Hard Choices for Hungry Seniors

December 16th, 2014

Seniors are one of the fastest-growing populations that Second Harvest Heartland serves: visits by seniors to Second Harvest Heartland’s food shelf partners have increased more than 60 percent since 2008. Many seniors are on fixed incomes and are faced with making tough decisions between food and other necessities.

Read just a few responses below by local seniors we serve to get a glimpse into the daily decisions they have to make.

“Every single purchase I make affects whether or not I can afford a simple meal at the end of the day, or whether I can afford my medication at the beginning of the month. I cannot afford to be frivolous or make a single mistake with my finances. If I make a mistake, that means I don’t eat dinner.”

“I’m 74 years old, and I’ve never bought a green pepper by the pound in my life. I just can’t afford one. So I have to wait until those kinds of healthy foods appear in my monthly box of food, otherwise I just don’t eat that kind of stuff.”

“After a few years of needing help, I’ve finally figured out how to make my food last all month. I’m a farm girl, so I can the potatoes and cabbage I get in the summer and make it last all winter. I cook dried beans. It’s harder in the winter when gas bills are high, but I make it work.”

“It’s hard to ask for help. I’m such a proud person and I want my kids and my grandkids to be proud of me, too. My mom and dad worked hard, and so did I for my entire life. But sometimes life just doesn’t happen the way you expect it to.”

You can help. Visit 2harvest.org/donate today to make sure hungry seniors in your community have one less thing to worry about this winter—getting enough food.

Cub Foods and University of Minnesota Gopher Athletics Team Up to Help End Hunger

December 10th, 2014

Goldy Gopher and a crew of University of Minnesota student athletes took over the warehouse at Second Harvest Heartland last week to help celebrate the successful results of the Cub Cares Round Up campaign that took place in late October. Not only did we receive a generous donation of more than $90,000 from the Cub Cares campaign, we received $85,000 from the Cub Community Cares Foundation and $10,000 from the Coca Cola Share a Coke local promotion. We also kept the athletes and their mascot busy sorting and packing apples. Thanks to the Cub Foods, University of Minnesota and Coca-Cola for your commitment to ending hunger!

Why Donors Choose Second Harvest Heartland

December 9th, 2014

We know that we couldn’t do what we do without the generous support of our donors. But why do donors choose Second Harvest Heartland? Below are testimonials from just a few of our donors—describing why they give, and what hunger means to them.

“I decided a few years ago that my bigger donations should go to organizations that do a sort of double duty. Second Harvest Heartland fulfills that splendidly by both supplying food to people who need it and by managing to retrieve some of the huge food waste we have in the country.”

“As a child who grew up underprivileged and making use of facilities like you I try to make sure that I can make some small donation every year to food shelves. Food should be a right in the country, not a privilege as it is overlooked by too many who have it.”

“I have been a teacher in Minneapolis Public Schools for many years and it breaks my heart to see how the number of students in need of basic nutrition increases every year. I wish people would understand that poverty and nutrition have great bearing on a student’s ability to learn.”

“I want to support the work of Second Harvest Heartland for several reasons. I believe that adequate nutrition is a critical element of life and would like to do what I can to reduce food insecurity. Further, it is my impression that Second Harvest Heartland uses resources effectively and I particularly appreciate the efforts to provide as much fresh produce as possible. Finally, I am particularly concerned about children who rely on school meals during the summer when school is not in session.”

There are many ways to get involved in the fight to end hunger. Visit 2harvest.org to find ways to help our hungry neighbors.

KARE 11 Food Fight Busts Through the 1 Million Pound Mark!

December 5th, 2014

Twelve hours. One news station. Four news anchors. Four retail host sites in four different cities. Four trucks. Hundreds of volunteer hours. And of course, the countless other local corporate partners and our amazingly supportive community members who donated food and funds onsite or made online contributions.

Put it all together and what do you get?

Second Harvest Heartland’s largest community food drive on record, which collected 1,429,767 pounds of food last Thursday, November 25. That’s enough food to provide 1.1 million meals.

Team Bel took the top prize this year, collection nearly 500,000 pounds of food!

