David Schoenberg, president, Second Helpings Atlanta
Second Helpings, which acquires leftover food from restaurants and distributes it to charitable agencies that feed the hungry, started in 2004 as a social action project of Temple Sinai. The project relied heavily on the support of some 15 volunteers, including Schoenberg.
As part of Temple Sinai, Second Helpings was often approached by agencies that requested its services. The organization acquired more responsibilities and gradually demanded a volunteer base larger than Temple Sinai could provide. Second Helpings became an independent nonprofit in 2013 under Schoenberg’s leadership.
Second Helpings has enlisted over 350 volunteers in its volunteer army.
Schoenberg said Second Helpings has three main sources of operation: volunteers, donors and agencies. A volunteer coordinator identifies potential volunteers.
A donor volunteer identifies places with excess food that might be willing to donate. Grocery stores are the main donors, but restaurants, farmers markets and schools also contribute. An agency coordinator seeks Atlanta agencies to assist in distributing the food. Second Helpings works with 17 agencies, including the Atlanta Community Food Bank.
In May, Schoenberg hired Second Helpings’ first executive director, Joe Labriola, to lead the communitywide growth of operations.
Schoenberg has given time and effort since Second Helpings’ inception to address the dual problems of food going to waste and people going hungry. With his help, Second Helpings carried 745,000 pounds of food in 2014 and 4.2 million pounds since 2004.
It continues to grow in scope and prominence.
“We feel like we’re ready to go help rescue food that’s being thrown away today in East Atlanta or the West End or in Clayton County,” Schoenberg said.