Holocaust Memorial Day 2023

January 27th is Holocaust Memorial Day. That date was chosen because it marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. At this Nazi death camp, and others like it, millions of people of the Jewish faith suffered unspeakable atrocities, including systemic starvation. 

We acknowledge and condemn the traumatic events of the Holocaust. We also have a connection with the Holocaust in another way. Our Food For Thought program, which includes Thea’s Table, continues the legacy of Thea Aschkenase, a Holocaust survivor.

Thea survived many types of abuse at Auschwitz and other death camps, including extreme hunger. In later life, she shared her story with many students, always encouraging them to get involved in anti-hunger work in their communities. Over the years, the level of involvement she inspired ranged from hosting a canned food drive to entire schools taking up her message in a more significant way by creating permanent programs to ensure their students and families had enough nutritious food to eat. 

Inspired by her mother’s anti-hunger work, Thea’s daughter Lea founded a grassroots organization called Food For Thought to help Madison-area public schools run their own food pantries. In addition, Food For Thought ran a program called Thea’s Table, which focused on providing ready-to-eat meals for families experiencing homelessness or other crises. Even if a family was staying in their car and had yet to connect to any other services, they could get food from Thea’s Table that could be prepared without a kitchen. School-based pantries are a great way to support families experiencing hunger because students and families often have trusting relationships with school staff and a means of transportation to and from school. 

Now, the Food For Thought programs are run by Second Harvest Foodbank. To honor the legacy of the woman who inspired them, we also administer the Thea Aschkenase Endowment for Food For Thought. This permanent fund generates resources for our work in schools throughout the region, year after year. Click here if you want to invest in our work in area schools and be part of Thea’s inspiring legacy.

While supporting Thea’s work is an excellent way to honor Holocaust Memorial Day, we would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge that genocides like the Holocaust continue to this day in various parts of the world, like Sudan. And the monsters perpetrating these heinous acts continue to use starvation as one of many tactics to achieve their goal. We encourage you to learn more about past and present genocides through the following links:


January 16, 2023

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a federal holiday observed on the third Monday of January. It celebrates the life and achievements of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the influential American minister and civil rights leader. He is most well-known for his campaigns for racial equality and nonviolence, as well as his many stirring speeches at a time when racial inequality and violent acts were especially widespread in the United States. 

Dr. King was assassinated in 1968. Though he has been gone for over 50 years, his wife (Coretta Scott King, deceased) and four children, personal friends, as well as many others have kept not only his legacy but also his dream alive by continuing his mission. 

Beginning in 1968, many bills were brought forth to recognize Dr. King’s impact with a holiday around the time of his birthday, January 15th. None were successful until President Ronald Reagan finally signed the day into law in 1983, and it was first celebrated as a federal holiday in 1986. All 50 states did not officially recognize Martin Luther King, Jr. Day until the year 2000. 

Congress passed the King Holiday and Service Act of 1994 (sponsored by John Lewis), which amends the National and Community Service Act of 1990 to authorize eligible entities to carry out service opportunities in conjunction with Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday. At the time of its passing, Congress asked Americans of all backgrounds and ages to celebrate Dr. King’s legacy by turning community concerns into action. Dr. King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, said “The Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday celebrates the life and legacy of a man who brought hope and healing to America.” 

At Second Harvest, we will observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, January 16th. Because of the nature of our work in the service of our community, we will still have some staff, volunteers, mobile pantries, and deliveries to our partner agencies on this day. We will be incorporating intentional time with our volunteers around equity and justice by adding 1 hour of guided dialogue and self-reflection. Our staff is encouraged to use this day to reflect, learn, or support others in the spirit of Dr. King’s mission to unify behind a single goal: the pursuit of equal and equitable rights for all.  

For some further resources and online celebrations of the day, please see below: 

Engage year-round on social media:

King Coalition of Dane County

Listen to a recording of one of Dr. King’s most influential speeches 

(I have a Dream, Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C., August 28th, 1963) 


Join a celebration in our area:

Monday, Jan 16, 2023– Official Madison/Dane County MLK Day Observance

Overture Center for the Arts, Madison

(Free to the public)

5:15 pm -7:30 pm


Monday, Jan 16, 2023– Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration

Prairie Pheonix Academy, Sun Prairie

(Free to the public)

3:00 pm – 5:00 pm


Sing! For Martin Luther King!

There are two rehearsals at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, 2019 Fisher Street, Madison. 

