Land O’Lakes Donates 40,000 Pounds of Macaroni and Cheese

July 21st, 2014

Last Friday, Land O’Lakes stopped by the Second Harvest Heartland warehouse in Maplewood with a truckload of macaroni and cheese from their First Run program. This 40,000 pound donation, raised the total pounds donated by Land O’Lakes in 2014 to nearly 115,000 pounds – the equivalent of more than 89,000 meals.

This is the Land O’Lakes First Run Program’s eighty-second donation, nationwide, since it was established in 2010. The program is committed to donating truckloads of fresh product year round, made specifically for food banks to help alleviate hunger. As part of the First Run Program, Land O’Lakes has donated more than 2.8 million pounds of product to Feeding America food banks across the country.

“As a national, farmer-owned cooperative, Land O’Lakes is committed to help the growing number of people who struggle to put food on their table,” said Land O’Lakes Foundation Executive Director Lydia Botham. “The First Run program provides a unique opportunity for Land O’Lakes to provide a fresh, nutritious product to families that can enjoy it.”

Land O’Lakes and Second Harvest Heartland have a partnership that goes beyond products donated through the First Run Program and includes significant financial support and employee volunteerism.

This year, Land O’Lakes has generously donated $35,000 in support of Let’s Kick Hunger WCCO Radiothon and our annual gala – Dish: Cuisine for Change and their employees have contributed a total of 564 volunteer hours. We would like to thank Land O’Lakes for this First Run donation and the many other contributions made throughout the year.

Learn more about opportunities to donate food or your time with Second Harvest Heartland visit

Food Mania Challengers Help Provide 150,000 Meals

July 17th, 2014

Each year, local businesses rally to participate in a friendly food fight called Food Mania to help raise funds and collect food for Second Harvest Heartland.  This year, Food Mania competitors raised over $37,000, more than 365 volunteer hours, and collected 4,246 pounds of food items to distribute to those who are hungry in our community. That is enough to provide more than 150,000 meals to our neighbors in need!

From all of us at Second Harvest Heartland and on behalf of those we serve, sincere thanks to Eide Bailly; O’Meara Leer Wagner & Kohl, and Schwan’s Consumer Brands and all of the challenger companies who participated.

For more information on hosting your own Food & Fund drive, visit


Accounting: Eide Bailly
Food: Schwan’s Consumer Brands
Law: O’Meara Leer Wagner & Kohl
Kitchen Sink: TCI Business Capital

Accounting: Eide Bailly
Food: Schwan’s Consumer Brands
Law: O’Meara Leer Wagner & Kohl
Kitchen Sink: TCI Business Capital

Arthur Chapman Kettering Smetak & Pikala
City & County Credit Union
O’Meara Leer Wagner & Kohl
Wilford Geske & Cook

TCI Business Capital

What Happens When Food Passes Its Peak at the Grocery Store?

July 16th, 2014

At retail grocery stores, unsold produce that has passed its peak is regularly removed from shelves to make space for newer, fresher produce. So what happens to this perfectly edible food once it is removed from the store shelves?

Second Harvest Heartland’s Food Rescue Program partners with retail grocers in our communities to divert food being removed from their store shelves to help feed hungry people. Every day, the professional Food Rescue Fleet and our trained food shelf partners collect thousands of pounds of produce, dairy, deli, meat, bakery, and grocery items from more than 275 grocery retail partners. This donated product is distributed to food shelves, soup kitchens and shelters throughout Second Harvest Heartland’s 59 county service area.

A CBS Minnesota news article reports how one local retail grocer, Cub Foods, donates its less-than-perfect food products to Second Harvest Heartland and local food shelves to help feed those in our community who are hungry.

In 2013, Cub stores in the Twin Cities donated more than 9 million pounds of fresh food as part of the Retail Food Rescue program. With Cub’s help, the Retail Food Rescue program represents nearly 40 percent of Second Harvest Heartland total food distribution—a food stream that provides many wholesome and fresh foods.

