We’re passionate in our belief that we can end hunger, but we can’t do it alone. By collaborating with people like you—agency partners, individual donors, volunteers and organizations—we’re identifying and creating new ways to get more meals to more hungry people.
Champions of hope: ordinary people, extraordinary acts
Every day, ordinary people make extraordinary contributions to help others in our community. Meet a few Minnesotans who are changing the world, one inspiring act at a time.
Prairie Five Community Action
Prairie Five Community Action, an agency partner, provides food to those in need in rural Minnesota. Through four food shelves in five counties, the organization uses grants, creativity and compassion to improve the availability of healthy foods to more people in its communities.
Jo is a committed volunteer who currently works as a Second Harvest Heartland Appreciation Steward, where she calls donors to thank them for their support.
American Indian Magnet School
American Indian Magnet School (AIMS) has been an enthusiastic partner in Second Harvest Heartland’s Food + You pilot program, offering monthly Family Food Boxes. Several staff members have gone above and beyond in their involvement with the project to increase food resources for students and families through a comprehensive strategy of outreach and teacher education.
Gary Pahl of Pahl’s Farm
Gary Pahl has been donating to Second Harvest Heartland for more than four years. What started with a donation of a couple truckloads of excess sweet corn has developed into a partnership that is rewarding for everyone involved. Last year, Pahl’s Farm donated more than 1 million pounds of fresh produce.
Until I started working with Second Harvest Heartland, I didn’t realize the need was so big. The efficiency and scale of the organization really solidified the partnership for me. I know that the work is important and being able to help is also very gratifying for our employees. Many of them have experienced what it’s like to be hungry at some point in their lives, and now they have a chance to give back.
Sandy was the Operations Administrative Assistant for Lunds & Byerlys before retiring last October, as well as a Retail Food Rescue program champion for Second Harvest Heartland for more than five years. Her tireless support has been the driving force behind the store’s significant growth in the program—growing donations nearly 50 percent from 2013 to 2015—resulting in Lunds & Byerlys being recognized as a Hunger Hero award winner last year.
Valley Outreach, an agency partner, provides food, clothing and more to eligible St. Croix Valley residents. Through partnerships with local health care providers, schools and other agencies in the east metro, they are pioneering new ways to increase access to fresh and nutritious foods to our community.
We do so much more than simply give people food because we are client-centered. It is not just about quantity of food, it’s about offering quality and nutritious foods. This means that families experiencing poverty are treated with the same respect and dignity any of us expect and deserve. You are not ‘less than’ when you come to Valley Outreach.
Jill Doescher is a true leadership donor. As one of the first female litigators in Minnesota, Jill is still enacting change even in retirement by providing incredible gifts to accelerate our five-year strategic plan.
I choose to work with Second Harvest Heartland because nothing good happens if people don’t know where their next meal is coming from.
Loaves and Fishes
Every day is a confirmation of Loaves and Fishes’ commitment to hunger relief. Cathy Maes, Executive Director, says that it’s all about the guest.
It’s about the people at the end of the meal, said Cathy. The idea that this may be the only meal that their guests eat for a few days is what keeps this non-profit growing.
To help bring more food to the community, Loaves and Fishes has expanded to include a food truck as well as a free farmer’s market. These programs were started in the hopes of bringing their nutritious meals to high-need areas and to provide to people that are not able to afford their grocery bills.
More volunteer power than ever before
We couldn’t do what we do without the dedication of our hardworking volunteers. In 2015, 30,500 volunteers donated 141,000 hours—the equivalent of 68 full-time employees.
In addition to our typical volunteer projects, volunteers help us execute new ways of getting food to people who need it, help raise money and act as good stewards to our partners and donors. Some of their contributions are:
- Fresh Produce Distributions Partnership Program: Our volunteers help us provide support to our agency partners’ fresh produce distributions. In 2015, 507 volunteers provided 1,521 volunteer hours at six produce distribution sites.
- Appreciation stewards: One of the newest opportunities, volunteers come in weekly to call donors to express our gratitude. These volunteers often tell us the calls remind them of how many wonderful people we have right here in our community.
What Our Volunteers Are Saying
Here’s what some of our volunteers are saying about their volunteer experience at Second Harvest Heartland:
The volunteer experience allows you to feel directly connected to the communities you are there to help. It is simple to see how your volunteer efforts will help those in need.