(Free to the public)

Tuesday, January 10, 2023 at 7:00 pm

Saturday, January 14, 2023 at 11:00 am

**Performance will be at the Overture Center for the Arts during the Official Madison/Dane County on Monday, Jan 16, 2023, starting at 5:15 pm

Staff Learning:

Justified Anger: Black History For A New Day Course 

Spring 2023, 10 Second Harvest teammates are attending to understand how the African-American experience has shaped the world we all live in, and how allies can find roles supporting racial justice today. Rooting ourselves in our history, and understanding how we got here, will help us move forward together to make a better world and a stronger local community.

Introducing: Community Cooks!

By Kylie Jacobsen

Our Programs Team is excited to announce the official pilot of our new program: Community Cooks. Second Harvest hopes to partner with community members across our 16 counties through the program to support culturally meaningful cooking classes, community events, and demonstrations. It provides an opportunity for folx – particularly those with historically marginalized identities – with a passion for food and cooking, unique skills, and dreams to use their experiences to improve their community.

Community Cooks was inspired by a similar Lussier Community Education Center program and conversations with our Youth & Families program partners. Program staff identifies folx in their communities interested in positive exposure in the culinary sphere and using their passion for cooking to support families facing hunger. These cooks are paid a reasonable fee to show others how to cook through family-style dinners for program participants. When the meal is done, the participants have an increased interest in learning how to cook and understand the importance of sharing meals; and the cook has received the exposure they were looking for.

The program is a direct result of our commitment to centering community voice in the program solutions we offer and our desire to address the root causes of hunger.

Thanks to a collaborative grant proposal with Horizon High School, a few folx from our Programs Team had the opportunity to pilot a version of the program on a much smaller scale this past year. It provided the chance to gather feedback and make adjustments as the pilot unfolded. Midway through the pilot, they had the opportunity to meet Daijah Birchette, who dreams of starting Madison’s first Black woman-owned vegan restaurant. She has since become Second Harvest’s first official community cook and has cooked for several of our youth programs in recent months.

The Programs Team is currently building a database of community cooks to share with our partners and promoting the program to program staff and community members. If you’re a current youth program partner interested in Community Cooks, or a community member wanting to share your passion for cooking, please reach out to Brian Squire, Youth & Family Initiatives Manager.

Learn more about each of our community cooks – more info coming soon!

Daijah Birchette

Vegan cuisine .

NBC15 Share Your Holidays Mike’s Miracle Minute sponsors support matching opportunities throughout the Phone-A-Thon. Call 608-310-4574 or click here to make your donation now.

6:00 AM – Rural Mutual Insurance
6:40 AM – Wollersheim Winery
7:25 AM – Becky, a longtime Madison Schools educator
7:55 AM – Exact Sciences
8:27 AM – Clasen Quality Chocolate
8:57 AM – The Norman Fletchall Team at RBC Wealth Management
9:58 AM – Dental Health Associates of Madison (Gold Campaign Sponsor)
10:26 AM – Burger Night Out
11:00 AM – Temple Beth El
11:20 AM – Upper Iowa University Madison Center
11:58 AM – First Weber Foundation
12:22 PM – Werndli Charitable Trust
12:58 PM – Messiah Lutheran Church Senior Adult Ministry
1:18 PM – JX Gives Back Family Foundation
1:58 PM – Hupy and Abraham, S.C
2:58 PM – L & L Foods, Inc.
4:02 PM – TDS
4:15 PM – OfficeSupply.com
4:40 PM – Chase Bank
5:00 PM – Madison Partners
5:20 PM – Capitol Bank
6:01 PM – Colonel Robert N. Morse Foundation
6:15 PM – Connect Search LLC
6:58 PM – Spherion Staffing
7:44 PM – Navitus Health Solutions
9:00 PM – Dean Health Plan & Medica (Diamond Campaign Sponsors)

9:45 PM – UW Health (Presenting Campaign Sponsor)
10:01 PM – Coldwell Banker Real Estate Group and Pam Widen