Thank you to Cub Foods and all of our dedicated retail grocer partners for your commitment to helping us end hunger.

A Good Reminder of Why We Do What We Do

July 15th, 2014

We never know who in our daily work we’re going to touch…until we hear from them. That’s why an unexpected thank you note we received last week touched us so deeply. A client’s note of gratitude—presented below—reminded us why we do what we do: to make sure all of our hungry neighbors have enough food to live healthy and fulfilling lives.

Find out how you can directly help people like the client above at

What Does Hunger Mean to Local Kids?

July 9th, 2014

What does being hungry mean to local kids? We asked kids from the Boys and Girls Club of the Twin Cities, one of the many programs we serve, to share with us what being hungry means to them and how it makes them feel. Their answers are below; please read and consider how you can help kids in our community get the food they need to stay strong and healthy this summer.

What does hunger mean to you?

“Not getting enough food to eat to make you feel full.”
- Desiree*, sixth grade

“Going a long time without eating so you are hungry. Sometimes there is no food around to eat and I get hungry.”
- Penny*, sixth grade

“That you don’t have food.”
- Darian*, second grade

“Hunger is when you can’t eat because there is no food.”
- Alyssa*, first grade

“I know people who are hungry who can’t get food. It’s sad that this happens.”
- Natasha*, sixth grade

How do you feel when you feel hungry?

“My stomach hurts.”
- Marcus*, fourth grade

“I feel like I’m sick.”
- Amy*, fifth grade

“My stomach grumbles and yells at me.”
- Zach*, fourth grade

“I feel like a dinosaur looking for food.”
- Brian*, third grade

“I just think about food all the time.”
- Jill*, fourth grade

Find out how you can help hungry children in your neighborhood at, or donate today to have an immediate and direct impact.

*Names have been changed

Do You Know a Senior Who Could Use a Little More Food Each Month?

July 8th, 2014

Every day, one in seven seniors in Minnesota is faced with the dilemma of not having enough money to pay for food, rent, utilities, medical bills and prescriptions. At times, support from family and friends is just not enough, and they are unable to stretch their dollar far enough to purchase enough food.

Adequate nutrition is essential for this vulnerable population to maintain active, healthy lives. Second Harvest Heartland is committed to identifying and assisting seniors who are at risk of going hungry through the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP). Through this program, we provide a free, monthly box of wholesome food to income-eligible seniors to support their health and wellbeing.

But we need your help.

If you know a senior who could use a little more food each month, help them access the free food they may be eligible for*. Call 651.484.8241 or toll free at 1.800.365.0270, email or visit to help a special senior in your life today.

*Minnesota residents who are 60 years and older and at or below 130% of the poverty level.

Food for Thought: Hunger Relief Issues in the News

July 3rd, 2014

Keep up with the latest food insecurity and hunger relief news, reports and media stories by clicking on the links below.

Economy surges, yet food stamp demand remains high, MPR

Governor Dayton dishes on new plan to provide free meals to hungry Minnesota students, Star Tribune

At some Minnesota clinics, a simple prescription for patient health needs: food, MPR

More and more Americans don’t have enough to eat, USA Today

Schools see free breakfast as key to better learning, MPR

On Campus: Food shelf opens for students at UMD, Star Tribune

Second Harvest Heartland Wins $50,000 Award from Morgan Stanley

July 2nd, 2014

morgan stanley volunteersLast week, Second Harvest Heartland received a $50,000 grant from Morgan Stanley to expand child hunger initiatives. This gift will allow us to provide an additional 18,500 meals to children and families in Minnesota and western Wisconsin.

The grant is part of the latest phase of the Morgan Stanley’s Fill the Plate initiative, a more than $14 million commitment to Feeding America and its network of 200 local food banks (including Second Harvest Heartland) that distribute millions of meals every year to children and families across the United States. As part of the initiative, Morgan Stanley will award more than $4 million over three years to local food banks like Second Harvest Heartland to launch, expand and sustain critical childhood feeding programs. Along with their generous financial support, local Morgan Stanley employees have amplified their commitment by donating their time and volunteering.

