Archive for the ‘General Interest’ Category

There’s Still Time to Help Summer Meet Its Match!

Wednesday, July 23rd, 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 today and DOUBLE your impact for the next 3 months!

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

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

Wednesday, 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

Tuesday, 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?

Wednesday, 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?

Tuesday, 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.

Supporting Second Harvest Heartland a Family Affair

Wednesday, 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!

Donor Spotlight: The Ray and Florence Family Foundation

Friday, 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!

Catch a Free Meal This Summer!

Tuesday, 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!

Volunteer Spotlight of the Month: Heather Hammond

Thursday, 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.”

$2 Million in Legislative Funding To Provide More Fresh Produce to Hungry Minnesotans

Monday, May 19th, 2014

Two million dollars will provide more fresh vegetables and fruits to our neighbors in need, thanks to a new program that will pay growers their costs to harvest donated fresh produce that would otherwise go unused. Second Harvest Heartland led the six Feeding America food banks that serve the state, with support from Hunger-Free Minnesota, in seeking legislation to create this program, through the “Farm to Food Shelf” bill. Chief authored by Representative Jeanne Poppe of Austin and Senators Matt Schmit of Red Wing, Lyle Koenen of Clara City and Kent Eken of Twin Valley, and co-authored by a bipartisan group of 45 legislators from around Minnesota, the bill’s new money will be instrumental in moving millions of pounds of food to eligible food shelves and other meal programs statewide within the next three years.

More than 1 in 10 Minnesota families are food insecure—meaning they lack sustained access to the food needed for a healthy, productive life. Food insecurity is highest in rural Minnesota and the Twin Cities urban core, and for seniors and young families with children. More than 40 percent of those served by Minnesota food shelves are children.

“Second Harvest Heartland sought this legislation because we are committed to pursuing innovative ways to bring more healthy and nutritious food to our hungry neighbors,” said Rob Zeaske, Second Harvest Heartland CEO. “The need is still high in our communities, and we look forward to working with generous growers who want to donate food out of the ground but need help with costs related to ‘picking and packing.’ “

In advocating for this bill over the past 5 months, Second Harvest Heartland received strong support from the Minnesota cluster of Feeding America food banks—including Channel One in Rochester and Second Harvest Northern Lakes in Duluth—and from Hunger-Free Minnesota. Hunger-Free Minnesota’s data showing missing meals by census tract in each legislator’s district proved highly motivational to legislators.

“Hunger in Minnesota is often hidden, but this data and the efforts of many supportive legislators brought hunger into view,” said Zeaske. “Hunger is the largest solvable problem in Minnesota, because we already have the food to solve it.”

Update on Our Community Outreach Programs

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

We support a number of programs that connect hungry people with resources that increase their food security.

Meals for Minds School Pantry Program
With funding from Target, we distributed nearly 510,000 meals at 11 schools in high-need areas across the Twin Cities through Meals for Minds this year. Since the program began, more than 1.2 million meals have been distributed.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Outreach
One in four people who qualify for SNAP (food stamps) don’t access their benefits. This year, our team of 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.

Summer Food Service Program (SFSP)
This program fills the missing meal gap during the summer months for kids who rely on free or reduced-price meals during the school year. This year, nearly 300,000 meals were served in targeted outreach neighborhoods in Minneapolis and St. Paul, a 10 percent increase over last year. Second Harvest Heartland supported SFSP by building community awareness to increase participation and by providing capacity building grants to meal site sponsors.

Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP)
Through this program, we provide a box of food monthly to income-eligible seniors through government food programs. This year, we opened 10 new distribution sites, and continue working to better serve underrepresented areas in the metro area and greater Minnesota.

Getting Involved: How Partners Are Investing Their Support to Help us Reach our Goals

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

Legacy Gift: Wanda Lorentzen

Wanda Lorentzen had a very independent spirit and was a life-long learner, with over 1,200 books in her personal library. She was also very generous and cared deeply for helping those around her and from afar–hosting many foreign exchange students from all over the world.

When Wanda learned of her terminal illness in 2011, she had a discussion with her sister, Deb Gerber, on how to establish a long-term commitment to helping those in need in her community. According to Deb, Wanda decided that food was one of the basic human needs she wanted to support and selected Second Harvest Heartland as the organization she most trusted with her bequest.

