Growth Brings Opportunity: Looking Ahead
Pallets of green peppers hurry past on forklifts, as huge totes full of cabbage are unloaded from the back of a semitrailer. Volunteers repackage donated bread, while staff members reach out to food shelves to alert them that sweet corn is available. It’s a typical summer day at Second Harvest Heartland, and in all corners of the organization, getting food to our clients is a tightly choreographed ballet.
As more people use food shelves and more food is distributed to them, the demands on Second Harvest Heartland continue to grow. Last year, we distributed a record 89.4 million pounds of food – 40 million more pounds than just seven years ago. A growing percentage of that food is fresh—now nearly 50 percent of what we distribute.
Our clients love fresh food, and we’re thrilled to provide wholesome options thanks to our Retail Food Rescue and Share Fresh programs, but more perishables mean more special handling and even faster turnaround. This adds cost and complexity to the puzzle, so we work creatively every day to make the most of our resources.
- Our warehouses are the nerve centers of what we do, serving as hubs to receive and distribute donations large and small. Learn a few fun facts about our operations, and take a virtual tour to see our warehouse in action.
- Since 2009, we maximized our space and more than doubled our warehouse capacity by adding a new Service Center space in Golden Valley in addition to installing new racking at our Maplewood facility.
- Operations added a second shift in June 2014 to more safely receive, move and distribute the increased food volume.
- The Produce Capture Institute, led by Second Harvest Heartland, is a first-of-its kind resource within the Feeding America network, focused on locally sourcing unutilized agricultural products.
- The launch of the Produce Bagging Center, a pilot project that will allow us to rescue an additional 2.5 million pounds of produce for distribution into the emergency food system with the help of volunteers and a produce bagging machine.