“We are honored to be able to help the Second Harvest Heartland food bank in its important fight against child hunger,” said Morgan Stanley Executive Director Mark Gherity. “Giving back to the communities where we live and work is one of Morgan Stanley’s core values.”

Nationwide, child hunger is a critical problem. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, nearly 16 million children across the country lack consistent access to the minimum amounts of nutritious food considered necessary for a healthy life. In Minnesota, this equates to one in six kids not having enough food on any given day.

To see exactly what child hunger looks like in your community, visit Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap tool.

Summer Hunger Meets its Match

June 30th, 2014

Hunger is an issue every month, but the demand for food assistance is high during the summer months when donations are at their lowest. Today, 1 in 10 people in Minnesota and western Wisconsin experience the stress of hunger every day, and need your help this summer.

You can help us, help them—when they need it the most, by becoming a Monthly Giver today. And if you act now, we’ll a generous donor will match your first 3 months, dollar for dollar!

Your monthly gift goes a long way!

Thanks to $5,000 in matching funds, your first 3 months of gifts can be DOUBLED when you become a Monthly Giver before July 31, 2014.*

Just $10 each month can provide 37 meals. And with the match, you can provide more than 220 meals in just three months!

This summer, help us provide hope to our hungry neighbors by becoming a Monthly Giver.

By making a donation each month, you’ll have a tremendous impact on our mission to end hunger in our community. Our Monthly Giving program is a source of consistent, reliable support we can depend on in the future.

Our Monthly Giving program is easy to join. Become a Monthly Giver and your donations will be processed automatically. You can change your contribution at any time online or by phone.

Please partner with us monthly to ensure that hungry children, families and seniors in our community have food on the table when they need it most this summer. Become a Monthly Giver now and DOUBLE your impact for the next 3 months!

*Good until July 31, 2014 or up to $5,000 met in matching funds.

There’s Still Time! Help Provide Meals for Many Through Bremer Bank’s $2-for-$1 Match This June

June 26th, 2014

Hunger can affect anyone, anywhere, at any age. That’s why Bremer Bank is partnering with several area Feeding America food banks, including Second Harvest Heartland, to help end hunger in our local communities through the Meals for Many campaign.

For every dollar donated between June 16 and June 28, 2014, Bremer Bank will match your donation $2-for-$1, up to $35,000! Make a donation at your local Bremer Bank or at

Or if you’re looking for a fun, low-cost way to contribute, take the Meals for Many quiz here and share your results. For every Meals for Many quiz that’s completed, Bremer Bank will donate $1 — up to $5,000.

Thank you, Bremer Bank, for your continued support of hunger relief in our community!

Supporting Second Harvest Heartland a Family Affair

June 25th, 2014

One Twin Cities family has grown its support for Second Harvest Heartland as the organization itself has grown—and both are better for it. Glenn McCabe and Laurel Wright have supported Second Harvest Heartland in various ways since 2006 and have involved their sons, Jack and Ben, over the years.

“Our lot in life is pretty darn good,” says Glenn. “It is important that we use our good fortune to help others.” Glenn, executive vice president at Meridian Land Company, is on the board of Second Harvest Heartland, and a generous financial supporter. “This organization is about more than collecting and distributing food,” he stresses. “It’s very creative—from growing Retail Food Rescue and Share Fresh (capturing of ag surplus), to promoting access to SNAP. Also, its efficient operations have always appealed to us.”

Laurel, a physician, believes strongly that solving hunger with nutritious food is important. “Food is one of our biggest health problems. Second Harvest Heartland is not just about getting more calories to those who need it, but is committed to getting them more fresh and nutritious food, too,” she says. “Food is the most basic need we have; with all the need out there, our connection to Second Harvest Heartland is a good fit.”

