Fun Ways to Fight Hunger This Fall

September 30th, 2014

Every dollar, every food item and every donated hour matters. Join us this fall in one of our many campaigns, events, volunteer opportunities or fundraisers, and truly make a difference in the lives of our hungry neighbors.

Below are just some of the ways you can help fight hunger this fall.

Cub Cares
Cub Foods and Gopher Athletics have teamed up to launch Cub Cares, a hunger awareness program generating community support for Second Harvest Heartland and area food banks. From Sunday, October 12 to Saturday, October 25, customers will be asked to round up their purchase at the checkout register as a donation to help fight hunger in their community. Look for the Round Up sign featuring Goldy Gopher and Round Up during Cub Cares!

For more information, visit cub.com.

City Pages Iron Fork
Thursday, November 6 | 7-10pm International Market Square
Cuisine, cocktails and competition! Feast on an eclectic variety of cuisine from over 25 local restaurants. Cheer on six chefs battling to create the most appetizing dish with a secret ingredient revealed that night. Watch top local bartenders vie for the title of “Absolut Mixologist.” Tickets include food, beer, wine, bubbly and liquor sampling, and proceeds benefit Second Harvest Heartland.

Purchase general admission or VIP tickets at citypages.com/ironfork.

Walk to End Hunger
Thursday, November 27, 2014 | 7am-10am Mall of America
Give back before giving thanks this Thanksgiving! Take part in the Walk to End Hunger, a fun 5k walk for the whole family. Two rides at Nickelodeon Universe will be open for walkers and the route will have music, balloon animals, Santa and craft areas for kids. Sign up to walk with Team Second Harvest Heartland, start your own walk team or give a donation of thanks.

For more details, visit 2harvest.org/walk.

Virtual Food & Fund Drives
Ongoing | Online
Start an online Food & Fund Drive, and make a huge impact on the communities we serve in just a few clicks! Anyone can host a Food & Fund Drive, and each drive can be custom-built to fit your abilities.

Start your Food & Fund Drive today at 2harvest.org/drive.

For a full list of upcoming events, visit 2harvest.org/events.

Help Fight Senior Hunger in October

September 29th, 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.

That’s why we’ve teamed up with UnitedHealthcare and WCCO-TV again this year to help our neighbors who are seniors realize that there are programs available that can help them get the food they need.

Now through October 19th, you’ll see Public Service Announcements and other promotions on WCCO-TV that will encourage seniors and their caregivers to connect with resources like food shelf locations and information, congregant dining and transportation options and more. New this year is an opportunity for everyone to support seniors experiencing hunger. For donations made now through October 31, UnitedHealthcare will match them $1-for-$1 up to $40,000.

Hunger is a fact of life for many Minnesota seniors, and thousands do not know where they’ll find their next meal. We’re fortunate to have great partners in UnitedHealthcare and WCCO-TV to help raise awareness about the issue of senior hunger, and connect those in need with the programs and resources that can help.

Visit 2harvest.org/seniorhelp to learn more about senior hunger, find local resources or make your donation.

Canstruction: Together, We CAN Make a Difference

September 26th, 2014

This Saturday and Sunday, come out to the Mall of America to vote for your favorite colossal sculptures built from thousands of ordinary cans of food—all of which will be donated to Second Harvest Heartland!

Canstruction, a national charity committed to ending hunger, is a unique design/build competition where local design firms go head-to-head to see who can create the most artistic sculpture out of canned goods. The annual event, presented by the American Institute of Architects and the Society of Design Administration, is a way to showcase local designers and collect food for food shelves all at the same time.

You can check out all of the sculptures and vote for your favorite through the weekend at the Mall of America Rotunda. All of the food used in the event will be donated to Second Harvest Heartland and our network of food shelves. Mall of America visitors are also encouraged to make a financial donation at the event.

Thanks to those who are participating or just visiting Canstruction this weekend – all of which helps build awareness of hunger in our community! Together, we CAN make a difference.

Click here for more information.

Local Kids “Make Choices” About Hunger

September 25th, 2014

In a classroom at Breck Middle School in Golden Valley, Minn., a student stacks 15 candies on top of each other with care, preparing for the moment when he could enjoy them.

The classroom just finished the “Making Choices” budget simulation activity from the Guide to Hands-on Learning, a collection of educational activities Second Harvest Heartland created to teach kids about hunger.

In “Making Choices,” a roll of candies represents the budget that a family of four has to spend on meeting basic needs like housing, transportation and food. The activity helps students imagine what hungry seniors, families and children are experiencing so they understand the impact volunteering can have more deeply.

