Meals for Minds, Second Harvest Heartland’s mobile school pantry program, supported through funding from Target Corporation, broke a new record this October. With help from more than 300 volunteers, Second Harvest Heartland distributed more than 96,000 pounds of free groceries to elementary students and their families—the most distributed in any month since the Meals for Minds program began in 2010.
This latest milestone points to the incredible energy and efficiency that volunteers bring to Meals for Minds, and highlights how far the program has come. In October 2012, more than 200 volunteers served at eight schools in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Together, they distributed 54,887 pounds of food to more than 1,600 students. One year later, with an additional 100 volunteers in place each month, Second Harvest Heartland was able to serve 2,000 students at 11 schools each month.
Up to 40 volunteers gather to set up each school’s monthly, pop-up grocery distribution site. Volunteers first ensure that all food is safe and fresh, especially produce, which makes up 25 percent of the pounds distributed at each Meals for Mind event. Once the students and families arrive, volunteers help families pick up and carry their groceries to their vehicles.
“You get to see and talk with the people you are helping. Seeing the joy on the kids’ faces, hearing their stories and watching them do cartwheels outside the school while helping carry groceries to their cars was the best, and it gives me hope!” says Jacob Obler, a first-time Meals for Minds volunteer who helped this October at Bethune Community School in Minneapolis.
Jadee Hanson, another Meals for Minds volunteer, adds, “The Meals for Minds volunteer event is one of the best volunteer events I have attended. It is very well organized and feels like we are making a huge impact in the lives of the students.”
Thanks to all of our volunteers for your work in helping our neighbors in need!
Sign up to volunteer at a Meals for Minds event here.