Summer of Service: Alumni from San José State University Make a Significant Impact at Second Harvest of Silicon Valley

by | Aug 17, 2023 | Community Engagement

Members of the Alumni Association volunteered at Second Harvest of Silicon Valley Cypress Center in North San Jose. Photo by Chelsea Correa, ’21 Management, Second Harvest volunteer engagement manager, helped coordinate the Summer of Service initiative.

As the academic summer comes to a close, San José State alumni can take pride in the tremendous impact they have made through their heartfelt and dedicated volunteer initiative, the “Summer of Service.” Over the course of two months, alumni joined forces to lend some helping hands to Second Harvest of Silicon Valley, boxing produce for families in need and making a real difference in their communities.

“The SJSU Alumni Summer of Service is a time when Spartans step up to volunteer and give back to their community,“ said organizer and Alumni Association Associate Director for Network and Regional Engagement Robert Davis. 

The first annual Summer of Service was a powerful testament to the strength of community bonds and the commitment to giving back. Second Harvest of Silicon Valley is at the forefront of battling hunger in the Bay Area and provided an excellent partnership to kick off this initiative. 

Throughout the summer, dozens of Alumni Association members convened at Second Harvest, sharing their time and energy to box fresh produce that would reach families facing food insecurity. Seven Alumni Networks united by shared cultures and experiences logged over 150 volunteer hours. The International Alumni network led the effort with an impressive 75 hours volunteered!

The culmination of this season was the final volunteer meet-up, which united 16 alumni network members for an evening of satisfying work. In a well-coordinated display of teamwork, volunteers prepared an astonishing 12 pallets filled with 720 boxes of produce, weighing approximately 17,280 pounds. Their efforts were awe-inspiring and demonstrated the impact that could be achieved in a relatively short amount of time.

Second Harvest of Silicon Valley expressed gratitude to the SJSU Alumni network for their support and service in a season that typically sees a decline in volunteers. Second Harvest Director of Volunteer Engagement Diane Zapata had this to say: “The show of volunteer support from SJSU and the Alumni Association came at such a critical time for us. The number of people we are serving has risen back up to peak pandemic levels so volunteers and donations are critical. We are so grateful to the Spartan community for stepping in to support our neighbors struggling with food insecurity and for helping us ensure they have access to free, nutritious food.” 

The thousands of food boxes packed during the Summer of Service will undoubtedly make a significant difference in the lives of countless families struggling to put food on their tables. With a strong inaugural effort, SJSU and the Alumni Association are excited to do even more next summer! 

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