Trying New Things at Horizon High School

Katie Sabalones

“Most of us are here because of drugs and mental health,” was the response I got from one student when I asked what brought them to Horizon. Many of the students at this school are teens who have experienced addiction and understand that mental health is critical to recovery and staying sober. At Horizon, they can be in a supported space of learning at their own pace in a small group setting. Various life experiences and creative approaches lead to learning everyday skills.
Through an innovative Second Harvest program, once a week, Second Harvest staff members – Brian and Kylie from Youth and Family Initiatives and Jordyn from Health Programs – go to Horizon to spend time with the Horizon students and help them learn an important life skill – how to cook. One student said,” Most of us already knew how to cut up vegetables, but they show us how to put things together to make it into a meal.”
One of the students I sat with said,”My favorite day was when we made those shrimp tacos, I am not a big fish person, but I loaded mine up with shrimp.” Another student excitedly jumped in, ”My favorite day was when we made burgers and fries from scratch.” Why is this important? Many of the students have a diet consisting of heavily processed and prepackaged foods. The program is getting these kids to try new things and be excited about learning. This experience shows them how to make simple, healthier, and delicious meals. It invites them to explore their own identities through food, teamwork, and creativity.
Admittedly, sometimes there are recipes they don’t love – ”One time we made beet cupcakes, that was SO bad.” To which the rest of the students adamantly agreed. But exploration isn’t always about getting it “just right”, it’s about discovery, creativity, and participation.
When I asked about whether or not they will take these skills with them after high school, they all were quick to respond, “for sure,” “absolutely,” “yes!”

Bob, Teacher at Horizon High School

Horizon has a small team of staff; Bob is one of the main educators of all academic subjects. Many of his students are coming in with difficult backgrounds and high anxiety. Along with our support of the pantry program at the school, our team is helping Horizon with out-of-the-box curriculum solutions. Life Skills is a portion of the day when students are put into situations that allow them to develop knowledge of daily skills, like cooking. Even though Bob focuses largely on academics, he knows it is good for them to just have fun competing for who can make the best pasta from scratch. He laughs about a recent memory when a student who was trying spinach for the first time in their life. With time and the support of enriching programs like ours, he has been able to build trust with his students and has watched them grow emotionally, academically, and socially.

Veterans Day honors the sacrifices of those who have served or who are serving in our armed forces in the United States. This day gives us intentional time to celebrate our veterans, their families, and to remember with gratitude those who gave their lives in the service of our country. It is celebrated on the 11th of November, marking the armistice that ended World War I in 1918. It was declared a national holiday in 1938, and renamed Veterans Day in 1954, in order to be inclusive of veterans of all wars.

The National Veteran’s Day theme for 2022 is honor. The concept of honor in our society is a feeling of high esteem and great respect, acting and living with fairness and integrity. The American flag has long been a symbol of honor for our country. The colors are significant, and each represents something different. Red represents bravery, white purity, and blue perseverance and justice.

For additional details on the flag and its code, click here.

On November 11th, Second Harvest will observe Veteran’s Day. Our staff is encouraged to take this time to reflect and to pay gratitude in some way to members of our armed forces.

For a full history on the day and its intent, click here.

Some local celebrations and activities you may be interested in: 

  • DreamBank presents a conversation with Laura Colbert, award-winning author, and female military member. To register, click here. (Monday, Nov. 7th)
  • The Wisconsin Department of Veteran’s Affairs has its official celebration planned at the Wisconsin State Capitol, click here for details.
  • The Madison Senior Center is holding a celebration, with the Mayor and several Representatives in attendance. View details here.
  • Madison College’s Native American Student Association and Office of Equity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement present their annual Veteran’s Day event here.
  • Virtual Race benefiting DAV (Disabled American Veterans) Charitable Service Trust, which supports physical and psychological rehabilitation programs that provide direct service to ill, injured, or wounded veterans. This can be completed any time in November! Sign up here.
  • Plan a visit to the Wisconsin Veterans Museum: https://wisvetsmuseum.com/plan-your-visit/

If you are a veteran who needs assistance, visit VetsNet to find local resources.

Feed the Need: Metcalfe’s Market Gives Back

We’re excited to announce that for the month of November we’re partnering with Metcalfe’s Market to provide holiday meals to our neighbors facing hunger and give you a discount! Use this coupon to save 5% off your grocery purchases anytime, all month long. And not only will you save – but at the end of the month, Metcalfe’s will donate 5% of all our neighborhood member purchases back to us.

Do you shop at Metcalfe’s Market?? Present this coupon at checkout throughout November to save 5% on groceries, and then Metcalfe’s will donate that 5% to Second Harvest Foodbank. Win-win!

It’s simple! Present this coupon (printed or on your phone) to save 5% on all your purchases in November and Metcalfe’s Market will donate another 5% to Second Harvest Foodbank, up to $1000. You can increase your donation at the register in $5 increments by asking your cashier for a NBC15 Share Your Holidays Scan Card.

Please ‘SHARE’ with friends and family to spread the word.