As the kids play, they quickly realize their candy budget simply wouldn’t cover all their needs and debate how they should allocate their funds.

“I guess I’m going without healthcare,” one of the students said, pushing more candies to housing so his family could afford a two-bedroom home.

This opens up a discussion with the students as to how the cost of food is connected to other needs like housing, transportation and childcare. After the students plan their budgets, they discuss how the cost of food is connected to other needs like housing, transportation and childcare.

You can find the full Guide to Hands-on Learning here and use these activities to teach youth about fighting hunger.

Got Milk?

September 22nd, 2014

Milk is the top nutritious food or beverage product requested by food shelf clients, according to a recent Feeding America survey. However, nearly half of food banks get fewer than 24 gallons of milk donated per week.

To get more dairy products to local households in need, the National Dairy Council recently awarded Second Harvest Heartland a $10,000 grant. Funds will be used to source more milk, cheese, yogurt and other dairy items that we can send to our network of food shelves.

To learn how you can help bring even more milk to local food shelves, please visit The Great American Milk Drive.

The National Dairy Council has been a partner of Feeding America since 2012.

Local Gardeners Can Fight Hunger through AmpleHarvest.org

September 18th, 2014

Second Harvest Heartland is always looking to find new sources of fresh fruits and vegetables for our neighbors in need. Programs like Retail Food Rescue and Share Fresh MN are a significant source of fresh foods, but individual gardeners can also have a huge impact on a local level.

With the help of AmpleHarvest.org, a free nationwide program that enables home gardeners to easily donate excess garden produce to local food pantries, gardeners can help their neighbors in need by reaching into their backyard instead of their back pocket. More than 7,000 food pantries across all 50 states have already registered with more signing up every day. Since 2011, local growers have donated more than 20 million pounds of freshly harvested produce to over 7,000 food pantries across all 50 states.

In the Twin Cities metro area alone, more than 30 food pantries are registered to accept produce through AmpleHarvest.org. If you’re a gardener with extra produce to share, you can find the nearest participating food pantry here. If you’re a food pantry and would like to register with AmpleHarvest.org, click here.

It’s never been easier for gardeners to make a significant impact on hunger in our communities, so please consider helping your local food pantry this summer!

Join Us This Saturday for Happy Hour for Hunger Relief!

September 17th, 2014

Do you like giving back to your community? Do you like beer?

Then we have the event for you!

Our friends at Summit Brewing Company are hosting a Happy Hour for Hunger Relief at their St. Paul beer hall this Saturday, September 20, from 4-9 pm, to help raise awareness of hunger as part of Hunger Action Month. The event is free to attend, but make sure to bring a non-perishable food item for a free Summit pint glass, or a bag of groceries for a customized t-shirt, screen printed on-site. Enjoy a specially-made Extra Pale Ale served with mandarin oranges, food from the Hot Indian food truck, and live music from The Dan Ol’ Tri’ole band.

Join us!

When: Saturday, September 20, 4-9pm

Where: Summit Beer Hall, 910 Montreal Circle, St Paul, MN 55102

Why: Join Summit Brewery and Second Harvest Heartland as we go orange for Hunger Action Month to raise awareness of hunger in Minnesota.

Cost: Free to attend. Bring a non-perishable food item for a free Summit pint glass, or bring a bag of food for a customized t-shirt, screen printed on-site. Fifty percent of beer sales will be donated to Second Harvest Heartland.

Food: The Hot Indian food truck

Music: The Dang Ol’ Tri’ole band

Fight Hunger. Spark Change. Support Fresh Food Capacity.

September 15th, 2014

This fall, Second Harvest Heartland is working with Walmart and Feeding America to fight hunger with several of our partners – and we need your help. Your vote for Second Harvest Heartland will help us win $60,000 to be shared with nine of our food shelf partners, helping get even more fresh foods from our region’s farms and retail stores into the homes of people who would otherwise go without.

From purchasing refrigerators, expanding special produce distribution events in their neighborhoods, and remodeling spaces to highlight fresh foods, each partner has exciting plans to increase the amount of fresh foods they distribute.  Your support will improve the health and well-being of thousands of people throughout the Upper Midwest this year.

Visit walmart.com/fighthunger and cast one vote per day for Second Harvest Heartland between September 15 and October 5.

