The Hunger Hero award publicly recognizes six exemplary charitable partners for their role in filling the missing meal gap in Minnesota.
We're pleased to announce the recipients of Second Harvest Heartland's annual Hunger Hero awards, an award created to honor and recognize organizational partners who make a compassionate and transformational impact on those who are hungry in the heartland.
Hunger Heroes are recognized in six categories, each of which is critical to Second Harvest Heartland’s mission of ending hunger through community partnerships and all of which must work in tandem to collectively achieve that goal.
Together, these six organizations provided more than 13 million meals!
Partner with integral growth in employee volunteerism
Cargill provides tremendous support to Second Harvest Heartland’s volunteer program by driving employee engagement—increasing employee volunteer hours by 40 percent in 2015. Cargill retirees are also committed to hunger relief, and contributed more than 1,600 volunteer hours last year. In addition to volunteer hours, Cargill contributes to our exceptional volunteer experience through their sponsorship of the Cargill Community Room at our Golden Valley volunteer center.
Partner generating outstanding visibility in raising the awareness of hunger
CUB has been a long-standing partner to Second Harvest Heartland through both Retail Food Rescue, donating millions of pounds of food each year, and financial support. This past year, CUB retooled its annual customer round-up campaign to create “CUB Cares,” an innovative collaboration that brought in their partnership with Gopher Sports, key food vendor sponsors, media partners and more to help raise increased funds and awareness of the issue of hunger. CUB created a very robust promotional campaign incorporating former Gophers football coach, Jerry Kill, and mascot Goldy Gopher to encourage CUB customers and our community to round up their purchases at checkout. Their multi-faceted marketing and promotional campaign drove more than $90,000 in donations in the first year!
Food: GNP Company
Partner with the largest growth in food donation support
GNP Company, makers of the Gold’n Plump and Just BARE chicken brands, has generously supported Second Harvest Heartland for the past 12 years, and was our largest food donor in 2015 with 1.7 million meals' worth of chicken for families in need. As the demand for food assistance continues to grow in our communities, so does the need for high-quality protein in order to provide a balanced diet. GNP Company’s charitable contributions of premium chicken products have made a difference. We appreciate their partnership in our hunger relief efforts, as well as their continued dedication to healthy food, families and farms.
Innovation: Hennepin County Medical Center
Partner who created an innovative way to develop a new and sustainable approach to hunger relief
Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) has partnered with Second Harvest Heartland through the HCMC Food Shelf and Summer Food Service Program. In 2015, HCMC expanded its hunger relief efforts in a new, innovative way by building an order for food assistance into their electronic medical records. The referral can be used by any HCMC provider to send names and contact information of food insecure patients to the Second Harvest Heartland SNAP Outreach team. In the first year of this pilot, HCMC providers generated more than 1,000 patient food referrals to Second Harvest Heartland, where food insecure patients received assistance in completing SNAP applications and information of other ways to access healthy food in their communities.
Retail Food Rescue: Kowalski’s Markets
Retail partner with outstanding contribution to the rescue of food
As Second Harvest Heartland’s pioneer Retail Food Rescue partner, Kowalski’s Markets helped pave the way for transforming hunger relief in our region. Kowalski’s early engagement and support for expanding donations to include perishable departments led to revolutionizing retail donation practices. Today’s program has expanded to include perishable donations from many retail partners. Kowalski’s longtime support continues to grow while the need for fresh, healthy food continues to rise. In 2015, Kowalski’s stores achieved the largest percentage increase in donations from the previous year by engaging their team members to donate all eligible fresh items through the Retail Food Rescue program.
Partner with the leading financial impact on hunger relief programs
Medtronic had the largest growth in financial donations to Second Harvest Heartland this past year. The Medtronic Foundation supports charitable donations employees make by offering a Matching Grant that doubles their impact in the community. Program flexibility allows employees to donate to an organization they feel passionate about, which helps us, at Second Harvest Heartland, ensure more nutritious foods are on the plates of our hungry neighbors.