Volunteers Make a Difference

January 14th, 2015

At Second Harvest Heartland, we depend on our volunteers. Last year, we benefited from 147,000 hours of volunteer time. Without this tremendous contribution, our hungry neighbors would not receive the food they need.

So just how many volunteers do we need each day? Read below for the number of volunteers needed daily for three important volunteer opportunities, and how you can help.

Check out 2harvest.org/volunteer to view all volunteer opportunities (there are at least 20 volunteer opportunities on a regular basis!) or contact us directly at 651.282.0901. We don’t want to miss an opportunity to work with you!

Cold Temps Lead to Tough Decisions

January 12th, 2015

Being food insecure is difficult any time of year, but in the winter there is additional financial strain. Many people find it harder to make ends meet when their heating costs and other utilities increase during these cold winter months. The recent Hunger in America 2014 survey determined that 71 percent of the people Second Harvest Heartland serves had to choose between paying for utilities or food at least once in the past year. The recent frigid temperatures often make matters even worse.

Some of our clients shared the difficult choices they have to make in the winter:

“I do my best with the electric bill in the winter, but sometimes I fall behind. This month I didn’t pay my mortgage to help pay for everything else like food,” said Karen of Minneapolis.

“It’s too expensive to get fresh produce in the winter so I just boil a lot of potatoes and eat canned fruit because that’s what I can afford,” said Linnea of Minneapolis.

“In the winter I get sicker and my medicine costs a lot. This month I spent over $300 at the pharmacy and I have nothing left for anything else,” said Sandy of Fridley.

“My husband’s hours go down in the winter months and it really takes a hit on our family. It’s hard for us to continue to pay all the bills and feed kids,” said Kathy* of New Brighton.

Donations decrease after the holidays, but our hungry neighbors need help all winter long. Visit 2harvest.org/donate to provide a gift during this time of greater need.

*name has been changed at the request of the client

Staff Share Their Favorite Moments of 2014

January 9th, 2015

As we begin the New Year, the staff at Second Harvest Heartland often takes a moment to reflect on the past year. Our team has accomplished so many things this year to help local children, families and seniors get the food they need, so we asked them—what were your favorite moments of 2014 and what are you looking forward to in 2015? Below are some of their responses.

“Visiting every fresh produce distribution site that our agency partners were running in Minneapolis this past summer. The enthusiasm of the agency’s volunteers, the beauty of the fresh produce that had been donated by local Minnesota farmers, and the gratitude of the community members who were receiving this much-needed fresh food, was overwhelming. It was a sheer pleasure for me to make these visits and witness such a positive contribution to our community.”
– Lisa, agency relations account specialist

“Delivering more than 16,000 pounds of grocery items to a local agency partner. They were short on help, but everyone there did an awesome job of running the product through narrow doors on two-wheelers.”
– Ken, retail food rescue driver

The KARE11 Food Fight was an amazing event with so many great partners and individuals stepping forward to support our work with food and financial donations. This year we had hoped to at least achieve year one’s success of collecting 860,000 pounds and were unsure of how things were going to come through. I received a call from Mandy Whiteside, manager of strategic partnerships with KARE11, while we were watching the news anchors trailers full of food being unloaded at Second Harvest Heartland. She called me to ask a clarifying question and said she was “shaking right now as we already have 1 million pounds in” and we hadn’t even gotten the totals from the food being unloaded yet! We went on to surpass our goal and raised 1,429,767 pounds which was a Second Harvest Heartland record for a Food & Fund Drive event with a 66 percent increase over the amazing results of last year.”
– Heather, corporate engagement officer

The Hunger Hero award reception and presentation last May in Golden Valley, where all of the Hunger Hero award winners came together to get to know each other and share how they supported us in the past year. Having partners like General Mills, CH Robinson, Target, Walmart, the Pioneer Press and John Svihel, one of our largest local growers, all in the same room was very energizing and inspiring. I can’t wait for the next event like this!”
– Tony, director of food sourcing

“The produce process that evolved after the launch of NAV13, Second Harvest Heartland’s new warehousing and financial management system. This included daily produce freshness assessment and agency notifications. The emails I received regarding the exceptional quality and quantity of produce and appreciation for the additional communication were very rewarding.”
– Jean, food rescue specialist

“The produce distribution I had the chance to volunteer for in August. This new project was a joint effort with Agency Relations and Volunteer Services for the purpose of helping agencies build capacity for produce distribution in high-volume months. The site, New Millennium Academy (a partner of CAPI), is located just off Broadway in North Minneapolis. The weather was glorious, the produce was of amazing quality, the partner was extremely well-organized, the volunteers were totally energized and the clients loved their produce. On that particular distribution we were able to distribute fresh cabbage, bananas, cucumbers, watermelons and bakery items. It was great to see so many components come together so easily in such a big way….this day give me a chance to see Second Harvest Heartland at its very best!”
– Jessica, director of volunteer services

Thank you to everyone who made this a successful year!

Want to get involved? Visit 2harvest.org for opportunities.