Glenn and Laurel know that getting food to people is about more than collecting food themselves and donating it. “When the kids were younger, we asked their friends to bring food as the gift for their birthday parties, to donate to those who are hungry.” Since then, Jack and Ben have volunteered at the Golden Valley site to repack bulk donated food into family-size amounts that go directly to food shelves and other meal programs. In eighth grade, Jack convinced his teammates during his schools’ Business Day to donate all proceeds from their group’s business venture to Second Harvest Heartland. Several hundred dollars went directly to helping those in need. “We also learned that Jack had written a paper in sixth grade about hunger; he clearly felt strongly about this issue,” notes Glenn.

From support of events like Dish and Vintner Ball, to volunteering, to providing board expertise, Glenn and the entire family have provided significant time, talent and resources to living the mission of Second Harvest Heartland. “I am always very proud to invite people to support Second Harvest Heartland,” adds Laurel.

We at Second Harvest Heartland sincerely thank Glenn McCabe and his committed family for their years of helping hungry people in our community!

Miles for Meals: Extreme Charity Run Across Minnesota to Fight Hunger

June 23rd, 2014

In an effort to raise awareness and fight hunger, Mark Yount and Jeff Burmeister are doing the unthinkable this week. They’re running 200 miles in five days across our great state! Read their story, published by Twin Cities in Motion, here.

To learn more about Run for Hunger and how you can donate or join the run, go to

Image courtesy of Twin Cities in Motion.

Donor Spotlight: The Ray and Florence Family Foundation

June 20th, 2014

As our agency partners continue to experience high need for food, the support of our generous donors is more important than ever.

The Ray and Florence Family Foundation takes a unique approach to supporting Second Harvest Heartland by donating capital gifts in the form of a refrigerated cooling unit at our Golden Valley facility, a floor scrubber, pallet jacks and even an entire delivery truck. According to Ken Berglund of the family foundation, it’s important for them to see their gifts in action, and capital improvements are a perfect way to do just that.

Sincere thanks to the Berglund family of the Ray and Florence Family Foundation for their unique and generous approach to help us end hunger!

General Mills Feeds the Need with Employee Food & Fund Drive

June 18th, 2014

General Mills provides significant financial support to Second Harvest Heartland through initiatives like Share Fresh, employee match donations, and major event and campaign sponsorships.

One of the most inspiring displays of support is their commitment to engaging their employees by matching employee donations. During their Feed the Need Food & Fund Drive held each year, General Mills employees collect food and also raise funds that are then matched monetarily by the General Mills Foundation.

Through an online virtual drive, silent auction, cookbook sales, and many other activities, employees raised over $120,000 and 4,000 pounds of food. In celebration of its 60th Anniversary, the General Mills Foundation matched both 2-to-1 generating an additional $242,544. This drive alone will provide an additional 1.35 million meals.

Thank you General Mills and the General Mills Foundation for your continued support in the fight to end hunger!

Help Provide Meals for Many Through Bremer Bank’s $2-for-$1 Match This June

June 16th, 2014

Hunger can affect anyone, anywhere, at any age. That’s why Bremer Bank is partnering with several area Feeding America food banks, including Second Harvest Heartland, to help end hunger in our local communities through the Meals for Many campaign.

For every dollar donated between June 16 and June 28, 2014, Bremer Bank will match your donation $2-for-$1, up to $35,000! Make a donation at your local Bremer Bank or at

Or if you’re looking for a fun, low-cost way to contribute, take the Meals for Many quiz here and share your results. For every Meals for Many quiz that’s completed, Bremer Bank will donate $1 — up to $5,000.

Thank you, Bremer Bank, for your continued support of hunger relief in our community!

Catch a Free Meal This Summer!

June 10th, 2014

During the school year, more than 300,000 Minnesota children receive free or reduced-price school meals. But when summer arrives, only about 15 percent of these kids continue to access supportive meal programs. To fill this gap, Second Harvest Heartland is once again teaming up with the Minnesota Department of Education to help connect kids with meals this summer.

The Summer Food Service Program provides free meals to children 18 and under to fill this gap.

Looking for a free meal near you?