As we move into the season of “thanks,” we are thankful for the tremendous response by our community and partners during this year’s KARE 11 Food Fight.

We’d like to give special thanks to:

  • KARE 11 and anchors Belinda Jensen, Julie Nelson, Randy Shaver and Eric Perkins, and especially Mandy Whiteside who coordinated the entire food drive.
  • Our four host sites: Cub Foods in Eagan, Byerly’s in Minnetonka, Kowalski’s in Woodbury and Whole Foods Market in Maple Grove.
  • CH Robinson for providing their trucks, drivers and volunteers to make everything possible.
  • Tremendous local corporate support with both food and financial donations.
  • All the individuals and families who donated food and funds onsite or made an online contribution.

Watch this video to see the live results revealed, see some of the fun at each of the donation locations and hear what Bel, Julie, Perk and Randy say about their experience with the KARE 11 Food Fight.

Thank you to everyone that helped make the KARE 11 Food Fight happen and to the donors that came out and supported their favorite team. Because of your support, this food will be distributed to our agencies partners in our community, just in time for the holiday season.

‘Tis the Season for Giving for Wilshire Park Elementary Students

December 3rd, 2014

The holiday season is a time when hungry families often have the biggest need for food assistance. To help feed the need, Wilshire Park Elementary students and families have hosted its annual Food & Fund Drive for the past six years. Donated food and funds benefit Second Harvest Heartland and our local food shelves.

When the food drive first started, the staff at Wilshire Park Elementary, located in Minneapolis, knew that they wanted to create a program that simply served others.

“The Second Harvest Heartland Food & Fund Drive has become a very important event for our learning community. We are fortunate to have students that are able to serve others in the donation of food and money to help families who are hungry,” Kari Page, Principal at Wilshire Park Elementary, said.

During this year’s Food & Fund Drive, Wilshire Park Elementary raised more than 2,000 pounds of food and over $1,400.

Thank you Wilshire Park Elementary staff, students and families—you are making the holidays brighter for our neighbors in need!

Happy Thanksgiving

November 26th, 2014

Second Harvest Heartland will be closed Thursday, Nov. 27 and Friday, Nov. 28 for the Thanksgiving holiday.

As the need for emergency food increases, we are thankful for the support of the entire community in our work to end hunger.

To make a donation, simply use our online donation form here.

We wish you a wonderful holiday.

Join the Food Fight Tomorrow with KARE 11

November 24th, 2014

The KARE 11 Food Fight is back for a second round! After the success of last year’s event, raising more than 860,000 pounds of food, the teams are at it again to help feed our hungry neighbors.

Tomorrow, November 25, the evening news anchor teams of Julie Nelson, Randy Shaver, Belinda Jensen and Eric Perkins will compete from 7:30 am to 7:00 pm to collect the most food and funds. Food and monetary donations will be collected on-site and online at 2harvest.org/kare11.

Whose team are you on? Find you favorite anchors from 7:30 am to 7:00 pm at the locations listed below.

Team Julie: Byerly’s Ridgedale (13801 Ridgedale Dr., Hopkins)
Team Randy: Whole Foods Maple Grove (12201 Elm Creek Blvd.)
Team Bel: Kowalski’s Woodbury (8505 Valley Creek Rd.)
Team Perk: Cub Foods Eagan Town Centre (1276 Town Centre Dr.)

If you cannot make it to one of the four locations, you can donate online during the food fight at 2harvest.org/kare11. Every dollar donated will equal up to three meals.

Special incentives will be awarded to the team that generates the highest amount of online donations during power hours (9 am-10 am, 12 pm-1 pm, 6-6:30 pm), overall online donations, and for the highest food pounds collected. The Minnesota Timberwolves have donated a suite to be awarded to the individual making the largest online donation during the food fight.

Most Needed Items: At this time of year, protein (peanut butter, canned tuna, canned chicken) and cereal are in especially high demand. Please avoid anything in a glass container.

Frequently Asked Questions: While you’re preparing to join the Food Fight, check out the answers to some frequently asked questions or visit 2harvest.org/kare11.

