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  •  Second Harvest---the Origins.... (6+ / 0-)

    I'm very proud to say that what is now known as Second Harvest, a network of Community Food Banks that stretches around the world, began here in Phoenix, with two wonderful, ingenious people, one White and one Black, btw, and a brilliant if simple idea.

    John Van Hengel was the White Guy who made it work.  An amazing Black woman named Vernell Coleman provided the inspiration and the push.  You see, Vernell lived in the Matthew Henson Housing Projects, where she put her keen sense of the need and her profound love of people to work.  She even got presents for Grandparents at Xmas time so they'd have something to give their grandkids...but I digress.

    Keenly aware of the profound need for food and basic nutrition, and observing all of the food that went to waste from groceries, restaurants, etc., they were determined to match the two to meet the need.  

    They started off in the late 60's with St. Mary's Food Bank, which grew continually and flourishes today as a model Food Bank that feeds thousands each year.  

    Not satisfied with that accomplishment, they looked further and recognized that the same situation of surplus food and nutritional defict--uncoupled and unmatched---existed in nearly every community.  They invited folks from other communities to see what they were doing, and shared freely.  John, with a heart as huge as Vernell's, worked tirelessly until he passed about a year ago.  

    The word spread, and so did the concept.  They dubbed the network Second Harvest, and continually shared tips and information among the affiliates.  Today that network extends around the world....and it all started with two people with a Big Idea and Big Hearts....one White and one Black....

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