Leading Through Innovation
Passion for hunger relief: our Board of Directors
Second Harvest Heartland’s Board of Directors give their time and talent to fulfill our mission of ending hunger through community partnerships. We asked a few members of the Board about their involvement with Second Harvest Heartland and their passion for hunger relief
Why did you get involved as a board member with Second Harvest Heartland?
I grew up in the food business and have worked in it my whole life, so it’s a natural fit. More importantly, I'm a huge believer in Second Harvest Heartland's mission to end hunger in our community. This organization does essential work, and it’s an honor to be a part of the team.
Second Harvest Heartland is a courageous organization that is making an impact. There are many partners in the quest to end hunger in our region, but Second Harvest Heartland is the leader and acts as a catalyst for positive change. I am energized by our progress in the quest to end hunger.
In your opinion, what is the impact of Second Harvest Heartland's work in the community?
The impact is twofold: The organization maintains an infrastructure that makes a huge, direct impact on helping people. But because of its scale and its role in the hunger relief network, Second Harvest Heartland brings the issue of hunger front and center, illuminating it to p eople who may be unaware.
Which of Second Harvest Heartland’s strategic initiatives excites you most, and why?
The Hunger and Health initiative aligns with my career in healthcare. Similar to quitting smoking, using a seatbelt or getting in 10,000 steps a day, ending hunger really is a proactive strategy to improve health and well-being.
The new FOODRx program that seeks to tailor solutions to recipients’ nutritional needs and also align with their food culture is very exciting. This is critical to improving access to food for many communities.
A staff who loves coming to work
Our staff members have all sorts of reasons they choose to work at Second Harvest Heartland. But, there’s one common thread - they love that they can put clients at the center of their work. Below are some stories from a few of our employees.
My family and I grew up poor so I know what it feels like to have to struggle between buying food or paying rent. Some of my best childhood memories are of my parents bringing home food from churches and/or the food pantries; things they would never have bought due to limited income. This is why I chose to work at Second Harvest Heartland, to give back and help others be informed about the resources available to them.
Alexandra De Kesel Lofthus
Second Harvest Heartland is not afraid to take on difficult challenges and continues to look for ways to best serve clients and the greater community in existing work and new opportunities. It is an honor to be part of the new team which develops partnerships with health care systems and engages them in ways to reduce hunger while aiming to improve health outcomes. On a daily basis I am surrounded by amazing, dedicated people, get to do meaningful work with a strong purpose and be continuously challenged. I couldn’t ask for anything more!
Our mission is something that I have dedicated myself to 100 percent. I love helping people in whatever ways I can and by putting efforts towards making sure no one goes to bed at night with a growling stomach is very rewarding. Knowing that my hard work is doing so much good for so many people motivates me to always do the best I can every day
The reason I work at Second Harvest Heartland is that every day I know I’m making a difference in my community. Growing up, our family experienced food insecurity and we visited food shelves on a regular basis, this is my way of giving back
For Second Harvest Heartland and our mission, Food Rescue allows us to provide an abundance of fresh products that are often too expensive for those dealing with food insecurity or unavailable in food deserts, and contributes much needed variety from the usual food shelf staples.
I’ve always had a passion for food and people. Being at Second Harvest Heartland also allows me to focus on my ability to give back to my community, a strong value of mine. Being able to make an impact with my day job at Second Harvest Heartland is just a bonus