Why We’re Here

Second Harvest Community Food Bank is dedicated to providing assistance to our 60,000 neighbors living in food-insecurity in our 19-county service area, across both Northwest Missouri and Northeast Kansas. Second Harvest plays a critical role in providing help to struggling families and seniors in the region.

Second Harvest: Powered by the Community to Serve Our Neighbors

The History of Second Harvest Community Food Bank

There have been many changes and improvements in how we serve our members over the past 30 years, but we are not done fighting hunger! Keep reading to see how your support over the years impacts hunger in the Second Harvest service area.

Spring, 1981: A crisis in the community

During the early months of 1981, the unemployment rate of St. Joseph residents was climbing. While the official rate was recorded at 12 percent, the actual unemployment rate was nearer to 20 percent. When unemployment benefits ran out at the same time that other social service programs were being cut, problems worsened for the unemployed in the area.

Phone calls began pouring in to the United Way of Greater St. Joseph Information and Referral line from concerned citizens. The routine dumping

September, 1981: The fight against hunger in St. Joseph begins

On September 21, 1981, Harvesters Food Bank of St. Joseph, Inc. was born through a filing of a Certificate of Incorporation.

The organization was created as a central clearing house for edible surplus food and other items received from the food industry and other partners. The donations would be distributed among low-income persons and reduce the costs for charities through the provision of surplus and salvaged food.

Jack Habig was named the first executive director in 1982 of the new

1993: Another crisis, another opportunity to serve the community

The flood of 1993 created an emergency in the St. Joseph area. The food bank rushed to help, providing its warehouse and clearing house for more than 270,000 pounds of flood relief product. Adding to the difficulties facing our neighbors was the closure of two major plants that had called St. Joseph home, leaving thousands unemployed. In the midst of these challenges, Leanne Murray took the helm as executive director.

1994: A year of changes for the food bank

Through a capital campaign, the food bank moved into its current location, ready to fill the 16,000 square foot warehouse at 915 Douglas with provisions for our neighbors in need.

The need was severe. A poor economy once again highlighted the important role that a food bank held in the St. Joseph community. Food distribution hit a new high at 2 million pounds, and when the USDA commodities were cut by nearly 70 percent, the food bank was forced to find food for hungry neighbors elsewhere.

1996: New federal legislation gives food banks a boost…and the food bank gets a new name!

In 1996, food banks nationwide celebrated new legislation that would promote donations on a larger scale. On October 1, 1996, President Bill Clinton signed the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act., which included the following:

  • Standardized donor liability in all 50 states when they donate to a non-profit organization
  • Protects donors from civil and criminal liability should the product donated in good faith later cause harm to the needy recipient
  • Sets a liability floor of

2006: Celebrating 25 years with America’s Second Harvest

While celebrating with America’s Second Harvest, the local Second Harvest hit its own milestone, providing 2.7 million meals to those in need. In December of the same year, Scott Tomhave was named the executive director.

November 13, 2014: Second Harvest announces Accreditation from Better Business Bureau

Second Harvest Community Food Bank, a non-profit food distribution center serving nineteen counties in Northwest Missouri and Northeast Kansas, announced today that it has met the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) Wise Giving Alliance’s Standards for Charity Accountability and is now a BBB Accredited Charity.

Second Harvest participated in the voluntary program because it believes in the importance of accountability and transparency for a non-profit organization. By being evaluated by