Join us as we share best practices and tips for recruiting, training, and supporting volunteers. This session was hosted by Cristina Johnson, our Director of Volunteer & Community Engagement, and Maggie Gleason, prior Executive Director at Badger Prairie Needs Network (BPNN).

This session includes methods used by volunteer services professionals, resources for use in your own programs, and an opportunity to engage with your fellow session attendees. Session content will include an introduction to:
– Strategies & resources for volunteer recruitment
– Tips for onboarding new volunteers
– Training considerations specific to food pantries, meal sites, and food distribution programs
– Value of volunteers supervision & stewardship

Monday, October 10, 2022

Indigenous Peoples’ Day honors the past, present, and future of Native Peoples throughout the United States. The holiday recognizes the legacy and impact of colonialism on Native communities and also celebrates the cultures, contributions, and resilience of contemporary Native peoples. It is celebrated on the second Monday of October. More and more cities and states are recognizing Indigenous Peoples’ Day as a counter-holiday to Columbus Day. Wisconsin first did so in 2019.   

The land where Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin is located is the ancestral home of Ho-Chunk Nation, who have called this land Teejob (day-JOPE). 

Hunger impacts every community in the United States, yet Native Americans are more likely to face hunger. Before the pandemic, 1 in 4 Native Americans struggled with hunger — more than twice the rate of white individuals. 

Feeding Wisconsin, the state-wide association of Feeding America food banks, is working with Tribal partners to support programs that increase nutrition security to ensure that all Tribal members have the food that they need and desire, and Tribal food sovereignty by expanding support and capacity of Tribal producers. The Ho-Chunk Nation has partnered with Second Harvest to administer the monthly Tribal Elder Food Box Program, which runs May – December. The average box is 14-16 pounds and contains a combination of protein, produce, and shelf-stable items like white corn, maple syrup, and wild rice. Each box is accompanied by a newsletter containing weekly producer profile spotlights and recipes contributed by Indigenous chefs and home cooks. 

Ho-Chunk Nation has distributed 1,750 boxes to Tribal Elders within 9 communities.  

The September box included the following items from local and Tribal producers: 

Red Cliff Fish -Smoked Whitefish 

Superior Fresh -Frozen Salmon  

WI Pork Association -Ground Pork 

Bodwewadmi Ktegan -Aquaponic Lettuce 

Cattail Organics -Carrots  

We Grow LLC. – Mixed Herbs 

Sterling Farms -Paroli Potatoes 

Bushel and a Peck Apple-Apples  

Seasonal Harvest -Garlic Bulbs 

Red Door Family Farm -Onions 

Naturally Wild-Wild Rice 

On Monday, October 10, Second Harvest will observe Indigenous Peoples’ Day. We encourage staff to use this day to observe, reflect, and learn more about Indigenous People.  

For ideas on how you can observe and celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day, click here 

Social media accounts to follow: 

Some local celebrations you may be interested in are:  

Additional Resources: 

Sites to learn what indigenous land you live on: 

Websites Connecting to our work in food/nutrition security: 

Agency Partner & Programs Learning & Education Sessions

Join us for a how-to session on successfully finding, applying, and reporting for grant funding. This session is hosted by Kate Hephner, Grants Specialist.

We’ll also include an overview and details about:

  • Staying organized
  • Best practices for grant writing and reporting

Follow along with the slide deck.

Second Harvest Foodbank is committed to creating a volunteer community where everyone feels safe and welcomed. We do not tolerate discrimination or harassment based on age, race, gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations. We are committed to cultivating an anti-racist environment for volunteers, staff, and community members. 

What is racism? Racism equals race-based prejudice plus power for example economic or social power. It can be conscious or unconscious and occurs at the individual, institutional and structural levels. (Interpersonal racism: Prejudgment, bias, or discrimination by a White individual toward a person of color.) 

What is discrimination? Unequal treatment of members of various groups, based on conscious or unconscious prejudice, which favors one group over others on differences of race gender, economic class, sexual orientation, physical ability, religion, language, age, national identity, religion, and other categories.  

Anti-racist practices in the volunteer department: 

  1. We welcome everyone and celebrate identity and difference. We practice affirming language. 
  2. We commit regular time to reflect on our actions, practices, and structures. We are intentional about professional learning opportunities to advance equity, diversity, and inclusion both individually and departmentally. 
  3. We focus on the impact of our words and actions, not intent. We believe our BIPOC volunteers, staff, and community members when they say something is racist, and we work to repair harm.
  4. We call out racism when we see it.