SAN JOSE, Calif. – The San Jose Earthquakes have launched a unique club-wide community initiative called Pledge 74 to tackle food insecurity concerns in the South Bay over the next 18 months. Many residents of San Jose and the broader South Bay community are unsure where their next meal will come from, and Pledge 74 was created to combat these ever-present concerns that have been further exacerbated by COVID-19.
The Quakes’ objective is to raise and donate $740,000, promote volunteerism and increase overall awareness of this growing problem. Pledge 74 was named after the team’s founding in 1974 and carries with it a legacy of nearly 50 years of community service.
Although the Pledge 74 campaign is just being launched under a formal name, the Earthquakes have taken many actionable steps towards this cause since March. The club has contributed more than $50,000 towards food insecurity, including a $21,000 donation to feed students of the Alum Rock Union School District after school closures back in March. The Quakes have also held events to feed frontline workers at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center and Palo Alto Medical Foundation’s Mountain View Center, part of the Sutter Health network, as well as creating charitable merchandise to benefit United Farm Workers.
“The Earthquakes organization has deep roots in this community,” said Earthquakes Chief Operating Officer Jared Shawlee. “Pledge 74 was born out of necessity due to the alarming number of individuals right here in our own backyard that are struggling to put food on their table. We are uniting as a club to fight against hunger.”
As unemployment figures continue to balloon in California, the reliance on food banks and other forms of government aid are at an all-time high. CalFresh, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), has seen applications surge more than 250% since the onset of COVID-19.
Farm workers in California produce one-third of the nation’s vegetables and two-thirds of the fruits and nuts. However, these essential yet impoverished men and women responsible for feeding America are often not eligible for COVID-related financial assistance.
Four out of every five students in the Alum Rock Union School District qualify for free or reduced lunches, but these resources have been strained and are being propped up by sporadic contributions and volunteers. The Earthquakes’ aforementioned donation, in tandem with local volunteers, helped feed the 12,000 students in the district.
The Quakes are leaving no stone unturned in their fight against food insecurity and are extending their efforts club wide. Below is a full description of the club’s contributions to fighting hunger in the South Bay.
All Earthquakes full-time staff members will volunteer at least 7.4 hours each, with incentives provided for those who go above and beyond for their community. Earthquakes players will also contribute an aggregated total of 74 hours of volunteer service, along with additional hours by members of the Quakes Youth Academy.
At least 7.4% of all ad-buys will specifically target awareness of food security issues. The club will also make a concerted effort to fund billboards around Silicon Valley for this cause as well as generate PSAs and leverage local influencers to amplify messaging. Local news outlets NBC Bay Area (KNTV) and Telemundo 48 (KSTS) will take a leading role in promoting the club’s content.
Sales and Service
Every dollar of new season ticket deposits will go to food security partners, and all deposits made within the first 74 hours after the launch of Pledge 74 will be matched by the Earthquakes. Additionally, more than $0.74 of every single-game ticket will go to the program and free suite tickets and parking will be used as rewards for top volunteers outside the organization.
The Earthquakes are fortunate to have many team partners with shared values in the community. Our team and our partners will continue to elevate the platform and contribute to food insecurity initiatives around our community.
The Quakes will create and sell specific Pledge 74 items, with 100% of proceeds benefitting food security. Additionally, the Quakes will work with Fanatics to create fundraising opportunities for Pledge 74.
The Quakes will work in tandem with stadium concessionaire Spectra to donate unused food to local food banks after every home match. The Earthquakes will also provide assistance to club partners in the restaurant business to donate unused food as well.
The Earthquakes and Earthquakes Stadium will continue to be a home for community programming, events, and educational opportunities. Ranging from our sustainable garden, to using our facilities to help organize food donations and packing events, Earthquakes Stadium will be a home for Pledge 74.
The club generally charges a fee to outside organizations for stadium usage but will offer 74 hours of complimentary use to food banks or other allies in the fight against hunger.
Fans will be incentivized to volunteer or donate through a rewards program. The most involved members of the community will have an opportunity to score free season tickets.