Second Harvest Food Bank

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The Second Harvest Food Bank has been responding to hunger crisis in Nashville for over three decades. The non-profit organization has a nationwide network of food banks which is used to provide to the needy.  John Hengel was the first person to develop the idea of food banking in the late 1960s in Phoenix (Feeding America, 2018). He was a retired businessman volunteering at a soup kitchen which was trying to find food to serve the hungry. As Hengel was working one day, he came across a desperate mother who was looking for food for her children in grocery store garbage bins. She suggested to Hengel that instead of throwing away food, the discarded one should be stored at a specific place where individuals in need would pick. She likened this idea to what banks do to money for future use. It was this suggestion that set the fundamentals for the second harvest food bank.

Vengel began by establishing St. Mary's Food Bank in Phoenix, and it was the first one of its kind in America. In the first year, Vengel together with his team of volunteers distributes 275,000 pounds of food to the needy people (Feeding America, 2018). The success of St. Mary’s food bank spread across states and this inspired food banks across 18 cities in America. As the food banks were increasing, Vengel created a national organization for food banks in 1979 when he established the Second Harvest. In 2008, the organization changed its name to Feeding America to enable it to reflect better the mission of the network.

Feeding America has become the largest domestic hunger-relief organization in the U.S. it has a powerful and efficient network of 200 food banks across the United States in cities such as Irvine, Southern Louisiana, Spokane, Jacksonville and North Central Ohio amongst others (Feeding America, 2018). The network feeds over 46 million people in the United States who are at risk of hunger. Feeding America has adequately dealt with the issue of food insecurity as the rates keep getting higher by the day due to climate change which leads to frequent disasters such as droughts and floods.

The Mission Statement and Services Provided

            The Second Harvest Food Bank’s mission is to provide food for the hungry individuals in America through a nationwide network of member food banks (Second Harvest Food Bank, 2018). The organization also aims at engaging America in the fight against hunger. The organization strives to fulfil its mission because it is a program that serves almost every community in America. Moreover, the organization helps not only the children but also adults by providing over 4 billion meals every year. When families receive food provision, they are empowered to live more stable and secure lives.

            In addition to food donation programs, Second Harvest Food Group also engages in other services. One of its primary focus is leading the way in hunger research. The organization is continuously involved in identifying strategies that can be adopted to ensure food safety such as the use of Genetically Modified Foods and improved farming methods. Second Harvest Food Group is also involved in educating the Americans on the importance of adopting healthy eating habits. The organization indicates that there is at least one member with high blood pressure in 58% of the households they serve. Around 33% of the families also have a member who has diabetes (Hager, 2017). Since these families also struggle to meet other basic needs such as education and medical care, Second Harvest Food Group has found the need to educate them on the need to opt for healthier foods as compared to junk which disposes them to lifestyle-related illnesses. 

Total Annual Budget

            The primary goal for Second Harvest Food Group is to provide more food each year than what is offered in the previous year. The annual budget for the organization in 2017 was $2765.8 which would help to provide food to over 46 million citizens across America (Feeding America, 2018). The budget allocated $129 to help the organization acquire net assets that would boost the balance sheet of the organization to ensure sustenance of future operations. The budget is used for purposes such as capacity building, research and nutrition, sourcing for fresh produce and other foodstuffs and child hunger programs. The organization prides itself in utilizing 98% of its budget for benefitting the needy people.

Sources of Funds

            Second Harvest Food Group gets funds from both individuals and business enterprises. There are many options which donors can choose from when funding the organization. Online opportunities where random visitors to the organization’s website can donate as little as $1 is a common source of money (Second Harvest Food Bank, 2018). Other sources include planned giving which may be on a daily or monthly basis. Memorial gifts are also offered by individuals in remembrance and honor of special people in their lives. Different workplaces are also involved in funding the organization where both employees and employers choose different methods of donation such as payroll deductions. Individuals also use gift catalogs provided by Second Harvest Food Group to donate nourishing foodstuff to the organizations. The use of offline giving through mails, phone transfer and the use of financial securities is also a source of funds adopted by the organization. Lastly, individual giving through food drives is common. Food drives in Nashville often have two options which include traditional foods and fundraising for the local food bank (Feeding America, 2018). 

