Second Harvest Food Bank is honored to announce Gayle Benson, owner of the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans franchises, has donated $3.5 million to the organization. This donation, made through the Gayle and Tom Benson Charitable Foundation, is the largest monetary donation to Second Harvest in its 37-year history.
“I am honored to be able to support the mission to fight hunger,” Mrs. Benson said. “The staff and volunteers of Second Harvest do so much for so many, and they use every dollar donated to them to meet the needs of people who do not have enough food. I am happy to help make sure that they have the infrastructure they need to do their critical work. ”
Mrs. Benson added, “I hope others will join me in making this important investment in one of our community’s most important social service nonprofits.”
The $3.5 million donation will go toward critical infrastructure upgrades in the 200,000 square-foot Harahan-area facility.
Archbishop Gregory Aymond spoke of the work of Second Harvest as an affiliated ministry of the Archdiocese of New Orleans saying, “Hunger impacts our community in ways that many of us could never imagine, and Second Harvest exists to bring awareness to the issue and, perhaps more importantly, provide food and meals to those in need through many different programs.” He continued, “Through its work Second Harvest allows each one of us to fulfill Jesus’ call to ‘feed the hungry’.”
Founded in 1982 by Archbishop Philip Hannan, Benson says the mission of Second Harvest is built on the words of Matthew 25:40. “We all know we will one day explain how we lived our lives on this Earth. We live every day reminded, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
Serving 23 parishes, Second Harvest makes possible more than 32 million meals a year to hungry South Louisiana residents.
“We have literally reached the limit on the support we can supply to our community,” said Second Harvest President and CEO Natalie Jayroe. “This incredible gift from Mrs. Benson will have an immediate and long-term impact on our ability to serve those most at risk in the greater New Orleans area and beyond.”
Upgrades to the 200,000 square-foot facility include a new roof, climate control, expansion of office space, and an upgraded food-donation facility.