Second Harvest gets new ride

The Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina recently received a new set of wheels from Bissell Companies, filled with more than 350 turkeys.

(Above) Kay Carter, with Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina, and Smoky Bissell, of Bissell Companies, show off the van and turkeys donation.

(Above) Kay Carter, with Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina, and Smoky Bissell, of Bissell Companies, show off the van and turkeys donation.

The Ford E250 Cargo Van and turkeys were donated to the community food pantry on behalf of companies located in the Ballantyne Corporate Park. The number of turkeys represented each tenant within the business park.

“We wanted to do something more impactful on behalf of our tenant community this year,” said Smoky Bissell, chairman of Bissell Companies, in a statement released by Second Harvest. Bissell helped present the van to food bank leaders on Dec. 20 in Ballantyne. “We enjoy partnering with Second Harvest on our annual food drive and hope our tenants feel an even stronger connection to such an important cause.”

Bissell Companies has worked with Second Harvest for the past five years, donating almost 120,000 pounds of food. This year, Bissell decided to be part of food transportation, as well.

Kay Carter, executive director of Second Harvest, said she thinks of corporate gifts as something like gift baskets. A van never crossed her mind.

“When (Bissell) started talking about transportation, I was blown away,” she said.

Carter thanked the company “for its generous donation in helping our efforts to end hunger in the region,” in a statement. “Since we serve such a large population, a new van is vital for us to distribute food to those in need.”

The food bank will use the van all year long to collect and distribute food donations.

The turkeys that filled the van were donated to Second Harvest’s partner agencies such as the Urban Ministry Center, Men’s Shelter of Charlotte, the Center of Hope, Hope Haven and the Charlotte Rescue Mission.

Howard Bissell, senior vice president and director of Bissell Companies, said the donation was prompted by Second Harvest’s desire to end hunger in the Charlotte region and the challenge of doing so.

“We were eager to support such an important cause,” he said.

Because Second Harvest serves such a large area – 19 counties surrounding Charlotte – the organization replaces vehicles every year, Howard Bissell said. “The van will help Second Harvest distribute food to those in need,” while the turkeys would make a wonderful addition to a holiday meal, he added.

Bissell Companies participates in many other charities and is “deeply committed to community-based charitable initiatives,” Howard Bissell said. Besides an annual food drive for Second Harvest, Ballantyne Corporate Park hosts the Color the Park Drive, which collects markers for Classroom Center, a store that provides teachers with free materials to help underprivileged students; Toys for Tweens, which collects toys for children ages 10 to 14 years old; various charity runs including the Morrison Family YMCA 5K and 10K race and the Isabella Santos Foundation charity run; fundraising drives for the United Way of the Central Carolinas and the Arts & Science Council; and Bissell Companies developed a Spirit to Serve Committee, which creates volunteer opportunities for employees every month with charities such as Second Harvest, Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte, Classroom Central and Habitat for Humanity.

“We believe in supporting charities that directly benefit our community,” Howard Bissell said. “We are focused on strengthening Charlotte as a community through coordinating drives in Ballantyne Corporate Park and volunteer activities, as well as financial contributions.”

Find more information on Second Harvest, including how to donate or volunteer, at

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