Participating Agency Partner Programs:
North Anoka County Emergency Food Shelf (NACE), East Bethel
Neighborhood House, St. Paul
Manna Food Pantry, Worthington
Western Community Action – The Kitchen Table, Marshall
Monticello Help Center, Monticello
Pillsbury United Communities – Waite House & Brian Coyle Centers, Minneapolis
New Creation Baptist Church Food Shelf, Minneapolis
Southern Anoka Community Assistance (SACA) Food Shelf, Columbia Heights
Rescue Now Services: Good Works Food Shelf, Minneapolis

Stay Local for Hunger Action Month

September 11th, 2014

September is Hunger Action Month, and we’re asking you to help us fight hunger in our community—all month long. Thanks to the support of local businesses and organizations, it’s never been easier to participate in Hunger Action Month in fun and unique ways!

Attend a screening of The Starfish Throwers documentary
The Starfish Throwers documentary film will screen at The Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul at St. Anthony Main Theatre from Friday, September 12 through Thursday, September 18. The award-winning project focuses on three passionate people fighting hunger, across the globe–in their own unique ways. The film features Minneapolis’ own “sandwich man” Allan Law. For more information, visit thestarfishthrowers.com.

Attend the Happy Hour for Hunger Relief fundraiser at Summit Brewing Company
Our friends at Summit Brewing Company are hosting a Happy Hour for Hunger Relief at the Summit Beer Hall on Saturday, September 20 from 4-9 pm. The event is free to attend, but make sure to bring a non-perishable food item for a free Summit pint glass, or a bag of groceries for a screen printed t-shirt on-site. Enjoy a specially-made Extra Pale Ale served with mandarin oranges, food from the Hot Indian food truck, and live music from The Dang Ol’ Tri’ole. For more information, visit www.summitbrewing.com.

Order the “Second Harvest Heartland” pizza at Galactic Pizza
Galactic Pizza donates $1 to Second Harvest Heartland every time a customer orders the namesake pizza, “The Second Harvest Heartland.” Stop by and help make a difference today (2917 Lyndale Ave S. in Minneapolis). For more information, visit www.galacticpizza.com.

Visit 2harvest.org/HAM for other ways to fight hunger this September.

Double Your Impact this September, Volunteer During the Double Down Challenge

September 8th, 2014

Help us hit our goal of 10,000 volunteer hours in September! Every hour you volunteer for Second Harvest Heartland will be matched with a $5 donation from Bremer Bank, up to a total of $50,000! That’s enough to provide 485,000 meals to our neighbors in need!

Getting involved is easy—gather some co-workers, family or friends and sign up to volunteer! Morning, afternoon, evening and even weekend shifts are available for both individual and group opportunities at different locations through the Twin Cities.

Visit 2harvest.org/volunteer to sign up for a volunteer shift today.

Visit 2harvest.org/ham to find other ways to get involved in Hunger Action Month.

Go Orange Today for Hunger Relief

September 4th, 2014

This week, we kick off Hunger Action Month, our month-long effort to turn the nation orange in support of hunger-relief.

Today, you can show your support by going orange for Hunger Action Day.

  • Take a picture and show all your friends that you believe we can solve hunger in our community.
  • Dedicate your Facebook and Twitter profiles to hunger awareness for the month.
  • Light up your home or workplace orange.
  • Sign up for a volunteers shift and contribute to the Double Down Challenge, where every hour you volunteer for Second Harvest Heartland during September will be matched with a $5 donation from Bremer Bank, up to a total of $50,000! Visit 2harvest.org/volunteer to sign up for a volunteer shift today.

For a list of all the ways you can get involved today, and every day this month, visit 2harvest.org/HAM.

How SNAP is Changing Lives

September 2nd, 2014

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) often provides a first line of defense against hunger in our communities—it enables households to pay for groceries during tough times, and allows individuals to purchase healthier food they may not have been able to afford on their own. But the reality is, one in four people who qualify for SNAP don’t access their benefits.

Second Harvest Heartland’s SNAP Outreach Program works with organizations in the community to help inform clients about this valuable food resource that already exists. Our SNAP Outreach Specialists increase awareness about the availability of SNAP benefits and provide enrollment assistance to eligible individuals and families.

We hear from these families every day about how grateful they are of our outreach specialists and of the program itself, and how it has changed their lives for the better. Below are some of those notes.

  • “I can finally go shopping at the grocery store for the first time in six years!”
  • “I finally can have some choice in what I eat.”
  • “I am a single father of three, and was just laid off from my job. I’m still trying to find full-time work, but this helps a lot. Thank you!”
  • “I am a senior who just lost my job after 19 years. SNAP has helped me stay strong and healthy while I look for more work.”

