Posts Tagged ‘feeding america’

Move to More Fresh Food Resonates in Hunger Relief

Friday, April 11th, 2014

The growing need
Americans are increasingly focused on our peas and carrots. From healthier school lunches to farmers markets, we as a nation are more conscious of the link between nutrition and health. That awareness is reflected in the evolving emergency hunger relief system. Second Harvest Heartland is working to collect and distribute more fresh and nutritious food than ever. Last year, we collected more than 5.9 million pounds of produce from over 50 different growers, and continue to expand our Retail Food Rescue program.

Second Harvest Heartland, and food banks across the country, are in conversation about how to best balance agency partners’ high volume needs for food of all kinds with an increased focus on fresh foods.

We go where the food is
Along with a network of generous partners, Second Harvest Heartland spent the last two harvest seasons successfully piloting ways to capture agricultural surplus in Minnesota—tapping into the more than 200 million pounds of corn, peas and potatoes that go unharvested every year due to weather and other issues.

The sweetest success so far has been our sweet corn rescue project. In collaboration with Hunger-Free Minnesota, Cargill, Seneca Foods, Pinnacle Foods Inc., General Mills, C.H. Robinson, SUPERVALU, other growers and a team of Feeding America food banks, 860,000 pounds of sweet corn were rescued and delivered to food banks in Minnesota and across the country.

That success led to a partnership with Feeding America to form the Second Harvest Heartland-based Produce Capture Institute (PCI) to share best practices across the Feeding America network to build agricultural surplus collection and distribution capacity.

An apple a day
When clients visit the VEAP Food Pantry in Bloomington, Minn., they appreciate receiving fresh produce, according to Nathan Rust, VEAP food program manager. “Many individuals tell us that if apples and other fresh produce items weren’t available at the food shelf they would simply have to go without as they have trouble affording them at the local stores. Many individuals that we serve deal with health issues and access to healthy fresh produce is essential for their nutritional needs,” says Rust. Second Harvest Heartland distributes food to VEAP.

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

Help Outnumber Hunger with General Mills and Sam’s Club

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

With summer approaching, Second Harvest Heartland and area food shelves are preparing for an increase in demand for food assistance from clients during the summer months. These families often rely on free or reduced-cost breakfast and lunch to help feed children during the school year, and may have to rely on assistance from food banks to help fill the gap.

That’s why the Outnumber Hunger campaign, a national initiative that helps fight hunger in local communities through partnerships between companies such as General Mills, Feeding America and Big Machine Label Group, is so important. During last year alone, Outnumber Hunger helped Feeding America secure more than 6 million meals!

This year, Sam’s Club is partnering with Feeding America to secure an additional 1.5 million meals for member food banks through Outnumber Hunger.

There are three ways you can help:

  • From March 12-24 text “HUNGER” to 80153, then enter your zip code so the donation is made on behalf of your local food bank. You’ve secured 12 meals.
  • Visit your local Sam’s Club store and purchase specially marked General Mills products. Codes can be entered through January 2015 at outnumberhunger.com. You’ve just secured 12 more meals.
  • Members can also donate food at their local Sam’s Club in the donation bins through March 24. This food will be picked up after March 24 and help those in our neighborhood.

Participate at your local Sam’s Club, and help provide more meals for our hungry neighbors.

Campaign to Minnesota Farmers Urges Them to Help Solve Hunger Locally

Friday, February 14th, 2014

Harvest to End Hunger Minnesota

A big factor in battling hunger in rural communities might just be the people who are already feeding the world. The six Feeding America food banks serving local regions in Minnesota have joined forces to offer farmers simple ways to help fight hunger in their local communities – Harvest to End Hunger Minnesota launched to the public this week.

Harvest to End Hunger Minnesota is one-stop resource that invites Minnesota farmers to give in one of two ways—by donating dollars from non-edible crop sales at their local elevator (using Invest an Acre) or by donating produce crops to the food banks (through the Share Fresh program).

“Farmers are in the business of feeding people and Harvest to End Hunger Minnesota gives them a way to show their generosity for those in their communities who are hungry,” says Laurel Feddema, chief community engagement officer. “For participating food banks, this is a way to bring in support of funds and food and is a way to let farmers know they can help solve hunger occurs in their own communities.”