With New Opportunity, Volunteers Help Distribute More Fresh Produce

January 7th, 2015

A new opportunity for volunteers to get their hands dirty and get healthier foods into the emergency food system is in full swing at our West facility in Golden Valley. Since December, volunteers have been filling shifts in the new Produce Bagging Center, an innovation of the Produce Capture Institute at Second Harvest Heartland.

The USDA estimates that in Minnesota alone, more than 350 million pounds of produce goes unharvested or unsold each year. At Second Harvest Heartland, we’re working to discover not just how to rescue this produce, but also how to safely and efficiently move the food to our agency partners in Minnesota, western Wisconsin and partner food banks across the country.

Second Harvest Heartland has committed to going after those pounds and we can’t do it alone. Through the support of volunteers working in the Produce Bagging Center, the goal is to add an additional 2.5 million pounds of fresh produce to the emergency food system in the next year.

Here’s what some of our recent Produce Bagging Center volunteers had to say about their experience with this new opportunity:

“I felt a bit special being part of a pilot program and felt that my time and opinion really mattered.”

“It’s a good feeling that my work in not only helping/nourishing my neighbors, but also helps out community by saving viable food. It also honors all the work and resources of the farmers that produced the food.”

“It was fun to be part of a new opportunity and hope that Second Harvest Heartland can continue this program.”

Join us in making this pilot a success and get more fresh food to our hungry neighbors in need by signing up for a Produce Bagging shift today at 2harvest.org/volunteer.

Behind the Numbers: Our Warehouses

January 2nd, 2015

If you’ve ever visited one of our warehouses before, you’ve likely seen the hustle and bustle of staff, heard the beeping of forklifts or received instructions from a production associate about a volunteer task.

Second Harvest Heartland collects and distributes hundreds of thousands of pounds of food every day, and our warehouse team members play a crucial role in this process. Since 2009, we have more than doubled our warehouse capacity to increase efficiency and productivity. Our East warehouse in Maplewood is our main distribution center, and our West warehouse in Golden Valley is our new service center. Learn more about our two warehouses and their respective functions below.

Thanks to the hard work of our distribution and service center team members, we are doing more now than ever to close the missing meal gap.

New Year’s Resolution: Help End Hunger with Monthly Giving

December 30th, 2014

The new year may be just a few days away, but the demand for food assistance continues to rise in our community. Today, 1 in 10 people in Minnesota and western Wisconsin face hunger on any given day—from the single mom down the street to the friendly clerk at your local convenience store.

You can help.

Become a Monthly Giver before January 31, 2015,* and your first 6 months of gifts will be DOUBLED, thanks to $10,000 in matching funds from a generous donor.

Just $10 each month can provide 37 meals. And with the match, you can provide more than 440 meals in just six months!

This year, pledge to DO MORE and GIVE MORE.

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

Hurry! The chance to DOUBLE your impact expires January 31, 2015. Give today here.

*Good until January 31, 2015 or up to $10,000 met in matching funds.

Make a Difference with Your Kids: Bring Your Child to Serve Day 2015

December 23rd, 2014

Each year, Americans across the country come together on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to serve their neighbors and communities in honor of Dr. King. As part of this national movement, we’re once again hosting “Bring Your Child to Serve Day” on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

We’re excited to offer parents and their children an opportunity to volunteer together and generate awareness around the issue of hunger!

Event: 400 youth ages eight and older and their parents will work in shifts sorting and packing food for the nearly 600,000 individuals in need of hunger relief in our community.

When: Monday, January 19, 2015
9:30 – 11:30 a.m. (shift full)
1:00 – 3:00 p.m. (shift full)
3:30 – 5:30 p.m. (shift full)
6:00 – 8:00 p.m. (volunteers needed for this shift!)

Where: Second Harvest Heartland West
6325 Sandburg Road
Golden Valley, MN 55427

Bremer Bank, a longtime supporter of community service with a keen interest in hunger relief, is sponsoring the event. Thank you, Bremer Bank!

Need a little more motivation to volunteer? Below are five great reasons to volunteer with us on Bring Your Child to Serve Day.

1. Have fun!
2. Meet new friends
3. Help people in need
4. Explore your interests
5. Build your work resumes and college applications

Please consider joining us on January 19 to honor the late Dr. King and serve those in need in our community! Sign up for a volunteer shift here.

Volunteers: What an Impressive Year You Had!

December 18th, 2014

Sometimes, words alone can’t do the job of describing the value of our volunteers. Just the sheer number of volunteers that we had in 2014—nearly 32,000—astounds us. It gets even more impressive when we look a little deeper into a few other facts about Second Harvest Heartland volunteers.

We created an infographic to recognize not only the volume of the work, but the impact our volunteers have in helping us end hunger through community partnerships.

If you’re a volunteer, enjoy! And if you’re looking for a great cause that can use your talents—imagine what you could add to the lives of our hungry neighbors. Visit 2harvest.org/volunteer for volunteer opportunities.

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!