Need Assistance?
To contact a SNAP Outreach Specialist, please click here or call 651.209.7963 or toll free at 1.888.339.3663 ext 7963.

Help Feed Hungry Seniors in Your Community by Volunteering

August 28th, 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.

Here at Second Harvest Heartland, we rely on volunteers to help get more food to seniors in our community so they can maintain their health, independence and general well-being.

The Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) at Second Harvest Heartland provides a monthly box of wholesome food to more than 9,000 seniors. This year, we opened nearly 15 new distribution sites, and continue working to better serve underrepresented areas in the metro area and greater Minnesota.

Volunteers provide crucial support to the CSFP program:

  • Navigating the CSFP registration process can be overwhelming to clients. Phone Application Assistants register senior citizens for eligibility in the CSFP program.
  • Drive-Thru Assistants help seniors and family members pick up their monthly CSFP food box in the Maplewood drive-thru. Each month, volunteers help clients pick up 1,800 boxes of groceries!
  • Grocery Delivery volunteers deliver a CSFP food box to homebound senior citizens once a month.
  • Grocery Distribution Assistants work at area CSFP box distribution sites where seniors receive a monthly box of groceries, making it possible for seniors to get free groceries close to home.

We need you! Help feed hungry seniors in your community by signing up for a volunteer shift here.

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

August 25th, 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 CSFP@2harvest.org or visit 2harvest.org/CSFP 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.

Hidden Hungry in Rural Communities

August 22nd, 2014

Often when one thinks about hunger, it is easy to consider it an urban issue.  However, rural Minnesota families miss 40 million meals each year.

During the FarmFest event held August 5 – 7 in Morgan, Minn., our employees and volunteers were grateful to hear stories about those receiving support and many heartfelt thanks for spreading the word about how farmers can get involved in ending hunger in their communities—because even if hidden, it does exist.

One of these stories was from Tom, a disabled farmer from southern Minnesota.  Tom was in an accident a few years ago and sustained injuries that have prevented him to return to work.

“I never thought I’d be in a situation where I needed help, but I am thankful the food shelf was there,” said Tom. “It amazes me that my neighbors don’t think there is a problem in our community, but I saw more people at the food shelf the first time I visited than I ever thought would be there.”

Although Tom is not in a position to give right now, like us, he believes that farmers across Minnesota are part of the solution to the hunger problem in our state.  He is excited to share the opportunity for his friends and neighbors to get involved in supporting Harvest to End Hunger Minnesota.

To learn more about opportunities for farmers of both edible and non-edible crops to give, visit HarvestToEndHungerMN.org or call 877.547.0245.

Farm to Foodshelf Grant Helps Bring More Produce to Families in Need This Summer

August 21st, 2014

As the “produce capture” season begins, we’re starting to gather hundreds of thousands of pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables from farmers in our region. New financial support is now available via the “Farm to Foodshelf” grant—a $2 million appropriation funded by the State of Minnesota, to help Minnesota agricultural producers and processors offset the cost to harvest and package their donated fruits and vegetables that would otherwise go unharvested or be discarded.

So far this harvest season, we’ve received 1.1 million pounds of produce—double the amount of produce we collected at this time last year.

So where does the produce go? The fresh food is delivered to food shelves and other meal programs across the state, by the six Feeding America food banks serving Minnesota, including Second Harvest Heartland. Neighborhood House, a social service agency serving immigrants, refugees and low-income populations in St. Paul, is just one of those agency partner programs that benefits from donated produce. Already this year, Neighborhood House has distributed 182,517 pounds of produce to 3,015 households consisting of 14,295 individuals—half of which are children.

According to Christine Miller, food support manager at Neighborhood House, the number of community members needing food shelf assistance is increasing. And while the agency’s food shelf’s donations are also increasing, they are not increasing fast enough to meet the demand.

“That’s why extra produce (available through Second Harvest Heartland) is so important,” said Christine. “Eligible families may access food shelf services here one time per month; we’re seeing them come back before the month is over in need of more food—this is especially true during the summer months when kids are home from school and needs to eat three meals at home. This extra produce helps supplement the food they’re already getting from the food shelf.”

Above are photos from a recent produce distribution day at the Neighborhood House food shelf. Bags of corn, potatoes, greens, cucumbers, green beans and peppers were distributed to eligible families; the waiting line stretched around the building and down the street.

