Through my work at Second Harvest Heartland, I’ve had the opportunity to interview dozens of women about their struggle to provide food for their families. It’s been a humbling and eye-opening experience. I’m ashamed to admit, before I started working at Second Harvest Heartland, I knew very little about these women's struggles and ignorantly assumed they needed help through some fault of their own. I was so wrong. Most of the women I interviewed are single-parents, working full time just trying to make ends meet. They come from different backgrounds, ethnicities, education and income levels. Each of their stories is unique. Yet they all have one thing in common—they will do anything for their children. -TM
This Mother’s Day, we celebrate all the mothers and grandmothers who struggle to put food on the table for their children. The ones who work tirelessly every day to provide enough fresh produce, lean protein and dairy so that their kids don’t just get by in the world—but thrive. The ones who worry because they don’t always know where their next meal will come from—or if it will come.
Mothers like Laurie, a single parent to three children with disabilities and full-time support worker in South St. Paul. The help she receives from The Open Door Pantry in Eagan allows her to keep healthy food on her family’s table. Or Michelle, a widow and single mother of four, who juggles being a parent, a personal care assistant and a full-time student. With the help of her local food shelf and fresh produce distribution at The Camden Promise, she is able to feed her children five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Or Heidi, a Cottage Grove resident whose temporary involvement in food programs began out of the necessity to feed her family with very limited funds—and led to her becoming a community activist. Or Paola, who had to quit her job after her husband became ill. She found help for her family of seven through Merrick Community Services’ Food Shelf. Or the hundreds of Latina women each year who seek refuge for themselves and their children at Casa de Esperanza—a 12-bed domestic violence shelter in the Twin Cities.
Second Harvest Heartland works with nearly 1,000 partner food shelves, pantries and other meal programs every day to reach the one in 11 Minnesotans—many of them women like Laurie, Michelle, Paola and Heidi—who don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Together, we can help these mothers secure a better future for themselves and their children. Learn more about our partnerships and how you can help.