Strengthening the network

We recognize that part of our role in the hunger relief system is to strengthen the overall network of partners working to feed our community. By leveraging our scale, scope and reach to pilot and test sustainable programs, new and community-based solutions to hunger are always taking shape.

Retail Food Rescue — a community effort and solution

Rescuing food from farmers, manufacturers and retailers is not just a great way to provide food to those in need, it’s an excellent way to support sustainability. By saving unsold food that would otherwise go to waste, these rescued products — more than 36.4 pounds total last year — went to people in our community. The food we rescue includes produce, meat, bakery, dairy, shelf-stable and deli items.


Retail Food Rescue is all about teamwork. Second Harvest Heartland’s, nearly 500 retail partners, food shelves, food pantries and meal programs all have a hand in getting the unused, fresh food from a shelf in a store onto a dinner table in the same day for hungry families.

We'd like to especially thank General Mills for their support of our Retail Food Rescue programs and helping us tell the story through this video.

A simple way to ignite hope

In the past year, a longtime partner of ours, Camden Promise, looked to Second Harvest Heartland to support them in finding creative solutions to meeting the increased need in the North Minneapolis community. Food shelf visits were growing up; budgets and funding weren’t. Camden Promise didn’t have the option of simply buying more food.

Over the course of the year, Second Harvest Heartland was able to help Camden Promise increase Retail Food Rescue pickups in their area and organize additional Food Rescue distributions around the holidays. This partnership benefited the 1,000 families per month Camden Promise serves.

"In the beginning we thought we were bringing milk and eggs to share with our food insecure neighborhood. What we could not know was that the neighborhood would bring its hopes and dreams for a better tomorrow. In the exchange, we are building a community with leadership none of us thought possible. This is the power of food. Who could have guessed that a bag of groceries would ignite such hope?”

- Pastor Jeff Nehrbass from Camden Promise

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Prepared food rescue – building on success

Most of us have probably attended events or dinners and wondered, what will happen to all this beautiful leftover food? Piloting a project with some our meal program partners, we’re working to capture excess food after special events. These partners are experts in repurposing collected food into delicious, balanced meals for our hungry neighbors. Together, we’re helping pave the way to reducing food waste in our community.

“We appreciate and are grateful for Second Harvest Heartland providing these connections. These often higher-end products are welcomed by clients, reduces the workload in our kitchens, reduces waste, and saves money, allowing us to expand housing and social services. Thank you for these opportunities!”

- Kathleen Turner, Food Services Partnership & Strategy Manager, Catholic Charities of St. Paul & Minneapolis

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