America's Second Harvest is the nation's largest domestic hunger relief organization, distributing over one billion pounds of food each year to more than 26 million hungry Americans. Second Harvest functions by soliticiting donated food and grocery products from growers, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers all across the country. These donations consist primarily of surplus food that might otherwise go to waste. Through Second Harvest, the food is then distributed to the hungry through a network of over 200 food banks.
The history of America's Second Harvest goes back to the late 1960s in Phoenix, AZ with the development of the food bank concept by retired businessman John Van Hengel. Through a series of federally funded development efforts and a merger with Foodchain in 2000, today America's Second Harvest serves all the 50 states and Puerto Rico through approximately 50,000 local charitable hunger-relief agencies, including food pantries, soup kitchens, women's shelters and Kids Cafes.