Bob Koch March 1998

Bob Koch was very proud to show the new home of Second Helpings in 1998. In its earliest days, Second Helpings operated out of a small cafeteria kitchen and dining room at the former RCA plant on Sherman Drive.


Three chefs — Kristen Cordoza, Bob Koch, and Jean Paison, got together to talk about the food service industry and their community.

They saw firsthand the tremendous amount of waste in the food service industry. At the same time, they were acutely aware that most programs serving the disadvantaged often struggled to provide for their clients’ most basic nutritional needs.

As food service professionals, they knew just how difficult it was to find employees with the skills needed to be productive in a commercial kitchen. Yet they also knew that many adults struggled in poverty and low-wage jobs because they lacked the basic skills that would allow them to earn more and build a career.

So the three chefs set forth to solve all four problems—food waste, hunger, job training, and a source of skilled labor for the local food service industry—with one solution: turn unused food into meals and jobs.

Second Helpings was born in Spring, 1998. In our first full month of operation, 37 volunteers helped rescue 7,000 pounds of food and prepare 3,074 meals.

Thanks to our founders, partners, board, staff, and volunteers, we’ve grown beyond anyone’s expectations: Second Helpings currently turns more than 200,000 pounds of rescued food and delivers about 80,000 meals every month.


Click on any of the pictures below to see a photo album with captions from when Second Helpings began in 1998.