Either way you participate, you can make a big impact in our fight to end hunger.

In Need of Food Assistance This Thanksgiving?

November 19th, 2014

If you, or someone you know, are in need of food this holiday season, there are several local emergency food services and assistance programs that can help.

To contact someone for information about available resources, fill out the short form on this page or call our front desk at 651.484.5117 for immediate assistance.

We understand the holiday season puts extra strain on your budget—but you shouldn’t have to go without food. Contact us today for help.

On behalf of all of us at Second Harvest Heartland, Happy Thanksgiving.

Give a Gift that Gives Back This Holiday Season

November 17th, 2014

Looking for the perfect gift for family, friends or colleagues? Make a gift in your friend’s honor to Second Harvest Heartland, and make a difference in the lives of those who need it most this holiday season.

Just $25 provides enough food for 92 meals!

  • Simply visit 2harvest.org/holidaygift to make a gift in your friend’s name.
  • Choose from our selection of e-cards and create a personal message.
  • Click submit to send your personalized e-card notifying your friend of your gift.

Hurry! Give your gift today at 2harvest.org/holidaygift.

Your donation is tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. We will send a receipt for your records.

Feed4More this Holiday Season with Whole Foods Market

November 15th, 2014

This holiday season, thousands of Minnesota families will rely on their local food shelf for a simple holiday meal. With help from one of our new partners, Whole Foods Market, we can help make the holidays brighter for local families in need through the Feed4More campaign. But we need your help!

From now until November 30, all Twin Cities Whole Foods Market locations will join with stores across the country to raise money to help fill the cupboards of local families. Customers can choose to make a monetary donation at the register, or add a donation to their online order at shop.wfm.com. All of the proceeds from local Whole Foods Markets will benefit Second Harvest Heartland and agency partners.

For more information, visit www.wholefoodsmarket.com/store/event/feed4more.

Thank You for Giving to the Max

November 14th, 2014

On behalf of Second Harvest Heartland, our community partners and the children, working families and seniors we serve, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you for your incredible generosity on Give the Max Day this year.

Thanks to The Mosaic Company Foundation, a special group of individual donors and the humbling online gifts from generous individuals like you, we’ll be able to provide the equivalent of 2.1 million meals to those in our community who are counting on us for support!

This year, we received:

- $345,484 in individual contributions;
- $238,000 in matching funds from The Mosaic Company Foundation and individual donors;
- $5,000 for the third place prize award;

All of that amounts to $588,484—enough to help us provide food for 2.1 million meals.

Please take a moment to watch my personal video thank you message below.

Thank you for your generosity. Know that this holiday season, our neighbors will sit down for a plentiful meal and give thanks for you.

Rob Zeaske
CEO, Second Harvest Heartland

Give to the Max TODAY!

November 13th, 2014

Imagine if you could help raise enough money to provide 2.2 million meals to hungry Minnesota children in just one day. You can—today!

Make Second Harvest Heartland the charity of your choice for today’s Give to the Max Day, and help provide food—like apples and bananas—to local kids and their families in our community who need them most.

Every donation to Second Harvest Heartland works twice as hard, thanks to a $100,000 match from The Mosaic Company Foundation, plus other matching funds from individual donors.

And when you give $100 or more, we’ll send you a hand-colored “thank you” postcard, from the hands of a child who benefits from one of our programs.

Give today here!

Tough Decisions for our Hungry Neighbors

November 12th, 2014

When people don’t have access to enough food, impossible trade-offs often follow. In order to put food on the table, high-need families frequently sacrifice other basic needs in order to make ends meet.

Many Second Harvest Heartland clients make tough decisions every day—decisions between food or transportation, food or housing, food or medical care. They choose coping skills to manage their hunger—choosing inexpensive, unhealthy foods to feel full; watering down food or drinks to make them last longer; pawning or selling property for food money or asking family and friends for help.

Our infographic below represents the tough decisions our hungry neighbors had to make at least once in the last year, with information from the Hunger in American 2014 study.

For ways to help those in need this holiday season, visit 2harvest.org/holidaygift.

Help Provide Apples and Bananas this Give to the Max Day!