Finding free summer meals for kids is easy! Meals served at the sites published on our Summer Meal Map are open to all children during their meal service times and dates and are completely free to kids under 18. Use the Summer Meal Map to find free meal site near you, or call or text 612.516.3663 for locations.

Interested in learning more information about who can eat at meal sites (kids!), what they need to bring (nothing!), or what the requirements are (none!)? Click here for answers to your FAQs about SFSP meal sites!

Most Needed Donated Items

June 9th, 2014

While we appreciate every single food donation, we strive to offer a diversity of food that helps balance nutritional intake and diet, especially important to children, seniors and those with health challenges. Second Harvest Heartland also offers various household products that provide families with additional assistance in making ends meet. Below is a list of our most need items.

To find out ways to donate food, click here.
To start your own Food & Fund Drive, click here.

Volunteer Spotlight of the Month: Heather Hammond

June 5th, 2014

“Personally, my big thing is being able to connect people,” Heather Hammond explains. At Second Harvest Heartland, she’s found ample opportunities to do just that.

This spring, Heather is returning for a second internship at Second Harvest Heartland. In a departure from her previous role managing events geared at engaging our local business partners, Heather is working with Second Harvest Heartland’s Produce Capture Institute.

With a generous grant from Cargill, Second Harvest Heartland has partnered with 7 other food banks around the country to form the Produce Capture Institute. The Institute researches how food banks in agriculturally rich regions can help tap the 6.1 billion pounds of agricultural surplus that goes unharvested or unsold each year in the United States.

“Second Harvest Heartland cares not about just feeding our own neighbors, but helping other people feed their communities. It’s something much greater than any other organization I’ve been a part of,” Heather said.

As the Produce Capture Institute intern, Heather researches the Feeding America’s 205 member food banks’ need for fresh produce and their current supply chains for accessing produce. She has found that some food banks’ produce travels more than 700 miles to get to its destination.

“We’re creating stronger network communications around agricultural surplus so that the eight members of the Produce Capture Institute can get that produce to the Feeding America network as economically and efficiently as possible,” Heather said.

As with her first internship, the true test of Heather’s success will be getting people to make those connections themselves by creating a sustainable produce exchange and communications system.

Heather is optimistic that her efforts and the Produce Capture Institute will result in millions of more meals for the 1 in 10 children, seniors and families in our community who experience the stress of hunger daily.

“It’s like a puzzle,” she explained. “Everything’s out there. It’s just how it all fits together.”

Thanks for Making This Year’s Dish a Success!

June 3rd, 2014

Sincere thanks to all of our friends who supported the work of Second Harvest Heartland last Thursday evening at Dish: Cuisine for Change, presented by Cub Foods. The event attracted roughly 1,100 guests and raised nearly $700,000.

Thanks to the generous support of our community, we’ll be able to provide more than 2.5 million meals to our hungry neighbors in need. We are humbled and grateful to our sponsors, restaurants, auction donors, individual attendees, volunteers and other supporters for the incredible generosity displayed that evening. Thank you!

Whether you were able to attend or not, we invite you to view photos from the event here and download a recipe booklet from this year’s participating restaurants and enjoy the cuisine from the event in your own home! 

Save the date for next year’s Dish event: Thursday, April 30, 2015 at the Saint Paul RiverCentre.

We Challenge You! Join the Ultimate Food Fight to End Hunger

May 28th, 2014

You still have time to sign up for this year’s Food Mania challenge! During the two weeks of June 16 – 27, local accounting and law firms, food companies and everyone else will battle it out to see who can raise the most food, funds and volunteer hours for Second Harvest Heartland. If you’re looking for a fun charity event for your organization this summer, Food Mania is a great way to build excitement in the office and have fun with your colleagues—all for the fight against hunger.

Last year, Food Mania participants raised nearly $45,000, collected more than 16,000 pounds of food, and donated more than 650 volunteer hours. Step up to the plate and help us meet our goal of providing more than 175,000 meals for our hungry neighbors this summer!

Register today at