In The News

Twin Lakes Church Breaks Record in Holiday Food Drive

Twin Lakes Church raised three times the amount of food they raised last year, and broke a record for the largest single-handed contribution to the Second Harvest Holiday Food Drive.

November 27, 2011

By Maria Grusauskas

When Pastor Rene Schlaepfer of Twin Lakes Church in Aptos challenged his congregation to donate one million pounds of food to the 24th annual Second Harvest Holiday Food Drive, the whole congregation chipped in to meet that goal, and then some.

Over the past 10 weeks, the congregation raised 1,229,916 pounds of food for Second Harvest—the largest single handed contribution that Second Harvest has ever received, according to Danny Keith, Chief Development Officer. It’s also almost half of the Second Harvest’s total goal of 2.5 million pounds.

“Since 2008 we have experienced a 30 percent uptake in need from people in the community. Everything we raise here stays in Santa Cruz county, so there’s over 55,000 people a month that we’re helping with over half of them kids, so this is a a huge, huge, support for us,” Keith said.

An estimated 3,000 people contributed to the food drive through Twin Lakes Church, with adults and children rising to Schlaepfer's challenge.

“I told everyone I was praying for total participation, 100 percent. I even asked the little kids to help out and they had some amazingly creative ideas,” said Schlaepfer.

Six-year-old Travis Buese raised $680 dollars selling his hand-made paper kites door to door for two dollars a piece, and four young brothers, ages 2 to 7, raised $300 selling hand-made toy caterpillars.

For each dollar donated, Second Harvest is able to provide four meals, and many congregation members gave generously. The owners of Yogurtland in Capitola donated a portion of one day's proceeds to the cause, raising over $1,500.

Mayor Ryan Coonerty, co-chair of the Holiday Food Drive for the second year in a row, was also present at the ceremony which was attended by 1,200 congregation members.

“It’s mostly families and it’s the working poor,” Coonerty said of the 55,000 beneficiaries. “People who have a job but they just don’t have enough to get them through the entire month… It’s not just about getting food for them to eat it’s also relieving parents of the concern that their children are hungry—that to me is the biggest reason to do this,” Coonerty said.

The food is distributed among 120 different agencies and 50 food-for-children distribution locations throughout the county, and Second Harvest places an emphasis on nutrition.

“Its not just about getting any kind of food, it’s about getting nutritious food. And there’s a whole nutrition education component to this that’s really important. That’s what makes Santa Cruz a little different than a lot of places and I’m really proud of it,” said Coonerty.

Much of the food comes from Field Fresh Farms, in Watsonville, which donated over 100,000 pounds of fresh produce to Second Harvest last year, and continues to be one of the largest donors of farm-fresh food.

Original article: Twin Lakes Church Breaks Record in Holiday Food Drive