Farmers are now being urged to participate in Feeding America’s Invest an Acre program by pledging revenue from their 2014 crops, with an overall goal of 1,000 acres worth pledged in Minnesota this year.  One hundred percent of the donation stays in the farmer’s community, and all of the money goes directly to buy food for hungry families. The Monsanto Company matches the farmer’s donation, dollar for dollar, up to $675.000 nationally, doubling the impact.

The coalition of participating food banks includes Channel One Regional Food Bank, Great Plains Food Bank, North Country Food Bank, Inc., Second Harvest Heartland, Second Harvest North Central Food Bank and Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank.

Learn more about Harvest to End Hunger Minnesota or make your pledge today.

You can also help us spread the word by joining us on Facebook.

One Million Pounds of Bread Provided to Our Community

Monday, January 27th, 2014

Sincere thanks to Pan-O-Gold Baking Co./Country Hearth Breads, a family-owned and operated bakery in the upper Midwest, for generously donating more than one million pounds of bread to eight Feeding America food banks in the Midwest—including Second Harvest Heartland— in 2013.

Their partnership with Second Harvest Heartland began five years ago when they realized the growing need for emergency food assistance.

“We knew there was a growing need in our communities, and it was something we took very seriously,” says Jimmy Hanson, Vice President of Sales, Minneapolis Area, with Pan-O-Gold Baking Co./Country Hearth Breads. “Our company has been blessed, and giving back to the community was something we wanted to do. If we can’t help each other, who else can we help?”

Thank you, Pan-O-Gold Baking Co./Country Hearth Breads, for your generous support! You are truly making a difference in the lives of our hungry neighbors.

Volunteer Spotlight of the Month: Hunger Study Volunteers

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

Every four years, Feeding America and its network of member food banks coordinate a landmark study assessing hunger across the nation. The data collected from the study, called the Hunger Study, is then used to inform hunger-relief strategy, programs and important policy decisions.

Volunteers play a critical role in the success of the Hunger Study. This year, two interns and 21 volunteers contributed more than 850 hours to survey more than 440 of our hungry neighbors throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin. The volunteers visited 94 of our agency partner programs in 34 counties. Together, they drove over 10,000 miles—enough to travel across the United States three times!

Michelle Foster, a Hunger Study volunteer, worked on the study because she’s interested in the link between nutrition and public health. “My role as a lead data collector was to put people at ease, be respectful of their time and explain the survey and the technology,” Michelle said. “When I explained that the survey could forecast future hunger relief program needs, people were excited to participate and make a difference.”

She added that her opinion about people who use food shelves was “totally blown out of the water.” “I talked to people who had no safety net and lost all their food because of storms,” she recalls. “I talked to young people, elderly people, people who were using the food shelf for the first time and people of all ethnicities. It changed the way I think about people and hunger.”

Mary Cripe, another Hunger Study volunteer, learned about the opportunity to help from her employer’s monthly volunteer email. She said meeting agency clients was inspiring to her. “There are many people in need, and I liked meeting and talking with them firsthand. We are all together on the front lines of hunger relief,” she said.

Thank you to all Hunger Study interns and volunteers! Your support will directly impact hunger relief for years to come!

Hunger Action Month: Together We Can Solve Hunger!

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

September is Hunger Action Month across the country. As a member of Feeding America‘s nationwide network of food banks, we’re asking you to support Second Harvest Heartland and those we serve by taking action to raise awareness about the problem of hunger in our service area.

With more than 600,000 people in Minnesota and western Wisconsin at risk of missing a meal on any given day, it’s more important now than ever before to help.

No action is too small when it comes to ending hunger!

Double Down Challenge will Double Your Impact
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 185,000 meals to our neighbors in need! Learn how you can take action at 2harvest.org/ham.

Go Orange
September 5th is National Hunger Action Day. Show your support by wearing orange on the 5th, and all month long.
- Virtually: dedicate your Facebook and Twitter to hunger awareness for the month. Check out our Facebook page for ideas.
- Physically: Light your home or workplace orange.

