Partnerships that make it possible
More than just a mission statement, ending hunger truly takes a community. Continued partnership with people like you, as well as agency partners, individual donors, volunteers and organizations, make our work possible.
Meet a few of our partners that went above and beyond last year, taking a unique approach and playing a crucial role in the hunger relief community.
Champions of Hope
Everyday people prioritizing helping others is something that never fails to inspire us. We could never feature everyone who makes an impact (this page can only go so far), but every year we reach out to a handful of the year’s Champions of Hope to recognize at least a few. These corporate, food shelf and individual partners have helped provide food for someone else with their exceptional, everyday actions.
From a taproom to a family’s table
For his day job, Ben Hering is the Director of Engagement at the Minnesota Credit Union Network. But on the weekends, Ben works for Indeed Brewery in Northeast Minneapolis. The brewery has a give-back initiative called Indeed We Can, in which proceeds from every Wednesday night go to an employee-chosen local nonprofit. Of all the amazing nonprofits in the Twin Cities, Ben’s beneficiary of choice is Second Harvest Heartland.
Since I work in the credit union industry, our perspective has been helping our members with their financial needs. One of the biggest issues affecting our members is medical expenses and, if these issues are affecting financial decisions, they most certainly are affecting their food-related decisions. Health and food are two things everyone needs, no matter who you are. You shouldn’t have to choose between the two because, ultimately, you can’t live without either of them.
Buried in data, but lifting up hungry families
Behind the scenes and behind the data is one of the services that will help keep Hunger & Health at the forefront of community conversations. DTA Associates, a Minneapolis-based healthcare consulting company, helped Second Harvest Heartland procure a HIPAA-compliant platform for safely storing patient data, greatly strengthening the work of our FOODRx program. DTA Associates continues to support us in transferring data, analytics and maintenance for the program.
I think it is so important for people not to have to make the excruciating decision between feeding themselves (and their family) and obtaining the appropriate medical care and medications. Health is about more than medicine, but it is also about more than food. I am so grateful that Second Harvest Heartland is looking to tackle problems that affect the whole person.
A Food & Fund Drive with nationwide impact
The past two years, Blake Sloan has helped organize a Food & Fund Drive at APi Group, Inc. Together, the 10 Twin Cities companies collected nearly 2,500 pounds of food and raised $7,400, totaling more than 24,000 meals in one year! And that was just what was donated to Second Harvest Heartland — APi Group, Inc.’s companies across the nation were inspired by the Twin Cities Food & Fund Drive and coordinated their own drives, donating more than 15,000 meals to their local food shelves.
We have such a powerful network of people in the Twin Cities. One company called me late in the summer, and they said—'Are we going to do this again?’ They were already thinking ahead. I didn’t realize the NUMBER of people in the Twin Cities who are in need of food on a daily basis. For us to be able to contribute to that effort is awesome as a family of companies.
A foundational, generous supporter
A foundational, generous supporter Nivin MacMillan considers her partnership modest, but her impact is immense. For the last three years, Nivin has generously supported Second Harvest Heartland’s general operating budget through her foundation, W. Duncan and Nivin MacMillan Foundation. She gave $25,000 in 2017 alone, the equivalent of 75,000 meals!
Children cannot learn well in school when they are hungry. I believe that all of us who are blessed with the luxury of not worrying about how to feed ourselves and our children adequately have a responsibility to those who struggle every day to feed themselves.
Always working to increase access to food
In less than one year, Meeker Area Food Shelf in Litchfield, Minn. switched to a client-choice model and adjusted their service hours to better accommodate Meeker County. As a result, Meeker Area Food Shelf was able to increase the number of clients served by 65 percent!
As a child, I was lucky enough to grow up unaware that there was a food shelf in my area. Unfortunately, that is not the case for the 150 children we serve every month. It is humbling to be able to serve in a community that helped raise me and to help make the community a little better for the next generation. It is a necessity of our community to invest in our neighbor’s needs. For every individual facing food insecurity, there are nine neighbors who can lend a supportive hand. If able, we should all strive to be one of those nine and help our neighbors.
After her divorce, Tami Richardson took the opportunity to review her life and her legacy. In her will and estate plan this year, Tami designated 100 percent of her assets to charities, and nearly half will go to Second Harvest Heartland, leaving an amazing legacy for generations to come. Tami says she is especially moved by children and seniors facing hunger. “I've always felt these are the two most vulnerable segments of the (food insecure) population due to their dependence on others because of their age,” she said.
Learning that one in six children is at risk for hunger was eye-opening for me. Second Harvest Heartland's Child Hunger Initiative and programs like SFSP are so important in dealing with this critical issue.
Driving hunger relief forward
Our biggest expense at Second Harvest Heartland is transportation — the cost per mile to deliver food really adds up, especially when you consider our 59-county service area. That’s why organizations like Penske Company really make a difference. Penske Company has donated a truck and provided two company volunteers, resources that help serve more of our neighbors in North Mankato. With this donation, we can perform a monthly distribution which serves more than 100 households in Nicollet County.
By eliminating the cost of renting a large truck, we have been able to reach communities that otherwise wouldn’t have access to the resources that Second Harvest Heartland provides. It has been an honor to be that missing link. We are so proud of our associates and our friends at Second Harvest Heartland who exemplify what can be accomplished through teamwork when two seemingly different organizations come together for the same mission.
Millions of carrots from the Fields’
Ed Fields and Sons farm in Andover, Minn grows radishes, parsnips, carrots, beets, onions and winter squash. You can find their produce at major grocery stores, packed in their own label across a five-state area in the Midwest. But, something you don’t see are the millions of pounds of carrots that are donated to local food banks. Since 2011, Chuck Fields, owner of the farm has donated more than 4 million pounds!
As a farming business, part of our mission statement is to be a good neighbor in our community, and our asset to make a meaningful contribution is healthy food! We feel strongly that our partnership with Second Harvest Heartland services the need to feed hungry children in our community and positions us to be the good neighbor we hope to be.
It’s hard to measure the work our volunteers do for Second Harvest Heartland. We depend on them to accomplish nearly every aspect of our work and their involvement is growing. Here, they explain why they choose to spend their time with our programs.
What makes me passionate about volunteering at Second Harvest Heartland is that this is a problem that is completely solvable—there’s enough food for everyone. Nobody HAS to be hungry if we can just get the food into the right place and the right hands.
I think it’s a crime that this day in age, we even need an organization like Second Harvest Heartland. I wish Second Harvest Heartland didn’t have to exist. Because it does, it provides a really important function. You have to eat.
Volunteers contribute specialized skills to build more capacity
While many Second Harvest Heartland volunteers sort and pack food in our warehouse, we have a growing number of volunteers who provide specialized talents for long-term projects or an ongoing basis. Volunteers help build our capacity and in 2017 we began work to become a Certified Service Enterprise volunteer organization. This certification further supports increasing inclusion of the many skills our volunteers have to offer.
One of the many teams drawing upon our talented and dedicated volunteers, last year was the Produce team. They strategically identified ways to creatively use volunteers to add capacity in communications, mitigating food waste and more.
We quite literally will be distributing more produce into our hunger relief system thanks to repositioning our team to include more skilled and long-term volunteers.