Posts Tagged ‘child hunger’

Join us at Taste of the Vikings and Help Provide up to 525 Meals to Underserved Minnesota Children

Friday, October 17th, 2014

Help us kick childhood hunger at the annual Taste of the Vikings on Tuesday, November 4, 2014!

The fundraising food and wine event will feature appearances by current Vikings players, coaches and alumni. Sample specially prepared dishes from more than 20 of the area’s top restaurants, and enjoy complimentary premium wines from E&J Gallo, Miller and Pepsi products and one-of-a-kind silent auction items.

The price of one general admission ticket can help provide up to 525 meals to underserved children in Minnesota!

Buy your tickets today at

Mankato Kids Get VIP Access to Vikings Training Camp

Monday, 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.

Who Is Hungry?

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

There is a hidden epidemic around us called hunger. In Minnesota and Western Wisconsin, one in ten people experience the stress of hunger on any given day, even though there is more than enough food available to feed everyone. Hunger touches all of us through increased mental and physical health costs every year, as well as lower educational outcomes for kids and reduced productivity in the workplace.

Hunger affects more people than ever before — approximately 600,000 people in our area each year. Many are using a food shelf for the first time in their lives, struggling to make ends meet.

We’re passionate in our belief that we can end hunger. But we can’t do it alone. With your support, we can feed more people and help our neighbors find a bridge to stability during tough times. Visit for ways to help.

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 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

Food for Thought: Hunger Relief Issues in the News

Thursday, 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

Wednesday, 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 185,000 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.

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!

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

Help Distribute Food to Students in Need

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

You can help end child hunger.

In partnership with Target, we coordinate monthly grocery distributions through a mobile food pantry at 11 elementary schools in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Each child leaves a Meals for Minds pantry with 30 pounds of groceries.

We need your help to make this happen.

Volunteers are needed for the following shifts:

Thursday, February 20, 4-7 p.m.
Sullivan/Anishinabe Elementary School
3100 E. 28th Street
Minneapolis, MN 55406

Tuesday, March 4
Pillsbury Elementary School
2250 Garfield Street NE
Minneapolis, MN 55418

Tuesday, March 4
American Indian Magnet School
1075 3rd St East St. Paul, MN 55106

These volunteer opportunities are great for individuals, small groups and/or corporate groups looking to give direct, personal service in a fun, energetic environment.

When you volunteer with Meals for Minds, you:

  • Sort food
  • Set up food stations
  • Provide friendly service
  • Put food directly into the hands of your hungry neighbors

Meals for Minds is one of the most hands-on opportunities at Second Harvest Heartland—sign up to volunteer today!

Visit to register.

Volunteers Drive a Record-Breaking Month for the Meals for Minds Program

Monday, November 11th, 2013

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.

Cause and Effects: Summer Food Service Program Outreach Campaign

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

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 teams up with the Minnesota Department of Education to help connect kids with summer meals.

This summer, we launched a new Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area outreach campaign in Metro Transit buses, lightrail trains and neighborhood newspapers to promote and expand participation in the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP); those interested were asked to text for more information. To date, trends show a positive increase over past years in the number of text messages received from kids and their families looking for an SFSP meal site, indicating significant growth in program interest, and ultimately, connecting more kids with more meals over the summer.

Help Kick Childhood Hunger with the Minnesota Vikings

Monday, October 28th, 2013

During the holiday season when we do our best to think about others and give back, the players and coaches of the Minnesota Vikings are leading by example by hosting this year’s Taste of the Vikings event at Mall of America on November 11 at 7pm.

The Taste of the Vikings, one of our premier events, combines food and football to raise funds for hunger relief in Minnesota. Attendees sample food and wine from some of the Twin Cities best restaurants and take pictures with and get autographs from the Minnesota Vikings roster. All proceeds from the Taste of the Vikings event benefit the Second Harvest Heartland Summer Food Service Program supported by the Vikings Children’s Fund. Last year, the event raised more than $130,000! That’s enough to provide 481,000 meals to low-income kids in need of food!

Thanks to the Minnesota Vikings, Taste of the NFL founder Wayne Kostroski, presenting sponsor Radisson and local chefs who will give their time to help us in our fight to end hunger!

To see pictures from last year’s event, click here.

To register for this year’s event, click here.

New Mobile Food Unit Filling the Gaps of Summer Child Feeding Programs

Monday, July 15th, 2013

When school is out for the summer, one in six children in our community is at risk of hunger. But with the help from the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and the Minneapolis Public School District, kids in our community now have easier access to free, fresh and wholesome meals this summer through a new mobile food unit.

The mobile unit, created by the Minneapolis Public School District with help from a $25,000 grant from Second Harvest Heartland, provides meals to children living in high-need areas Monday through Friday during the summer. Since more than 65 percent of students attending Minneapolis Public Schools qualified for free or reduced-priced lunches in 2012, this mobile food unit is an exciting addition to the expanding SFSP program.

“Kids have an opportunity to get a meal during the summer which otherwise they might not be able to get any meals,” says Bertrand Weber, director, Culinary and Nutrition Services at Minneapolis Public Schools.