Create Awareness
- Take: the SNAP challenge and live on the average daily SNAP benefit of $4.50 a day.
- Learn: the facts about Hunger in Minnesota and share it with friends.
- Display: our “30 Ways in 30 Days” calendar at work, in your home, and throughout your community.

Take Action
- Host: a Food & Fund Drive.
- Volunteer: for a three-hour shift to feed a family of four for a week, or take a look at our featured volunteer opportunities to see how you can make an even deeper impact in one of our hungry neighbor’s lives.

There are many ways for you to get involved this September; we hope you won’t choose just one. For more information on ways to fight hunger in September, visit 2harvest.org/ham.

Meet Hungry Kate: The Girl With A Belly Ache

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

Meet Kate. She represents the one in six Minnesota children living at risk of hunger on any given day.

And during the summer when school is out, kids like Kate are at even more of a risk of going without food.

You can help! Donate today, and help provide food for kids and their families this summer. Just $10 provides 37 meals to our hungry neighbors.

To find out other ways to help, visit 2harvest.org.

Invest an Acre and Help Feed Your Community

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

One in 10 Minnesotans face hunger every day, and families who live in the rural and agricultural regions face a number of challenges that put them at even greater risk of missing meals. A lack of transportation, remote social service agencies and fewer jobs all make it more difficult for people to get enough food to feed themselves and their families.

That’s why we’re excited about a new partnership between farmers and local food banks that gives local growers a chance to help fight hunger in their own community. The program, called Invest an Acre, is part of a national campaign between the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, Feeding America, Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) and Monsanto that engages U.S. farmers in helping provide food to their neighbors.

Through the program, farmers can donate the proceeds of one or more acres of crops to help feed hungry families in their own communities—with 100% of the contributions going directly to a local Feeding America food bank. And for every $1 donated, Monsanto will give $1, doubling the contribution dollar for dollar.

For information on how to donate and help feed your community, visit InvestAnAcre.org or contact your ADM elevator operator to learn more about the Invest an Acre program.

Feeding America responds to Hurricane Sandy

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

As Hurricane Sandy made landfall in the mid-Atlantic states yesterday, the Feeding America network was prepared and provided support to communities impacted by high winds, flooding and extended power outages. The national office hosted a call with its food bank members in affected areas to assess local needs yesterday afternoon and will continue to do so throughout the week.

They are currently helping coordinate food, water and disaster-relief support provided by donors such as Abbott Laboratories, Allstate, Kellogg’s and PepsiCo.

Second Harvest Heartland is a member of Feeding America, the national network of more than 200 food banks serving every state in the United States. Our thoughts go out to communities on the East coast, and we are honored to be a part of an emergency food network helping to ensure needs are met during the disaster.

Harvest to Home: Bringing Farm-Fresh Food to Families

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

In past issues, we’ve told you about the more than 200 million pounds of heartland fresh produce that goes un-harvested or unsold in Minnesota alone…..

…..a staggering number, difficult even to understand when you consider that amount would fill 5,000 semis. But what we can easily understand is that the corn, potatoes, watermelon, peppers, peas and other produce that go to waste on Minnesota farms each year would be of great value to so many families at risk of going without a meal today—if only we could find a way to make the connection.

That’s where Harvest to Home, the local agricultural surplus program anchored by Second Harvest Heartland, comes in.
At a time when food manufacturers are increasing efficiencies, resulting in less surplus product, and demand on food shelves is high, it’s more important than ever that hunger-relief organizations continue to forge new partnerships to connect the abundance of the heartland with the dinner tables of those we serve.

Last year through Harvest to Home, we collected more than 2.3 million pounds of sweet corn, potatoes, watermelon and green peppers from over 40 different farms. This season, we collected more than 4.3 million pounds of sweet corn, potatoes, apples, cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, watermelon, green beans, peppers, squash, tomatoes and zucchini that has already been sent out through our network of food shelf and other agency partners for distribution to families in need. This year, more than 60 different farms and processors across our state participated with donations.

