As Need Grows in Silicon Valley, Business and Residents Step Up

The new year has arrived, not as a savior from the worst 12 months ever, but like a raging hangover, the aftershocks of a year that went a little too off the rails. Coronavirus cases are skyrocketing, lockdown orders remain tight and in costly Silicon Valley, need for help has reached record levels.

But then the silver lining: businesses and other organizations are donating and partnering with nonprofits to fill in the gaps more than ever.

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. joined the fray in August, when the Chico-based brewery pledged to give $1 million, spread out over a year, to nonprofits across the country. One of those nonprofits is Second Harvest of Silicon Valley, the beer-maker announced recently. As one of the largest food banks in the country, Second Harvest is feeding 500,000 people monthly, double the number compared to pre-pandemic times.

So far, Second Harvest has met the need because of partnerships like the one with Sierra Nevada, Leslie Bacho, CEO of the San Jose-based food bank said.

“We are incredibly grateful to Sierra Nevada for helping us provide groceries, and hopefully some reassurance, to so many people right now,” she said. “With so many people in crisis all at once, particularly the low-wage workers who have been impacted the most by the economic crisis, it’s so important that our neighbors get the nutritious food they need.”

Second Harvest will get $25,000 from Sierra Nevada, which is raising those funds through sales of its new West Coast brew, Dankful IPA.

“We’re using beer to draw attention to the program and nonprofits,” Robin Gregory, Sierra Nevada communications director said. “It’s been so eye-opening to see how many people Second Harvest is feeding and how much increase they've seen in their demand.”

Second Harvest distributes food to families’ doorsteps or at a low-touch drive-through location. More than 90 percent of Second Harvest’s funding comes from donations, ranging from individual or corporate partners, foundations and community groups.

And while Second Harvest receives the majority of its food from packers, growers and manufacturer retailers, it still has to purchase “quite a bit more” to meet the demand of people who have become food insecure during the pandemic, according to Bacho.

She hopes the donors’ generosity continues to flow in following the holidays, which is the food bank's peak season.

“One thing I know is so many families and individuals have had their savings completely wiped out during the pandemic. Many have had to defer their rent,” Bacho said. “It’s going to take a long time for so many in the community to recover from this economic devastation, so we’re going to continue to need increased support to continue to serve food to those who need it most.”

Giving grows

Sierra Nevada isn't the only local organization opening its wallet or delivering acts of service in recent months as the pandemic rages on.

The Sharks Foundation partnered with SAP and donated $34,000 to CityTeam, another $300,000 to Second Harvest and teamed with Citizens Equity First Credit Union (CEFCU) to donate $10,000 to the Alum Rock Counseling Center for its annual gift giveaway.

The 49ers partnered with Second Harvest to provide milk donated by Clover and turkey roasts from the players, coaches and their families. The NFL’s front office staff distributed the Thanksgiving staples, along with Second Harvest’s weekly groceries, to about 700 families.

Safeway and Whole Foods partnered with local broadcast media and produced giving campaigns with donations going to Second Harvest.

CityTeam, alongside Micro Focus and Central Christian Church, delivered thousands of food boxes and toys to needy families in the South Bay on Dec. 18, while San Jose firefighters dropped off a $5,000 check to Second Harvest on Dec. 21.

Donations have come from the art sector, too, as Silicon Valley Open Studios launched a virtual art show and fundraising event to benefit Second Harvest.

Golden Acorn Music, an interactive music enrichment program featuring music educators from a variety of backgrounds, hosted its first-ever virtual holiday concert on Dec. 7, donating all of the proceeds to Second Harvest.

Private fundraising and volunteerism has spiked, too. Bellarmine College Prep, which has partnered with Second Harvest for the past 29 years, raised over $20,000 on its food drive this season, tripling its typical contribution.

In October, Second Harvest faced a volunteer shortage and volunteers from the Church of Latter Day Saints have put in over 10,000 hours at the food bank since the start of the pandemic.

“They are on site four days a week, two shifts a week,” Bacho said. “They’ve been a highly productive and constant source of volunteer support and inspiration.”