November 7th, 2014

Apples, bananas and other fresh fruit are essential to children’s health, growth and development. So essential, that we enlisted a group of local kindergartners and musician Jeremy Messersmith to sing about how much they like to eat, eat, eat…apples and bananas.

In order to help get these nutritious foods to the one in six Minnesota children who live at risk of hunger, we need your help.

Make Second Harvest Heartland the charity of your choice on Give to the Max Day this November 13, or schedule your gift today, and help provide food to local kids and their families in our community who need them most.

Your donations work twice as hard, thanks to a $100,000 match from The Mosaic Company Foundation, plus other matching funds from individual donors.

Hunger in America 2014: Gaining a Deeper Understanding of Who We Serve

November 4th, 2014

Second Harvest Heartland was one of nearly 200 Feeding America member food banks that participated in the 2014 Hunger in America study, released this August. With more than 60,000 clients and 32,000 food shelves and other agency partners across the country surveyed, this is the most comprehensive and largest study of its kind.

The study provides current demographic data of the people who receive emergency food assistance and the economic and personal circumstances of their households on a national, state and county level. This helps us to better understand who we serve and why they use our services.

Results for our service area align with what we are seeing and hearing from our agency partners. Though the economy is improving overall, persistent unemployment and underemployment continue to impact many.

Although many individuals are either continuing with higher education or seeking work, they are still experiencing challenges with food security, limited income, unpaid medical bills and health challenges. This often forces them to make decisions between feeding themselves and their families and/or paying for other critical things like utilities, medical care, rent or education.

The local Hunger in America study results will help Second Harvest Heartland to better partner with agencies in our service area and better meet the needs of the clients we serve.

To read more, visit 2harvest.org/hungerstudy.

Volunteers Make an Impact: Here’s How

November 3rd, 2014

In 2013, volunteers helped make a bigger impact than ever before. We’ve shared the overall impact before, but did you know that volunteers contribute to nearly every program and department at Second Harvest Heartland?

From sorting, packing and labeling food to delivering food directly to those in need or supporting special events and beyond, we have a volunteer opportunity for everyone. Learn more about the impact our volunteers made across the organization below.


Visit 2harvest.org/volunteer to sign up for your own volunteer opportunity and join us in providing our neighbors with the hope and stability they need during difficult times.

Give Back Before Giving Thanks: Walk to End Hunger 2014

October 29th, 2014

This holiday season, thousands of Minnesota families will rely on their local food shelf for a simple holiday meal. You can help those in need by joining Second Harvest Heartland for this year’s family-friendly 5k Walk to End Hunger, presented by The Mosaic Company, at the Mall of America on Thanksgiving morning.

Join Team Second Harvest Heartland, start your own team, or walk as an individual. And have fun while you’re at it—the walk route will have music, balloon animals, Santa and kids crafts.

Sign up today at www.walktoendhunger.org/goto/SHH.

Since its inception in 2008, the Walk to End Hunger has raised more than $1.5 million to support local hunger relief organizations. One hundred percent of all proceeds raised are distributed to hunger relief organizations, including Second Harvest Heartland.

However you choose to participate, you will help provide more food to those who are hungry in our community this holiday season!

For more information, visit the Walk to End Hunger website or call 651.789.9842. Hope to see you there!

Volunteer Spotlight of the Month: Dennie Scott and Jane Hilger

October 27th, 2014

Dennie Scott and Jane Hilger have been helping fight hunger for more than 10 years. Dennie started her journey at Second Harvest Heartland when she became a part of the Volunteer Services team. Since her retirement in 2010, she has continued to volunteer her time with Second Harvest Heartland, both as a 2014 Hunger Study volunteer and as a Hunger 101 facilitator.

Similar to Dennie, Jane has volunteered as a Hunger 101 facilitator and at different events, including our annual gala, Dish: Cuisine for Change.

Facilitating the Hunger 101 simulation brought Dennie and Jane together because of their mutual passion for volunteering and educating others about what can be done to help fight hunger in Minnesota. The Hunger 101 simulation does just that – by role play simulation in which participants are asked to take on the life circumstance of someone in Minnesota who’s as risk of hunger.

