Second Harvest Heartland was created on October 1, 2001 when Second Harvest Greater Minneapolis and Second Harvest St. Paul joined forces in the fight against hunger. On the day we opened our doors as a combined force, Minnesota’s two largest food banks brought more than 44 years of history and experience to the Heartland fight against hunger.
The region’s rich food banking history began in 1974 with the foundation of Emergency Fund Services, Inc. With the help of concerned community groups, EFS distributed food and funds throughout five St. Paul neighborhoods until 1980. As the need for their services grew, EFS developed programs and even a network of food shelves, eventually moving into a generous space donated by Firehouse Beans, Inc. The food bank continued to grow, changing locations and names to better reflect its services. In 1990, EFS officially became the Second Harvest St. Paul Food Bank.
Second Harvest Greater Minneapolis followed a similar path. Founded in 1984 as the Greater Minneapolis Food Bank, their mission was to feed those in need while reducing food waste. From the very beginning, the Greater Minneapolis Food Bank performed amazing works. In 1985, just three staff members distributed 1.8 million pounds of food and grocery products. By 2000, the name had changed to Second Harvest Greater Minneapolis and 24 staff members delivered 9.4 million pounds of food and groceries to the places it was needed the most.
The combined strength of these two pioneering food banks is still evident today. Second Harvest Heartland distributed more than 2 million pounds of groceries in its first month of operation in 2001 and last fiscal year we distributed more than 60 million pounds of food to our network of nearly 1,000 local food shelves, soup kitchens and shelters throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin.
The need is great and we can’t do it alone. Join us. Become a part of our rich history of helping the hungry through community partnerships.