Second Harvest Heartland works to reinvent hunger relief through leadership and innovation. As the Upper Midwest’s largest hunger relief organization, our goal is not only to help our hungry neighbors today, but to provide the means for everyone to be fed tomorrow. We're known for distributing great amounts of food quickly and efficiently; in 2012 alone, we collected, warehoused and distributed more than 76 million pounds of food—but we’re also constantly pioneering ways to reduce waste and better use the abundant resources available in this land of plenty.
Second Harvest Heartland is a member of Feeding America, a national network of more than 200 food banks serving every state in the United States. Membership means access to millions of pounds of surplus food and grocery donations from manufacturers and producers throughout the country.
Working with our network of partners, volunteers and donors as well as people like you, our 90,000+ square feet of dry, refrigerator and freezer space is constantly accepting and distributing donations. Our fleet of trucks travels nearly half a million miles a year, picking up food donations and delivering them to local food shelves, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, senior community centers and children's after school programs.
To truly relieve hunger in our community, it’s important that we first transform the thinking behind hunger relief. Providing a bag of groceries to a person in need today is obviously important. But how do we make it so that person isn’t in need tomorrow?
Implementing sustainable systems that feed our neighbors in immediate need while helping them get back on their feet and in position to help others is the key to ending the cycle of hunger. It’s becoming increasingly clear that providing our hungry neighbors information about available resources is just as important as the food source itself. What good is a food source if no one knows about it?
Transforming the thinking behind hunger relief from "How to solve the current problem now," into "How to solve the entire problem tomorrow," is a critical aspect of what we do.
To implement truly effective hunger relief, we must constantly evolve to meet the increasing need. The goal of each Second Harvest Heartland program is to do more than simply distribute food.
Initiatives like Harvest to Home collect unsold or un-harvested fruits and vegetables from farmers and deliver it to the tables of our neighbors in need. Our Food Rescue program sees that fresh surplus goes directly from area retailers to the shelves of our agency partners, eliminating hundreds of tons of waste in the process. The Pallet of the Month Club asks for one relatively small donation from 30 retailers per month. If successful, the program will generate nearly half a million pounds of first-run food every year. That's 390,000 meals for our friends in need.
Programs, services and ideas that do more are the key to true hunger relief now and in the future.
Second Harvest Heartland programs and initiatives set examples throughout Minnesota and nationwide. Thanks in part to Second Harvest Heartland's outreach assistance and grant programs, nearly twice the amount of meals have been distributed through the Summer Food Service Program, a USDA program facilitated by the Minnesota Department of Education, in the past 4 years.
Hunger-Free Minnesota, a joint effort by eight Minnesota relief organizations, including Second Harvest Heartland, is the first collaboration of its kind, opening eyes throughout the state about the effects of hunger on not just the hungry, but on every single Minnesotan.
Spearheading partnerships like Hunger-Free Minnesota and SFSP is vital in bringing the problem of hunger in Minnesota to the forefront.