Deb is very proud of her sister. Not only for the thoughtful way Wanda planned her Legacy Gift, but for also pursuing her value of independence by taking the steps to self-direct her Legacy while she was still with us.

Getting Involved: How Partners Are Investing Their Support to Help us Reach our Goals

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

Event: Dish: Cuisine for Change

For the 10 years that our annual gala, Dish: Cuisine for Change, has been bringing the community together to help end hunger, Stephani and Jim Tikalsky have only missed attending one year.

After receiving an invitation in the mail for the second annual Dish nine years ago, they attended their first event, and were hooked.

Dish’s unique, fun atmosphere, along with Second Harvest Heartland’s hunger relief work, has brought the Tikalskys back year after year. Stephani has also served on the Dish auction committee for the past six years.

“It’s a great way to spend an evening—good food, drink, auction items and entertainment—and you can feel good about helping make a difference. There’s something powerful when you look around and see all the restaurants who have volunteered their time and food, the volunteers who have worked to make the evening a success, and all the attendees who have come to support a worthwhile cause. It’s exhilarating,” said Stephani.

Buy your Dish tickets today at

Getting Involved: How Partners Are Investing Their Support to Help us Reach our Goals

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

Individual Giving: Jim and Kathy Gelder

Like many of our generous donors, Jim Gelder was first introduced to Second Harvest Heartland through a United Way workplace giving campaign while working for ING Minneapolis. According to Jim, ING’s commitment to investing in the community was a catalyst for his own dedication to helping others. “It established a bond to Second Harvest Heartland,” said Jim.

The bond grew over time. Jim found opportunities to share his passion of hunger relief, including a tour of the Second Harvest Heartland warehouse in Maplewood with his ING colleagues and then visiting the Golden Valley facility with his wife.

“(My wife and I) both have seen firsthand how Second Harvest Heartland does what it does,” said Jim. Retirement has since transported Jim and Kathy to their new home in Arizona, but they continue to support organizations that build strong communities, like Second Harvest Heartland, as well as a food bank in Arizona.

“We’ve developed a heart for feeding people,” said Jim.

Getting Involved: How Partners Are Investing Their Support to Help us Reach our Goals

Monday, April 28th, 2014

Family Foundation: Hognander Family Foundation

From childhood, Orville “Joe” Hognander Jr. says his parents instilled in him a commitment to helping others. He recalls his mother telling him “we must help those less fortunate” and handing him coins to give to disabled WWII vets asking for money on the streets. Moments like these, Joe says, reflect the principles on which he was raised.

Today, through the Hognander Family Foundation, Joe carries on his parent’s legacy of helping others by supporting organizations that strengthen communities. “Second Harvest Heartland serves a crucial role in this effort by providing food to those who need it and it’s important to support this work.”

In addition to being a convenient way to give, Joe believes family foundations, like his at The Minneapolis Foundation, involve the whole family in philanthropy and are a way to pass on family values to younger generations.

Getting Involved: How Partners Are Investing Their Support to Help us Reach our Goals

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

Corporate Engagement: Bremer Bank

Bremer Bank’s long-standing, nearly 10-year partnership with Second Harvest Heartland includes many levels of support, but its generous $50,000 match to inspire the community to volunteer and support hunger relief during Hunger Action Month through the Double Down Challenge, was especially inspiring.

Nearly 3,000 people raised their hands to take on this challenge and provided more than 9,600 hours of service; 1,500 of which were brand new to Second Harvest Heartland. Their hours of
service turned on more than $48,000 of the match providing 178,000 meals.

“Hunger is an issue that impacts many families in Bremer Bank communities,” said Greg Hilding, Bremer Bank Group President. “Our employees are passionate about strengthening our communities, and supporting Second Harvest Heartland during Hunger Action Month was a great way for Bremer to demonstrate its commitment to work with other community leaders to end hunger.”

Getting Involved: How Partners Are Investing Their Support to Help us Reach our Goals

Monday, April 21st, 2014

Sponsorship: The Mosaic Company Foundation

More than 6 million meals—that’s how many meals The Mosaic Company Foundation has helped provide to our neighbors in need through its generous support of our Give to the Max Day
fundraising efforts. For the last three years, The Mosaic Company Foundation provided $100,000
in matching funds—encouraging thousands of people in our community to donate to Second
Harvest Heartland and other charities on this inspiring day of online giving. Last year, more than 2,400 donors contributed to Second Harvest Heartland, the largest number of unique donors in a single day yet.