Same goes for the San Jose Conservation Corps, who have been volunteering for the last several months sorting food. “They are supplied to us through CARES funding through the city of San Jose,” Bacho said.

But the most grassroots effort to date comes from Harrison Haarlow Porter. The eighth-grader at Valley Christian Middle School started his own cookie company, Crumbs for a Cause, in late October when he learned about the climbing need. Since then, he’s donated $2,175 to Second Harvest.

10 Comments

  1. Of course people do, that’s what people do.

    Once they realize government is a lie, and all they do is lie, and everything is has is stolen.

  2. > As Need Grows in Silicon Valley, Business and Residents Step Up

    “Step up”, meaning to provide free stuff for the foragers.

    “Give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day, teach a man to fish . . . .”

    (Let’s see if progressives know how to finish the thought.)

  3. The money, the food and the love is going to run out.
    What’s next?
    More and more illegal immigrants crashing through our border?
    No jobs, businesses shutting down forever…
    Is civil war on the horizon?
    David S. Wall

  4. The most obvious, robust and equitable public policy remedy to the economic fallout of the COVID-19 crisis is wealth taxes. California’s proportional share of the $112 trillion in U.S. net wealth (assets minus liabilities) estimated at end-2019 (https://www.federalreserve.gov/releases/z1/dataviz/dfa/distribute/table/) is about $13.5 trillion (12% of the total). That’s $13,500,000,000,000.
    In turn, Santa Clara County’s proportional share of this wealth is estimated at about $675 billion, that’s $675,000,000,000, i.e. commensurate with our 2 million residents’ 5% share of the total state population of 40 million. In reality, both California’s share of total national wealth and Santa Clara County’s share of California’s total, are larger than these proportional estimates suggest due to outsized tech, finance and real estate wealth accumulations.

    A very modest 1% tax on $675 billion yields $6.75 billion ($6,750,000,000), equal to about 87% of the $7.8 billion in county fiscal year 2020-2021 anticipated revenues (https://data.sccgov.org/stories/s/9zet-k73q). Such a tax, in other words, would nearly double anticipated county fiscal revenues. Even a 1% tax on just the wealthiest 10% of county households, who the Federal Reserve estimates own about 70% of all household net wealth, would yield $4.72 billion, more than half the anticipated county revenues for 2020-2021. (A modest 2% wealth tax on these households would yield more than 20 percent more than the anticipated $7.8 billion in county revenues.)

    With such resources, the county could generously and robustly respond to the needs of vulnerable households and small businesses with grants and stipends, as well as loans, to protect them during the COVID-19 crisis and to tide them over during the transition out of the crisis and beyond. The advantage of modest wealth taxes are that the living standard impact on the taxed households are so negligible as to be almost imperceptible.

    These households have so much excess income and wealth, there would be nearly no impact on what they consume, particularly because their wealth tends to grow in real terms by an average of 3-5% per year, constantly replenishing itself from returns on the underlying income-producing assets (stocks, bonds, real property, businesses, royalties). Thus, a 1-2% annual wealth tax would not even reduce the growth of wealth accumulated by such households.

    With lopsidedly-distributed income and wealth, the only way to achieve a modicum of fairness and justice in a fiscally responsible manner is to aggressively and progressively tax wealthy elites for purposes of fixing the disasters caused by the social system that is designed by and for the wealthy. Many economists, including the conservative and neoliberal ones at the International Monetary Fund, see no other way around wealth taxes at this crucial time (https://www.businessinsider.com/governments-wealth-taxes-imf-new-source-revenue-coronavirus-economy-consider-2020-4).

    Let’s keep the pressure on our compromised and cowardly elected “leaders” at the city, county, state and national levels until they start thinking, speaking and acting responsibly.

    (For more on the efficacy of wealth taxes, see: https://www.cbpp.org/blog/states-should-tax-wealth-to-respond-to-covid-19; https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/21/opinion/coronavirus-wealth-tax.html; https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/08/how-redesigned-wealth-taxes-could-help-us-weather-the-coronavirus-crisis/; https://www.cnbc.com/2020/09/17/economists-stiglitz-and-piketty-us-needs-a-wealth-tax.html).

