SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — Although Wednesday’s official Turkey Tally is showing progress at 6,402 collected turkeys, officials at the Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties admit they are far from their goal of receiving 12,000 turkeys in just over a week.

With Thanksgiving just eight days away, Tami Cardenas, vice president of development and marketing, is making a plea to residents and businesses alike: Please donate!

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“The inventory at the food bank is lower than it is normally at this time of year,” Cardenas said. “It’s concerning because the shelves at Second Harvest are getting a little bare. We’re hoping that people will come out and donate turkeys and give financial contributions to keep our shelves stocked.”

This year’s turkey goal of 12,000 is the same as last year’s Thanksgiving drive, Cardenas said, however, the need is a bit different this time around.

Surprisingly, when compared to last year, a more promising economy is actually hurting the perceptions of the hungry in the region, Cardenas confessed. She said in the past during the recession people were more aware of the need, yielding big donations.

“With the improving economy, people don’t realize that that doesn’t translate into jobs for the people we serve. Folks are feeling that people aren’t hungry any more when in fact we are seeing more in need now than we did the year before, and that is surprising to us,” she said.

Since Second Harvest’s inception in 1974, it has become one of the largest food banks in the nation, providing food to more than a quarter of a million people each month. To ensure its ability to feed so many hungry mouths, the organization partners with more than 330 nonprofit agencies to provide food at nearly 775 sites throughout Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.

Second Harvest is unique to other food banks in that it does not charge its partners for the food it provides, Cardenas said, thus ensuring local soup kitchens and food pantries can accomplish their own goals of fundraising and helping clients without the financial worry of how to pay for the food it serves and distributes.

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Last year, the food bank distributed more than 52 million pounds of food to the community. One in 10 people throughout Santa Clara and San Mateo counties rely on food from Second Harvest Food Bank and 90,000 of them are children, according to Cardenas.

This month its turkeys, and next month the focus for Second Harvest will be on its seasonal Holiday Food and Fund Drive. But year round, Cardenas said, it attempts to continue to fund-raise and food raise, as the people it serves depend on food donations annually.

“The people we serve rely on the food year round, not just around the holidays,” Cardenas said. “When a person or a business donates a dollar, we can translate that dollar into two meals for hungry people.”

In fact, Second Harvest can purchase produce at nine cents a pound, proving that a monetary donation can sometimes feed more masses.

“Donors should know that 95 cents of every dollar goes to feed their neighbors,” Cardenas said.

Second Harvest will be accepting fresh or frozen turkeys through next week at its two locations. In San Jose, donations can be made at its Curtner Center at 750 Curtner Ave., and in San Carlos at the Bing Center, 1051 Bing St. Dock hours have been extended to accommodate donors. For specific dock hours go to www.shfb.org or call the donation hotline at (800) 234-3663.

The agency’s running Turkey Tally can be found online at http://www.shfb.org.

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