuals struggling with hunger. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, visit our Give Time page.
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 Kris Tazelaar at 608-216-7206.
- 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?
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 Emma Calverly 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 after school 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 our Partner Resources page. For questions about the application process, contact Angel Ehmpke at 608-216-7207.
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 40 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 Karen Gallagher at 608-216-7212. For more information about NBC15 Share Your Holidays food & fund drives, contact Emma Calverly at 608-216-7205.