Community Partnerships

Community partnerships

Because of continued partnership with people like you —agency partners, individual donors, volunteers and organizations— every day we are one step closer to achieving our mission of ending hunger.


Meet a few of our partners that are going above and beyond, playing a crucial role in the hunger relief community.

Champions of hope: ordinary people, extraordinary acts

Food as fuel

Deisy has been Manager at ECHO Food Shelf in Mankato since 2003. Though humble about her organization’s accomplishments and her role in helping make them happen, ECHO has served more than 50,000 individuals in their service area each of the last few years.

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Supporting seniors’ nutrition

Second Harvest Heartland piloted a Nutrition Education Program for low-income seniors enrolled in CSFP (Commodity Supplemental Food Program). We relied on volunteers like Wendy and Sara to provide on-site nutrition education presentations and food samples at select CSFP pickup sites.



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Help comes in all sizes

Throughout 2016, 7-year-old Victoria secretly saved loose change and bills to fill a bread loaf container with the intention of helping feed hungry people. For a 7-year-old, $31.27 takes a long time to save but can also go a long way – providing more than 90 meals!


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Sharing fresh produce

3M Gives improves lives and builds sustainable communities through social investments and thoughtful engagement of 3M employees worldwide. Second Harvest Heartland welcomes many groups of 3M volunteers each year as they share their skills and passions across our organization. In 2016, several groups stepped up to help out at free produce distributions in the Frogtown neighborhood of St. Paul.

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Growing food for hungry neighbors

From his family’s farm, Eric Nathe began partnering with Second Harvest Heartland to donate excess produce that would’ve otherwise gone to waste. Thanks in part to support through reimbursement from Farm to Foodshelf, Eric has been able to increase his produce donations over the past few years

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Helping one person at a time

Jan Schwanke runs a food shelf in southern Minnesota that reaches five rural communities serving 65-70 households each month. They recently expanded their food shelf to reach even more people with more food, including fresh produce. The food shelf also partners with the local Mayo Clinic for outreach and delivery to the aging rural population by providing low-income senior food boxes through CSFP.

Overcoming barriers to food

In her first year at Pillsbury Elementary, Amanda McCastle has helped expand the Food + You program partnership beyond a food box distribution. The school now also operates a food shelf, is connected to fresh produce multiple times per week through a local co-op and much more.

Empowering listeners to help

Dave Schrader and Tim Dennie of the talk radio show, Darkness on the Edge of Town, have hosted a Halloween fund drive on-air since 2007. Inspired to support Second Harvest Heartland by his favorite artist, Bruce Springsteen, Dave has committed to giving his listeners an easy way to make a local impact. Last year’s drive was the largest yet, raising more than $13,000 – nearly double from the year before.


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Unparalleled volunteers of Second Harvest Heartland

The volunteers who pass through our doors all share a predisposed willingness to roll up their sleeves and help. While many volunteers sort and pack food for our hungry neighbors, our volunteers also bring expertise in photography, teaching, stewardship and more. Loyal, energizing and inspiring, our volunteers make our work possible.


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"If you can help, help. It’s as simple as that," Nora said. “I think people get really busy and tangled up in their own lives and are running around here and there. It feels good to help."


"I enjoy knowing that I am helping clients get the help they deserve," said Kathy. “The process of looking for help can be overwhelming for people. It is a good feeling at the end of a shift that I have made a difference."

One partner’s creative campaign to end hunger

Creamy or crunchy? The peanut butter preference has been debated in many households

In many homes where money is tight, any variety is welcome. A single serving offers a healthy amount of protein, and unlike meat, it can be stored at room temperature. This is why peanut butter is a high-demand item at food shelves across Minnesota and western Wisconsin.

Despite the demand, Second Harvest Heartland rarely receives large-scale donations of peanut butter because there isn’t a production facility in our area.

UnitedHealthcare’s “Do Good. Live Well” employee Peanut Butter Drive, offers a creative, grassroots solution. As part of the drive, employees take part in a friendly competition to generate more donations for their preferred type: creamy or crunchy.

Shannon Loecher, UHG’s Director of Social Responsibility explains,

Their week-long drive in 2016 generated a whopping 2,346 pounds of peanut butter and $447.00 in contributions. Employees contributed jars of peanut butter they purchased themselves, and for convenience, a food service partner with the company offered additional jars for sale on-site. Additionally, United Health Foundation offered a matching fund to complement employee contributions.

The creativity of the UnitedHealthcare’s employee Peanut Butter Drive offers inspiration to organizations of any size looking to take part in local hunger relief.