Without action, a bounty can turn into over abundance
When we got the call that Seneca Foods had 600,000 pounds of corn available if we had the capacity to collect it, we responded immediately. Trucks that would normally have moved the corn in Renville County to a Seneca plant instead moved it to Cargill’s grain storage facility in Savage. Cargill employees packed 12 truckloads of corn into totes, and SUPERVALU supported the effort with refrigeration and transportation.

But like any fresh food, corn is perishable. We knew Minnesota’s emergency food system couldn’t quickly enough absorb more than 100,000 pounds of it—so the Second Harvest Heartland Food Sourcing Team sprung into action, making connections with other food banks in the Feeding America network to share in the bounty. Within days, truckloads of corn were on their way to 18 food banks in 10 states—from the Greater Food Depository in Chicago, Illinois to the North Texas Food Bank in Dallas, Texas.

Local growers dedicate crops to the cause
While the vast majority of the pounds contributed to this program has and will come through partnerships with large-scale processors like Seneca, donations from smaller, local growers make a huge difference. Take Gary Pahl, owner of Pahl’s Market in Apple Valley, as an example. Last year, Gary learned of the program and told us, “I never would have figured in my whole entire life that this network that they have established and put together throughout the country could do what they did, and get (the produce) out to people.” This year, Gary planted crops specifically planned for donation, amounting to more than 230,000 pounds of corn, cabbage, green beans, cucumbers and peppers.

Partnerships will shape the future
Not one of the successes experienced this year could have been accomplished without the dedication and commitment of caring partners on the front lines of hunger relief. From the major processor to the local community garden, the contributions of each and every partner make a tremendous difference in the lives of people experiencing hunger. As the autumn fades into winter here in the heartland, we look forward to an off-season full of brainstorming, connecting and planning for future years when we can capture even more of the 200 million pounds of abundance waiting to be picked and placed in front of a hungry child, senior or working parent to enjoy.

Children struggle with hunger in every county in America

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

Child HungerToday, Feeding America released the Map the Meal Gap: Child Food Insecurity 2011 study which provides a detailed look into the number of children in America that are under the age of 18 that go hungry every year.

The study reveals that there are children struggling with hunger in every county in America. Nationally, while one in six Americans overall don’t have proper access to the food they need, the rate for children is much higher: nearly one in four children are at risk of hunger.

It also provides information on Second Harvest Heartland’s service area in which it found that there are more than 200,000 children under the age of 18 that are currently struggling with hunger.

Child hunger is simply unacceptable. The new information gained from this study will help us develop even more ways to improve our child hunger programs like the Summer Food Service Program which provides meals to children who may otherwise go hungry during the summer or the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, which provides a box of nutritious food each month through the Mothers and Children Program (MAC).

For more details on this study check out the entire interactive map here.

Lose Nationally, Feed Locally.

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

The Biggest Loser/Pound for Pound ChallengeJoin us one week from today, Tuesday, January 5 for The Biggest Loser Season Premiere Party at Solera in Downtown Minneapolis!

Beginning at 6:00pm, you’ll enjoy hors d’oeurves, a cash bar, exciting enter-to-win opportunities and other Biggest Loser-related freebies. Two lucky guests will win a Nintendo Wii gaming system and Wii Fit!

Grab a seat at 7:00 for the show, and enjoy even more entertainment, fitness tips and other activities with KS95′ s Staci Matthews during commercial breaks. Register now and be entered to win a VIP package, including preferred seating at the event.

Space is limited, so click here to register now!

Biggest Loser StaffWhy are we throwing a party for The Biggest Loser?

Because it’s the kickoff of the second annual Pound for Pound Challenge, of course! This exciting fundraising program was formed by a partnership of NBC’s The Biggest Loser, General Mills and Feeding America to encourage Americans to “Lose Nationally, Feed Locally.”

Sign up and pledge your weight loss goals at www.pfpchallenge.com. For every pound you pledge, the Pound for Pound Challenge will donate 14 cents to Feeding America – enough to deliver one pound of groceries to a local food bank. The more signups and pledges in our area, the more donations will come to Second Harvest Heartland to help feed those in need right here in our community.

Coming to the event? That’s great. You can pledge your pounds online at pfpchallenge.com, or just sign up at the party.

But remember, space is limited–so register for the party now!