The Minneapolis Public School District hopes to change the mobile unit’s route in the future to accommodate shifting demographics, need and supply, and thus become an integral way to fill the gaps of Minneapolis’ summer child feeding program.

Sincere thanks to the Minneapolis Public School District for its innovative approach to help provide growing kids with the nutrition they need to live full, healthy lives!

Summer Hunger is No Picnic—Help Feed Local Kids Today

Monday, June 17th, 2013

During the school year, approximately 303,000 Minnesota children receive free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs. However, when the school year ends, only about 20 percent of these kids continue to access similar meal programs over the summer. That means that for nearly three months out of every year, children in Minnesota are not getting the nourishment they need.

But you can help! This summer, we’re partnering with the Pioneer Press to help raise funds and awareness around the issue of child hunger through the “Summer Hunger is No Picnic” ad and online campaign.

To help provide wholesome meals for kids this summer, visit to donate, now through August. Just $10 provides 37 meals for hungry children and their families in our community who are hungry.

Thanks to the Pioneer Press for its continued support of our hunger-relief efforts!

Watch This Year’s Dish Video, and Help Bring Hope to Hungry Children

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

Second Harvest Heartland works on a number of fronts to address child hunger, through food distribution to 1,000 agency partners and support of various community programs that provide food to children in local neighborhoods.

With the funds raised at Second Harvest Heartland’s 2013 Dish event, we’ll continue to help make sure kids and their families have access to food during tough times. Take a moment to watch this year’s Dish video, created by Broad Daylight, and learn how we—and others—are working to make sure hungry children have enough to eat so they can develop to their fullest potential and have fun just being kids. You can also take a look at photos from this year’s event here.

Sincere thanks to all of our friends who supported the work of Second Harvest Heartland at Dish, presented by Cub Foods. The event attracted over 1,000 people and raised more than $680,000. Thanks to the generous support of our community, we’ll be able to provide over 2.5 million meals to our neighbors in need. Save the date for next year’s Dish event: Thursday, May 29, 2014 at the Saint Paul RiverCentre.

Visit to help bring hope to hungry children all year round.

Plum Organics Fights Child Hunger with Super Smoothies

Friday, June 7th, 2013

One in six children in our community live at risk of hunger on any given day. When kids don’t have enough to eat, they often don’t receive the right nutrition they need to live full, healthy lives.

That’s why we were excited to receive a donation of 10,000 individual Super Smoothies from Plum Organics earlier this week. As part of a broader effort to help food insecure babies and tots across the country, Neil Grimmer, CEO of Plum Organics, was on site donating the essential nutrition pouches for use in the Second Harvest Heartland service area.

The Super Smoothies are a blend of organic fruits, vegetables and grains that were designed specifically to ease the nutrient deficiencies of food insecure kids ages 6 months to 36 months, but are nutritious and appealing for any age.

Plum Organics has made a commitment to donate at least 500,000 Super Smoothies in 2013 to hunger-relief organizations across the country. Thank you, Plum Organics, for your support of fighting child hunger in our community!

Thanks for Making Dish: Cuisine for Change a Success!

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

Sincere thanks to all of our friends who supported the work of Second Harvest Heartland at Thursday’s Dish: Cuisine for Change, presented by Cub Foods. The event attracted over 1,000 people and raised more than $680,000. Thanks to the generous support of our community, we’ll be able to provide over 2.5 million meals to our 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 download a recipe booklet from this year’s participating restaurants—The Strip Club Meat & Fish, Zelo, Barbette and more.

Take a look at photos from this year’s event below.

Save the date for next year’s Dish event: Thursday, May 29, 2014 at the Saint Paul RiverCentre

Hunger Never Takes a Summer Break – Help Today

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

One in six children in our community is not able to get enough food on a regular basis. That equates to thousands of hungry kids, especially during the summer when they don’t have access to school breakfast and lunch programs.

With your help, Second Harvest Heartland can continue to gather and deliver more food to our 1,000 agency partners serving kids and families, so they can return to school fully nourished and ready to learn. Just $1 allows us to provide up to $8 worth of food to a child in need.

Support Second Harvest Heartland and help provide for more kids in need by making a gift today at

Save the Date for the 10th Annual Dish: Cuisine for Change

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

Save the date for our premier gala, Dish: Cuisine for Change, presented by Cub Foods, and help us bring hope to hungry children! With one in every six Minnesota children living at risk of hunger, there has never been a better time to help provide relief. Your attendance at this year’s event will help us reinvent hunger relief through continued leadership and innovation.

Enjoy a lively evening of gourmet cuisine from top local chefs, exciting silent and live auctions, fine wine, and great entertainment featuring Dana Carvey, Emmy-award winning comedian and cast member of “Saturday Night Live” from 1986-1992.

This year’s event will take place on Thursday, May 30 at the Saint Paul RiverCentre. Check out photos from last year’s event below, or head over to to reserve your tickets or become a table host and enjoy exclusive benefits.

Can’t make the event? You can still make a gift to support the event and help support child hunger programs.