During the simulation, each participate must try to get enough food to feed his or her family for one day by tapping the resources of the grocery store, food shelf, county human services office and the bank. The experience gives participants a feel for the struggles someone can confront when trying to feed a family with limited time, resources and support. The simulation provides the starting point for a comprehensive discussion about hunger and supports a call to action.

“Its eye opening, at the end of the simulation you get to hear the participants’ thoughts, what they learned, and their experience during the simulation. I always learn new information, and hearing what others have to say brings further awareness about hunger,” said Dennie.

Jane, a retired teacher, led the simulation for her students, saying “it was important to me that my students participated in the simulation. I had the simulation right in my classroom and my students seemed to really enjoy it.”

Dennie and Jane both thoroughly enjoy facilitating the simulation and continue to volunteer with Second Harvest Heartland, always looking for new ways to become involved.

You can volunteer, too! For ways to get involved, visit 2harvest.org/volunteer.

Cub Cares Promotion Extended through November 1

October 23rd, 2014

There’s one more week to get Halloween supplies AND support Second Harvest Heartland at the same time!

Cub Foods is extending the “round up” portion of the Cub Foods / Gopher Athletics Cub Cares campaign to support Second Harvest Heartland and area food banks until November 1. Cub customers will be asked to round up their purchases at the checkouts as a donation to fight hunger.

Thanks to Cub Foods and Gopher Athletics—we are all in this together!

Food as Medicine: The Intersection of Hunger and Health

October 21st, 2014

When Darla was diagnosed with heart disease and type 2 diabetes two years ago, she knew she needed to improve her health through diet. But with Darla’s limited income, she couldn’t afford the fruits and vegetables she knew she needed. So when she discovered a weekly produce distribution site in her South Minneapolis neighborhood, she was hopeful.

“With the boxes of fresh produce I get from the foodshelf, I’m able to manage my heart condition and keep my diabetes under the control. I just can’t afford healthy food and pay for my medications at the same time.”

Why Food Access and Nutrition Matter
Darla’s situation is similar to many who struggle with food insecurity. Research has found that proper nutrition and access to food play an important role in prevention, treatment and recovery for many health conditions, which can be challenging for high-need patients. A 2010 study by the Food Industry Center at the University of Minnesota, reported that the effects of hunger annually cost the Minnesota economy at least $1.26 billion in medical and health care costs.

In spite of the connection between food access, nutrition and health, the health care system and hunger relief systems have historically functioned largely apart from each other. Non-profits in hunger relief do not reach nearly all people who need food, and health care providers serve many food insecure patients who could be connected to food support, which could play an important role in their health outcomes.

The Opportunity: Better Health, Less Hunger
The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) has analyzed the potential for greater integration between health care and hunger relief and indicates that if the medical and hunger relief sectors partner to increase access to healthy foods, Minnesota’s 100 million missing meal gap could potentially be reduced by 25 percent or more.

“Hospitals are seeing large numbers of food insecure patients, but most are not participating in any food relief programs. If we can get those providers engaged and asking the right questions, there’s an opportunity to provide wider-reaching food relief services that can be convenient and comfortable for clients,” said Rob Zeaske, CEO, Second Harvest Heartland.

Projects and Pilots at the Intersection
How can hunger relief and health care work in tandem? In Minnesota and around the country, a few initiatives and pilots are already in place—from clinics developing food insecurity screening tools that lead to patient referrals to food shelves or a SNAP application process, to food banks identifying clients with type 2 diabetes and providing appropriate food, nutrition and health education.

Locally, the Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) provides an onsite food shelf in the form of a Therapeutic Food Pharmacy to high-need patients, with some food provided by Second Harvest Heartland. Diana Cutts, MD, Department of Pediatrics, HCMC and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota, helped launch the foodshelf in 2010.

“One third of families that I see are food insecure,” said Dr. Cutts. “Do I always think about hunger when I’m seeing a kid for repeated ear infections? Logically, I know infections and food insecurity are related, but I don’t always think about it. So having an onsite resource available like the food pharmacy is valuable.”