Corporate partnership is also a significant source of funding that supports the operations of Second Harvest Food Group. Companies such as Subway, Joy in Childhood Foundations, US Foods and Albertsons Companies are involved in sourcing and distributing foodstuff. Others such as eBay, Cheeky and Circle by Virgin support the campaigns and promotions that are conducted to raise awareness of hunger and source for financial aid to assist the needy. The government and affiliated organizations such as the General Post Office and the Military also offer donations to the organization.

 Methods of Accountability

            Second Harvest Food Group provides its annual financial reports for the public to view. The annual report usually includes all the funds received from different donors together with a statement of activities to show how the financial resources were utilized. The organization also includes the impact it has made for the Americans in a specific financial year. For further accountability, the organization also submits its annual financial statements to charity organizations' evaluating companies in the US. Charity Navigator, one of the evaluating companies, provided the organization with a four-star rating for financial reporting, accountability and transparency. The Better Business Bureau also recognized the Second Harvest Food Bank as very accountable mainly because of providing truthful materials during disclosures and financial policies.

            Second Harvest Food Group also ensures that it complies with the standards for charity accountability which were set by the BBB Wise Giving Alliance to assist donors to make sound decisions regarding their giving. The measures also aim at fostering public confidence in charitable organizations that solicit contributions from the public (Levinson, Adkins, & Forbes, 2010). According to these standards, Feeding America was found to be accountable as it consistently provides truthful materials in its annual reports. In addition to the board of directors and the executives of the organization, the evaluating companies and the public ensure that Second Harvest Food Group is ethical and accurate in the disbursement of funds.

            Second Harvest Food Group also has a system of independent auditors who cross-check their financial statements. The role of the independent auditors is to provide their opinion on the financial reports and check if they comply with the set auditing standards in the USA. The independent auditing system requires the auditors to make a judgment on the risks of material misstatement in the financial statements, whether by error or fraud. The system also evaluates the internal accounting policies of the organization and the reasonableness of accounting estimates made by the management. Independent auditors also evaluate the presentation of financial statements to the public and other evaluation bodies. 

Governance of the Organization

            The executive team at the main office in Chicago, appoints specific managers to guide operations for particular food banks across the nation. In Nashville, there are particular heads of various departments such as supply chain, research and development, finance, programs and campaigns, human resource, marketing and communications amongst others. The heads of departments are responsible for overseeing the work at the food bank, hiring and firing employees. However, the managers at Nashville are only responsible for implementing policies set at the head office.

            There are five key people in the governance of Second Harvest Food Bank in Nashville. They include the regional sales managers, senior implementation manager, the industry tax manager, the general manager and the business development project manager. The managers are selected on merit by the senior officials in the central office. Interviews are conducted to choose the fit candidates who are then inducted for work at the food bank in Nashville. Managers often hold office for long tenures and only leave their job positions as a disciplinary action for gross misconduct, resignation or retirement at seventy years.

The Use of Social Media

            Second Harvest Food Bank utilizes its presence on different social media platforms (Second Harvest Food Bank, 2018). One of the core ways that the organization utilizes its social media platforms is in marketing its activities. The pages of the organization on social media have adequate stories of success and ways in which they are positively influencing the lives of Americans. The organization also uses social media for online donation. There is a link to their pages which their followers can use to donate any amounts at any time. The organization also advertises its need for donors and also praises some of their significant contributors on their different pages. Second Harvest Food Bank has realized the power of their online presence especially in soliciting funds from their followers and other online well-wishers.


I would like to work for Second Harvest Food Bank in Nashville. I prefer this organization because it is positively impacting the lives of Americans and assisting them to lead happier and more stable lives. Moreover, Second Harvest Food Bank has a good reputation, and the public has high confidence especially in the way it utilizes funds acquired from the public (Levinson, Adkins, & Forbes, 2010). The campaign programs conducted by the organization educating the Americans on the need for healthy feeding and food safety are also improving the living standards of the citizens. I am very passionate about serving humanity and Second Harvest Food Bank will provide me with an excellent opportunity to do so.


Feeding America. (2018). Our History. Retrieved from

Feeding America. (2018). Ways to Give. Retrieved from

Hager, J. (2017, March 2). Connecting Hunger and Nutrition. Retrieved from

Levinson, J., Adkins, F., & Forbes, C. (2010). Guerrilla Marketing for Nonprofits.

Irvine: Entrepreneur Press.

Second Harvest Food Bank. (2018). Learn. Retrieved from

January 19, 2024

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