Second Harvest CEO Sells Picasso Collection to Help Close the Hunger Gap

Photograph by Emily J. Davis

In 2020, Harald Herrmann saw his business grow exponentially. Not good news when you’re running a food bank, says Herrmann, CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County. The former dishwasher-turned-restaurateur recently sold pieces from his Picasso collection for $363,125 to help meet the unprecedented demand for food this year. Only fitting that the lead work presented at Christie’s Auction House was “The Frugal Meal.” “That piece always spoke to me because it really depicts those who have a hunger crisis. And now it’ll serve to help address that.”

I’m hoping by telling my story, others in a position to help will be inspired to do something similar. I didn’t want this to happen only in my backyard.


If there’s been a benefit to all this, it’s the increased exposure that brings in more donations. We’re only able to meet the needs if we have the resources to do so.


I am dumbfounded that anyone might think that food insecurity isn’t a real issue for us. Many Americans right now are three to five paychecks away from having to get in a food line.


Hunger lives in the shadows of every city in O.C.


A lot of folks were scratching their heads, wondering why I was leaving the restaurant industry; but I felt it was absolutely the right thing to do.


In February, we served 249,000 people 2.2 million pounds of food. By August, it had more than doubled to 5.8 million pounds served to 523,000 residents.

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