The Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties kicked off its Holiday Food and Fund Drive in San Carlos Wednesday, organization officials said.
"Hunger is unacceptable in this community," said Mike Klayko, food drive co-chair and CEO of Brocade.
"Even in the heart of the Silicon Valley, which prides itself on collaboration and innovation, hunger has become a serious problem in our surrounding community," San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York said.
York was selected to be a co-chair by Klayko and begins a two-year term with the food bank.
"People who never thought they would need help are now turning to Second Harvest Food Bank for assistance. We are fortunate to live in a community where people work together and help each other prosper, so it's only fitting that our local corporations get involved and help those who are
less fortunate," York said.
The food bank collaborates with more than 300 nonprofits to provide food at nearly 650 pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, and after-school programs in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.
It has set a goal of reaching $11.3 million and 1.6 million pounds of food, organizers said.
"This campaign is mission critical," Tami Cardenas, the food bank's director of development and marketing, said. "We need to meet our goal."
The money raised during this drive makes up about 50 percent of the food bank's revenue for the calendar year.
More than 46 million pounds of food is distributed annually, with higher needs in Daly City, Gilroy and San Jose.
"We try to cater our distribution on the needs of the community," Cardenas said.
"It is unacceptable that in a wealthy community like ours, one in four people are struggling to put food on the table," Kathy Jackson, CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank, said. "Second Harvest Food Bank has managed to meet the rising need for food despite the growing challenges."
The food bank provided more than 35 million meals last year and nearly 40 percent of the food was fresh produce, the food bank said.