We have only just begun!
With at least two more months of the harvest season to come, we have only just begun! Thanks to the State of Minnesota, all the farmers and growers who have donated produce, food shelf staff, Feeding America food banks serving the state, and everyone who has had a part in this exciting program.

Mankato Kids Get VIP Access to Vikings Training Camp

August 18th, 2014


Thanks to the Vikings Children’s Fund Summer Lunch Program, 30 kids got VIP access to the Vikings Training Camp on Monday, August 4. The kids—participants in the summer meal program out of the Echo Foodshelf in Mankato—got on the field to view the Vikings practice, played in the Kids Zone, danced with mascot Viktor the Viking and enjoyed a wholesome lunch. But perhaps the best part of the day was when Vikings players Audie Cole and Charlie Johnson stopped by to sign autographs.

The Vikings Children’s Fund Summer Lunch Program helps secure meals for Minnesota children ages 1 to 18 each summer.

We’d like to offer a big thanks to the Minnesota Vikings’ leadership for all you do to support hungry kids in our community! See all of our photos from the training camp here.

Take Action This September for Hunger Action Month

August 15th, 2014

This September, people across the nation will step up and join the fight against hunger as part of Hunger Action Month. As a supporter of Second Harvest Heartland, you already know that hunger is more prevalent than ever: 1 in 10 people in your neighborhood is at risk of going without a meal today. But together, we can do something about it.

There are many ways for you to get involved this September; we hope you won’t choose just one. From volunteering for the Double Down Challenge to wearing orange for hunger, you can make a big impact with a few simple actions.

Double Your Impact with the Double Down Challenge
Help us hit our goal of 10,000 volunteer hours during the month of September. Every hour you volunteer for Second Harvest Heartland will be matched with a $5 donation from Bremer Bank, up to a total of $50,000! That’s enough to provide 485,000 meals to our neighbors in need! Sign up for a volunteer shift at 2harvest.org/volunteer.

Go Orange
September 4th is Hunger Action Day. Show your support by wearing orange on the 4th, and all month long.

  • Personally: Order your $6 Hunger Action Month t-shirt and be sure to wear it on the 4th and all month long!
  • Physically: Light up your home or workplace orange.
  • Virtually: Dedicate your Facebook and Twitter to hunger awareness for the month. Check 2harvest.org/ham for ideas.
  • Happy Hour for Hunger Relief: Our friends at Summit Brewing Company are hosting a Happy Hour for Hunger Relief at their St. Paul beer hall on Saturday, September 20 from 4-9 pm, to help raise awareness of hunger. The event is free to attend, but make sure to bring a non-perishable food item for a free Summit pint glass, or a bag of groceries for a screen printed t-shirt on-site. Enjoy a specially-made Extra Pale Ale served with mandarin oranges, food from the Hot Indian food truck, and live music from The Dan Ol’ Tri’ole band.

Create Awareness

For more information about Hunger Action Month or how to get involved, visit 2harvest.org/ham.

Volunteer Spotlight of the Month: Carolyn Sayers

August 13th, 2014

When asked why she volunteers, Carolyn Sayers says that giving back was just how she was raised.

Her parents’ stories of seeing people standing in food lines during the Great Depression made a powerful impression on her, and she learned early on to clean her plate and take care of others.

Now retired after a long career as a public school teacher, Carolyn volunteers several times a month at Second Harvest Heartland. She splits her time between sorting donated food at the Golden Valley warehouse, and distributing groceries to local elementary school students through the Meals for Minds program.

And while Carolyn sees the need for emergency food increasing in some places, she is happy to see a new generation of volunteers joining the fight to end hunger.

“It’s really great to be able to see families volunteering together—especially young kids. When I was raising my kids, it was hard to find those opportunities. It’s beautiful to see,” says Carolyn. “People of all ages are needed. The kids who volunteer really have fun. It exposes them to other people’s needs, and makes them feel important.”

Carolyn encourages others to give volunteering a try: it’s fun, easy and good exercise. Most importantly, volunteers like Carolyn see the direct impact that food has on the lives of the families, children and seniors that Second Harvest Heartland serves.

“It’s good to see the smiles and how much people benefit, as well as hear sincere thank yous,” says Carolyn.

To find volunteer opportunities for you, visit 2harvest.org/volunteer.

SNAP Success Stories

August 11th, 2014

One in four people who qualify for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly food stamps) don’t access their benefits. This year, our team of SNAP outreach specialists screened more than 11,500 households and successfully assisted and submitted more than 3,000 applications, helping connect more people with more food in their time of need. Below are a few stories of their successes.