  5. > The most obvious, robust and equitable public policy remedy to the economic fallout of the COVID-19 crisis is wealth taxes.

    Dumb idea, if you like civilization.

    “Wealth taxes” will take humanity back to the age of tribal primitivism where tribe members had NO wealth, and the tribal shaman had ALL the wealth.

    But since the business of tribes was consumption, wealth really had no purpose BUT consumption, so that’s what they did with it.

    “Wealth taxes” just increases the power of the nonproductive consuming classes, which increases consumption, destroys wealth, and brings as all back to the era of universal subsistence living.

    Wealth IS civilization. Destruction of wealth is primitivism.

  6. Wealth taxes…

    First, this is just resentment made into law and just as counterproductive.

    Second, capital moves much faster than labor, and labor will literally walk, leaving everything behind, to chase capital. History is stock with examples. Turn on the TV and you will see it in action.

    The only trade off that doesnt suck for the poor is to print money. MMT will devalue the dollar, but it gets things built with borrowed “valuable” dollars to be repaid in less valuable dollars. Just dont bitch when your car is 100k and your house is a million. The rich will win the inflation game as their billions in debt will get eroded by inflation, but you wont have to live, and ultimately leave, New Detroit.

    Declare war on the rich and see how fast your oxygen disappears and your rivers run dry.

  7. Bubble and Kulak–what a team! Taken together they arithmetically yield 2X the fools, while synergetically producing 3X the foolishness. They have little understanding about any reality outside their libertarian mole holes, but what they lack in insight, they make up for in shameless dishonesty.

    As pointed out in a previous commentary (https://www.sanjoseinside.com/opinion/op-ed-follow-the-science-an-open-letter-to-anna-eshoo/#comment-1693826), the top ten happiest peoples in the world (https://worldhappiness.report/ed/2020/social-environments-for-world-happiness/#figure-21-ranking-of-happiness-20172019-part-1), live in countries that feature extensive “socialist” public services, facilities and safety nets. A study cited in that piece noted: “…[W]elfare state generosity exerts a positive and significant impact on life satisfaction…[and] the extensiveness of welfare benefits and degree of labor market regulation had a significant positive association with life satisfaction…[B]oth poor and rich individuals and households benefit from more extensive government…[The] data…demonstrate that the positive link between progressive taxation and global life evaluation is fully mediated by citizens’ satisfaction with public and common goods such as health care, education, and public transportation that the progressive taxation helps to fund” (https://happiness-report.s3.amazonaws.com/2020/WHR20.pdf, p. 132).

    How much taxation are we talking about? On average, the “happy” government tax authorities take in revenues equal to about 40% of total economic output, with Danish authorities taking in revenues equal to 46.3% of GDP–at the upper end–and New Zealand tax collectors taking in 32.3% of GDP–at the lower end. By comparison, governments at local, state and national levels in the U.S. take in about 24.5% of GDP in revenues (https://www.oecd.org/tax/revenue-statistics-united-states.pdf).

    From what I can see, higher levels of taxation produce a whole lot of happiness. The “happy” governments simply take larger shares of income generated in the private economy and spend it on public goods, public services and public welfare. And even the wealthy in those countries are generally content with the outcomes. No sign of hyperinflation, civilizational dysfunction, wealth destruction, capital flight, out migration or subsistence foraging. By comparison, the relative dearth of public amenities in the U.S. yields less happy people and puts on the path to Mad Max outcomes. But it still beats Galt’s Gulch, wouldn’t you say comrades (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlas_Shrugged; https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/02/ libertarian-expat-communities-chile/)?

  8. So… Which of these happiest places have a successful wealth tax? They have been tried and they don’t work.

    If you ask me, I’m down with Universal HC, I’ve lived in two countries that had it, and it is way better. The research argument is bunk as surgery, mostly known pharma, and vaccines are really the only effective medical, which is way overrated in it effectiveness. But the reality is Dems want UHC less than the GOP, and certainly less than I do.

    You want to pay for my kids college? Sure. But a lot of poor people who don’t get value from college or never go are going to pay for my kids to go, and they will get a lot of value from it. That doesn’t seem fair to me, but if you and every one else want to so bad, who am I to stop you? Thanks!

