Leading with Heart
When families can’t make ends meet, they often rely on their local food shelf or meal program to keep everyone fed. Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis operates the largest meal program in the Twin Cities, serving more than 3,000 meals a day. They depend on Second Harvest Heartland for much of the food to make those meals happen.
We are very fortunate to have Second Harvest Heartland in our community, says Kathleen Turner, Food Services Partnership Manager with Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
They are well-managed, and they genuinely care about the clients at the center of their mission.
As one of the largest food banks in the United States, we take our role seriously. Beyond simply “recycling” donated food, we collaborate with numerous partners to relieve hunger in many ways:
- We joined forces with the five other food banks serving Minnesota to promote Share Fresh Minnesota, which works with farmers to encourage donations of excess produce to local food banks, and Invest an Acre, a program where farmers donate proceeds from a portion of their non-edible crop sales.
- In 2014, the Minnesota Legislature passed the "Farm to Foodshelf" bill, a $2 million, 3-year appropriation funded by the State of Minnesota to help the state's agricultural producers and processors offset a portion of their costs to harvest and package for transfer donated produce that would otherwise go unharvested or be discarded. Growers donate this produce to help food shelves and other meal programs in the state provide more fresh food to clients. The program is administered through Second Harvest Heartland and the other Feeding America food banks serving Minnesota.
- Our Hunger and Health forums brought together partners from health, government and other arenas to better understand the reasons to link the hunger and health care sectors to improve patients’ lives.
- Our new Food + You school-based hunger relief pilot program—lead funding provided by Target—offers food boxes and the services of a nutrition navigator at 10 schools in Minneapolis and St. Paul, helping feed students and their families each month.
- In recognition of our strong leadership, innovation and efficiencies, Second Harvest Heartland was named 2014 Food Bank of the Year by Feeding America.
- Year in and year out, our staff, leadership team and Board of Directors bring talents, insight and compassion to the fight against hunger.
Volunteers Deeply Touch the Community
Second Harvest Heartland volunteers put our work into motion by contributing over 147,000 hours of volunteer time in 2014. In addition to our typical volunteer projects, volunteers helped us execute new, innovative ways of distributing fresh food and produce. Some examples of their contributions to the fresh food efforts include:
- Repacked 3 million pounds of fresh produce at our Golden Valley facility into family-friendly packaging for our agency partners.
- Helped pilot fresh produce distributions or “produce drops” in North Minneapolis and Maplewood—distributing 82,000 pounds of fresh food to those high-need communities.
- Worked with Second Harvest Heartland staff to move 153,000 pounds of food to seniors through our CSFP drive thru in Maplewood.
Because of this tremendous contribution, our hungry neighbors received more wholesome food than ever before!
Second Harvest Heartland’s Board of Directors is a dedicated group that volunteers many hours to oversee and implement our mission of ending hunger through community partnerships. These individuals work behind the scenes to provide thoughtful leadership and oversee staff’s work in financial management, strategic planning, fundraising, operations, community engagement and more.
I am very proud to serve as Board Chair for Second Harvest Heartland and to help serve those in need in our community. Every day, children, seniors and hard working adults struggle with food insecurity. These are our neighbors and friends, and together, we can help bring them comfort and security. There is no better organization in the state or country to lead in that effort than Second Harvest Heartland.