The Second Harvest Food Bank of Lehigh Valley and Northeast Pennsylvania received a $43,000 donation from the Dunkin’ of Greater Philadelphia on Thursday, Jan. 31.
The donation is a combined effort from Dunkin’s ‘Roast Hunger’ program and Dunkin’s Joy in Childhood Foundation, according to a press release from Second Harvest.
The Second Harvest Food Bank is based in Nazareth, Pennsylvania and has been working toward their mission of providing families in need with food since 1982. Jessica Dokachev, the director of Second Harvest Food Bank, said the organization’s goal is to ensure that no one in their six counties of service goes without a meal.
Dokachev expressed her appreciation for the support given to them by Dunkin’.
“This money will be used to support our food distribution operations, so making sure we are able to get the food needed by the community,” Dokachev said.
The money contributed by Dunkin’ will help support the 60,000 people Second Harvest services every month through food pantries, homeless shelters and food distribution across various food banks in the region, the press release said.
Jessica Weissman is the field marketing manager for Dunkin’ in the Greater Philadelphia area.
“Our goal is to give back to all of the food banks in the community and try to make a difference everywhere we are,” Weissman said.
Weissman said of the $43,000 donation, $33,000 comes from the Roast Hunger program, while $10,000 is a grant from the Joy and Childhood Foundation.
Dunkin’ partners with five food banks through the Roast Hunger program.
“This was our eighth annual Roast Hunger program, and we definitely will plan on continuing that for hopefully many years to come,” Weissman said.
According to Weissman, the Roast Hunger program is entirely dependent on the franchises. Dunkin’ is a 100 percent franchise-owned brand and are therefore more inclined to want to give back. She said franchisees proposed the idea of the Roast Hunger program.
Carolina Hernandez, the director of the Community Service Office at Lehigh, said she regularly works with local food banks.
“Corporate social responsibility is incredibly important,” Hernandez said. “I think that any good corporation should be engaged and contributing, and if they are not, what they’re doing is that they are being irresponsible.”
Hernandez said Second Harvest is “forward thinking with their approach and truly exceptional partners” and are Lehigh’s Valley’s backbone organization.
“Without Second Harvest, the work that some of our nonprofits do cannot exist,” Hernandez said. “In the Lehigh Valley, what they do is exceptional work, and I know that one of their new initiatives is working with veterans and that is what always stands out to me.”
According to Dokachev, the food bank provided 9.2 million pounds of food to the community last year and also run specialty programs catered to students and veterans.
Dokachev has been working for Second Harvest since April 2016, and said she works hard to make sure people are able to provide food for their families.
“This mission is rewarding every single day, you know somebody has dinner on the table tonight because you showed up to work,” Dokachev said. “There is nothing in the world better than that.”