Volunteers dressed as carrots, apples and peas greeted San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, Cypress Semiconductor CEO T.J. Rodgers and community members Wednesday at the unveiling of a new facility for one of the nation's largest food banks.
Representatives of Second Harvest Food Bank say the new building—dubbed the Cypress Center and located at 4001 N. First St. in San Jose—is already
helping them deliver more, fresher food to struggling people in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.
Second Harvest provides food for —located in Cupertino—which in turn serves the communities of Cupertino, Saratoga, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno and West San Jose
"This was all about increasing velocity," said Second Harvest Food Bank CEO Kathy Jackson, who said that the Cypress Center has helped the food bank process produce in about three to five days, as opposed to the previous five to seven days—a significant amount of time in the life of perishable fruits and vegetables.
The facility nearly doubles the food bank's operating space and will process more than 55 percent of its food donations and 100 percent of its produce.
The 75,000 square foot building was donated by Cypress Semiconductor Corp. in April of last year. Along with the surrounding five acres it is estimated to be worth $9 million, Second Harvest said.
Since April of 2011, the food bank has been renovating the facility, which used to serve as a research and development office.
Eight extra loading docks, an 8,000-square-foot refrigerator, 2,000-square-foot freezer, and emergency generator are among the renovations, Second Harvest said.
But despite the bright colors that decorate the building, it's new, state of the art facilities and message of charity, Rodgers, who is credited with making the decision to donate the building, had sobering words as he arrived for the noon unveiling.
"This building used to have 300 engineers in it whose jobs no longer exist, who used to give food to the Second Harvest Food Bank. Now it's going to be a food bank for the poor," Rodgers said. "That is an icon for what is wrong with the California economy in particular today."
According to Second Harvest, the demand for food has nearly doubled since the recession began. Today, the food bank serves almost 250,000 people each month—one in every ten residents of San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.
—By Bay City News