6 Amazing Moments of 2017 (That You Made Possible)

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December 29, 2017 By: JT Pinther Category: SHH News

For everyone at Second Harvest Heartland, 2017 was a special, fast-moving year. It’s not possible to list all of the amazing moments from this year, but we did come up with this short list from a few Second Harvest Heartland employees. Every day is another opportunity to live our mission of ending hunger through community partnerships, and these stories show that it’s within every single interaction that this work happens. Read below to see what we mean!


When a client says, “Thank you for listening to me.”

tina eOne of my favorite moments has been when I hear a deep sigh, and the other person says, “Thank you for your time and listening to me.” So often, systems and processes are the emphasis. I make it a point to remember that we are working with and for people; often people who are underrepresented, marginalized and labeled. I mean it when I ask, “How are you today?” Nobody should feel like they are a bother or a burden when they ask for help. If I can help one more person access healthy food and resources through empowerment, encouragement and education – I consider that a successful day! I love our work and the difference we make!

—Tina E., SNAP Outreach Specialist 

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Making a difference for a young family

manny rOne day, I sat down and talked to a patient, her husband and their 1-year-old son. They told me they were having trouble with food and clothes in their transition moving to St. Cloud, Minn. from Washington. After listening for a while, I began telling them what Second Harvest Heartland could help with.

I told them I would send their information to our SNAP Outreach Specialist who will help them with the SNAP application process. I also referred them to CentraCare’s Patient Advocate (located in the clinic) who will help them with other county assistance applications, including getting health insurance and more. In addition, the family received a couple of FOODRx food boxes and information on the local food shelves that also provide clothes in St. Cloud. I helped them load the food boxes in their car, and as they thanked me, I noticed they were much more at ease than when I first met them!

As a father to two small kids, I can understand the struggles of a young family starting out and hitting a rough patch. With the help of the clinic staff, helping this family through a tough situation was easily one of the most memorable moments this year.

—Manny R. Jr., Health Care Program Coordinator


Seeing the impact of our work first-hand

taylor dWe distribute Farmer’s Market Coupons to many of our clients in the Nutrition Assistance Program for Seniors (NAPS), so as a staff we are all over the place in July – distributing coupons, doing outreach and working with the seniors picking up boxes at our Maplewood location. Through visiting many of our NAPS sites, we are able to have wonderful interactions with individuals who need food help and site partners. During the visits we do in July, we really see in person the true impact of the work that we often do remotely!

—Taylor D., CSFP Distribution Representative 


Food Access Summit

ruti dThe Food Access Summit in Duluth was a favorite moment this year! During the conference, I was able to engage in several important conversations around the topic of food justice, and I gained so much valuable insight from the leaders of the breakout sessions, including the topics of “Refugees and Food Access” and “Racism in the Food System.”

It was really great to network with several amazing community leaders who all have a hand in ending hunger in our state!

—Ruti D., Agency Relations Account Specialist 


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Learning from nearly 1,000 food shelf and meal program partners

bonnie nI just joined the Second Harvest Heartland team in November, and I’m excited for the upcoming year! In 2018, I’m looking forward to building relationships with our agency partners. Getting to know them and learning their agencies needs as the seasons change will help me, as an Agency Services Coordinator, best support them. Hopefully, this means that we’ll be able to maximize the number of items that go out the door, therefore minimizing food waste!

—Bonnie N., Agency Services Coordinator 


Thanked for being a lifeline

chris bWe have had many wonderful clients come in over the year, but one interaction that stuck with me is a day when we had three CSFP food recipients in the lobby, all waiting on Metro Mobility for their rides after picking up a NAPS box. They were having a lively conversation, discussing their challenges, and they told me how grateful they are for the food they receive from Second Harvest Heartland. It made me very happy to know that we are a lifeline for them!

Then, they talked about their volunteer experiences, and it turns out all three had volunteered in their community for many, many years - one at a local food shelf, one at a thrift store and one at a church. I was touched and humbled listening to their stories, hearing how they have given so much of their time to help others. Our clients have amazing stories to tell, and I’m glad I have the opportunity to hear some of those stories! 

—Chris B., Receptionist/Office Assistant 


We were the ones who had the chance to live these moments, but you are the one who makes them possible. Thank you for a great 2017—we will continue to share the moments that make this work so special as we dive into 2018!

Did you have a great moment with Second Harvest Heartland in 2017? Tell us about it in the comments below!



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