Posted by Doreen Higgins on Oct 05, 2017
We welcomed Mary Jane Crouch, the Executive Director of America’s Second Harvest, to our meeting this week. America’s Second Harvest is an organization that aims to help the hungry; it is a national organization, and its local function was described to us by Mary Jane. Her sphere takes in much of coastal Georgia where, she told us, there is substantial need. Mary Jane, a native of South Carolina, has lived in Savannah for the past 18 years and joined America’s Second Harvest in 2002; she became its director in 2004.
 
Mary Jane told us that too many children go hungry every day in coastal Georgia; many families have to choose between food and utilities, between food and housing, and/or between food and medical needs. She went on to describe how her organization helps to mitigate this situation.

Essentially, the function of America’s Second Harvest is to accept food from donors and get it to those who need it, and volunteers, such as some of our members, perform those functions. One of these tasks is to fill boxes with donated items so that they can be trucked to places where they are needed; this program has been continuous for the past ten years. Another task is to fill and distribute “backpacks,” – 5000 are distributed every Friday – providing food to be eaten over the weekend.

The largest current program in scope is the Kid’s Café, started right here, operating since 1989, and now nationwide. It is an after school program that addresses the need for a meal of children who are doing after school (remedial) study. For these children, the after school hours are a long time since their last meal, and hungry children do not learn. America’s Second Harvest also provides food as a matter of disaster relief. The newest initiative is for the organization to accept and distribute pet foods, so that those in need do not have to choose whether to feed themselves or their pets.

The Skidaway Island Rotary Club has participated in all these efforts for many years; today, at this meeting, we were proud to present Mary Jane a check for $2500 to assist the organization, and we are glad to know that our members will continue to help in the packaging, boxing, and distribution of these items into the future.