“Mosaic seeks partners with a track record of creating innovative and impactful programs, which is why Mosaic has chosen to work with Second Harvest Heartland. Give to the Max Day is a great opportunity to inspire the entire state of Minnesota and beyond to make a difference in the communities in which they live and work,” said Chris Lambe, Senior Director, Social Responsibility, The Mosaic Company.

Food is Fundamental: For Hungry Kids, Food Means Fuel for Academic Success

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Food can change the way kids learn and has a positive effect on their health and academic success. As principal at Maxfield Elementary School in St. Paul (where 98 percent of students qualify for free or reduced lunch), Nancy Stachel observes,

“Kids who are hungry don’t sleep well, and by noon they are acting out and quick to anger. They are less likely to concentrate, and over time that impacts achievement.”

Her observations are supported by The University of Minnesota Food Industry Center’s Cost/Benefit
Hunger Impact study
that links hunger with child’s cognitive and physical development. Hunger costs Minnesotans between $1.2 – $1.6 billion annually in direct and indirect healthcare and education costs.

To battle hunger and promote learning, Maxfield Elementary partners with Second Harvest Heartland on hunger relief programs including a Target Meals for Minds mobile pantry that distributes groceries to families of students enrolled at the school and serving as a meal site for the Summer Food Service Program, a USDA program operated by the Minnesota Department of Education.

In Minneapolis, Bertrand Weber, Director of Culinary Services for Minneapolis Public Schools, took his hunger solution on the road. Using Community Close-Up research – developed through Hunger-Free Minnesota by The Boston Consulting Group – he identified high-need, low-resourced areas beyond walking distance to summer meal sites serving nearby high-need children. He then converted an old school bus into a food truck, made possible through a Summer Food Service Program grant from Second Harvest Heartland. The truck visited four new sites in those low-resourced areas on its daily summer route.

“Going mobile was the best way to reach kids who might be missing meals during the summer, and keep them energized and ready to learn again in the fall,” says Weber.

$800 annually
The cost to each Minnesota family of allowing people to go hungry, based on total health and education consequences inflicted when our neighbors miss meals.

Source: University of Minnesota Food Industry center’s cost/Benefit Hunger Impact study

A Message from Our CEO

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

How important is having enough food to eat? It means living healthily to help fight against chronic disease. It means being more mentally focused and able to learn and succeed in school or at work instead of worrying about your next meal. Food is a solid defense against important issues the world throws at us, and we are proud that Second Harvest Heartland is on the front lines of getting more food to those who need help with this important bridge to stability.

Last year, we introduced a new tagline: “Food Changes Everything”™. These words sum up not only the essence of what we do at Second Harvest Heartland, but also how food brings hope. We believe food lifts people out of hunger as well as despair. Our mission is to end hunger through community partnerships such as those we have with thousands of donors, volunteers, agency programs and organizations such as Feeding America, a national network of more than 200 food banks. And by staying true to our values that guide how we operate—including our approach that “We are all in this
together”—we are making progress on our goal of ending hunger right here in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

If you’re already supporting Second Harvest Heartland with donations of dollars, time or food, I thank you for partnering with us in this crucial work. If you haven’t had a chance to help us defend our community against hunger, I hope the stories in our Annual Community Report, published last week in the Pioneer Press, will inspire you to join us.

- Rob Zeaske, Chief Executive Officer

Second Harvest Heartland Releases Annual Community Report

Monday, March 31st, 2014

As a supporter of Second Harvest Heartland, you know hunger is more prevalent than ever before right here in our community. But, you are making a bigger impact than ever before—a very positive impact that can be seen and felt in many ways by many people.

Like last year, we published our Annual Report in the form of a Community Report in the March 30th edition of the Pioneer Press. The following pages feature special sections from this Community Report, and offer a look inside what you helped us accomplish in 2013.

You’ll find facts and figures about our efficiencies, feature stories of partners who helped fuel important hunger relief innovations and leadership and the stats that matters most: the number of meals you’ve helped us provide to our neighbors in need.

You’ll also find the stories of some individuals and corporate contributors who truly went above and beyond in 2013, including this year’s Hunger Hero award winners.

Thank you for your important contributions during a difficult time for so many people. As you read about our results on the following pages, we hope you will take pride in being a crucial part of these successes.

Read the Annual Community Report here.