How a Beertender Fights Hunger, as Told by Ben
We sat down with Ben Hering, the Director of Engagement at the Minnesota Credit Union Network by day and Beetender at Indeed Brewing Company by night. Ben’s been supporting Second Harvest Heartland using his experiences and opportunities from both employers to help get food to people who’re struggling. We asked him just a few questions to get to the heart of why he cares so much about the ever-present issue of hunger.
Q: How did you hear about Second Harvest Heartland, and what inspired you to join the fight against hunger?
Ben: I first started interacting with and volunteering for Second Harvest Heartland through my former employer, Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union. Second Harvest Heartland is a Charity of Choice for Affinity Plus, so we often partnered on Food & Fund Drives and volunteer opportunities throughout the year. The more I learned about Second Harvest Heartland, the breadth of support they provide and the innovative initiatives they were working on, the more passionate I became about their mission of helping solve hunger-related issues in our communities.
What did you do next with that energy?
Ben: On the weekends, I work for a brewery in my Northeast Minneapolis neighborhood, Indeed Brewing Company. A few years ago they launched Indeed We Can, a give-back initiative that directs proceeds from their taproom every Wednesday night to employee-chosen, local nonprofits. Simply having a beer or buying a t-shirt on any given Wednesday night goes to supporting these amazing organizations. And, let’s just say, based on what Second Harvest Heartland does for hungry families, my employee choice has been easy.
What does community service and hunger relief mean to you?
Ben: I’ve always felt like the act of working toward a common good with someone you may not have ever met otherwise expands understanding, grows empathy and is the foundation of what a community is supposed to be.
Having extra time and energy is a privilege not everyone has – why not use some of it to give back?
Food is a basic human right. I’ve never truly felt the meaning of “hunger” myself. And I certainly don’t think anyone should feel that, especially when we have an abundance of food. By extension, hunger relief then is connecting those who feel hunger right now with the perfectly good food that has trouble finding its way into someone’s hands. On top of that, it’s taking away the negative connotation that comes with not being able to afford food. No one should feel bad about needing food. I can only hope that, if I was hungry, I would feel safe in knowing where I can get help.
How does your work as a Beertender and Indeed We Can connect to your day job?
Ben: 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 as well. 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.
Programs like FOODRx and the Hunger & Health Initiatives are innovative programs more people need access to – I’m so proud to support Second Harvest Heartland as an organization that pushes the envelope on hunger relief solutions.
Thanks so much to Ben and everyone like him who go out of their way to see how hunger affects everyday families and then use the opportunities they have to help others. Learn how you can get involved with your workplace!