    You want to pull all the troops back, great, so do I. Force projection is an abomination. The Germans and Russian get a long just fine without us. A good Navy and mandatory national guard service just may help us with the obesity problem.

    You want to eminent domain multifamily properties? No problem, just more demand from tenants and less supply of rental stock. No one but the most desperate wants to live in housing projects.

    But your best buddies Biden, Harris, and Pelosi will never let any of that happen, these ideas may just be to libertarian and populist for them.

    What’s even more delicious is even if you got a wealth tax, you would never get anything close to the above. That money would be directed to bloated and spiked pensions, “Monetization of the Homeless” projects, more HSR/BART, and other government grifts.

    You want to open the border, great, I will never have to worry about rent going anything but up. And I need them to work really hard and pay the Social Security because these lazy Americans can’t have enough kids. Thanks!

    All your ideas are impossible due to your own leadership and your examples are not relevant. What’s more, the corrupt way California implements “progressive” ideology ends up making people like me richer and the poor permanently broke. But you are clever in your insults.

  9. Like Facendo Guaio said, what they lack in capabilities, they make up for in dishonesty and delusion.

    Has Fecendo Guaio ever said anything about force projection; eminent domain of multifamily properties; an affinity for Biden, Harris or Pelosi; mentioned open borders; or “leadership” of any kind? No. Kulak cannot accept or forthrightly address evidence or a well-constructed argument based on such evidence. Rather, Kulak must put words in Facendo Guaio’s mouth.

    If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

    If all you have is a libertarian conviction and an inability to perceive reality, everything is a straw man argument.

  10. Mx Trouble

    when one hands leadership billions/trillions of dollars, the wisdom and predicted happiness of such a move must be evaluated in the context of the character of said leadership and considered in path dependent reality it exists in. Whoever controls that money will either be to one party or the other, and both have proven to be corporatist war pigs. If you think giving either party more money will bring happiness, I think you have to prove that they will not do what they have always done with it. None of your citations do that, and I know they don’t without reading them.

    Fact -> This is the leadership, this is what they do with taxes, both sides:

    bomb defenseless poor people
    make excuses for denying healthcare
    waste money on trains to no where and $1M homeless studios,
    jack-up tuition to pay for administration and intersectionality nonsense,
    all but expropriate my property by outlawing rent collection,
    wave desperate workers across the border to lower wages / jack up rent

    You make no arguments in the context of the real world, the one we live in with its path dependencies, you dream of a world that does not exist or would require 100Ms of dead bodies to realize. If you care about human life, then one must make incremental steps, not attempt to realize Trotsky’s dream.

    First, like minded people need to end the wars and return to a defensive mindset. Trump was certainly more of a chance than Biden.

    Second, medicare/caid may suck, but they are the best we’ve got. right now 41% of the worst cases depend on it, if you add 5%/5years of the more healthy cases (note insurance companies covet healthy people as they are profitable) to medicare/caid, there will be a noticeable improvement with not much more cost. Trump gave you a better chance at that as well, as he knows the BS it is to manage HC for employees.

    Third, have cities cut deals with landlords to lock up their buildings in a NNN Lease or Master Lease. Then the city/county/authority can place people however, wherever, for any length of time. The LL gets a monthly NOI that grows annually a few percent, the assets can still be bought and sold, and the city can put poor families in good school districts and homeless away from the triggers that put them back in a hole. This is a no brainer, but cities are adamant on only new construction permanent housing first model and endlessly complaining about white supremacy. There are nefarious reasons for their stubbornness.

    Three easy things that can a large impact. But no, we have to argue about Russia-Russia-Russia, “Domestic Terrorists”, Orange Man Bad, Roman Catholic vs Eastern Orthodox, and fantasize screwing over the rich. If you really went after the rich, the PIT would drop by 50%, so you won’t, you can’t, but you can play them, incentivize them, and cut some off, like the really evil ones that calculate profit off the blood of young Yemenis teenagers.

    You can go back to twitter and Vox now… bye, oh and rents due in a week, better call mom.