Grocery giveaway at SJCC

Volunteers and members of the community present despite wet conditions

Volunteers start breaking down pallets of groceries before community members start arriving.

Video by Juan Cortez / Times Staff

Second Harvest Food Bank and San Jose City College partnered to distribute food to those in need on Friday, Oct. 22.

SJCC staff, faculty and students, as well as people from local businesses, volunteered to give out the food. The event was located inside the E student parking garage because of rain.

Milk, eggs, vegetables, dried pasta, frozen chicken and fruit were some of the items included in the prepared packages.

“I think it’s the best feeling to be able to make a small contribution in any way I can,” said volunteer Tsering Lama, an employee at Cisco. “Many families are facing struggles when it comes to putting food on the table. Worrying about landing a job adds enough pressure, providing something to eat shouldn’t,” Lama said.

Taryn Esperas, who also works at Cisco, said it feels awesome to be a volunteer.

“I try to do it as often as I can,” Esperas said.

Lama and Esperas take the time given to them by their employer to volunteer and serve their community.

“It’s kind of cool to help people out,” said Gabriel Biren, a volunteer at the Mountain View Second Harvest site who was lending a hand for the first time at SJCC on his day off.

COVID-19 has played a role in food insecurity, leaving many people unemployed.

According to California’s Employment Development Department, there were 1,418,800 unemployed Californians in September.

Second Harvest serves about 450,000 families in Silicon Valley, which is an 80% increase from before the pandemic, according to the Second Harvest website.

Among those present during this food bank distribution was Carlos Corona, an SJCC student who serves as vice president of finance for the Associated Student Government.

“It feels great to be here volunteering, helping out the team delivering groceries to those in need,” Corona said.

Second Harvest and SJCC will continue to provide free groceries twice a month to the community throughout the rest of the semester, and the next event will be held on Friday, Nov. 5 at SJCC from 10 a.m. to noon.

Additional food distribution dates are Nov. 19, Dec. 3 and Dec. 17.