Doing More for our Hungry Neighbors
A message from our CEO
Achieving a 253 percent increase in profits, test scores or farm yields is incredibly rare and remarkable. Bankers, teachers and farmers would be overjoyed with these results.
That’s why I’m thrilled to report the following: As a supporter of hunger relief, over the past 10 years you achieved a 253 percent increase in meals provided to your hungry neighbors.
That’s right, just 10 years ago, we proudly reported that Second Harvest Heartland was able to provide for more than 32 million meals in one year. Today, that number is 81 million—a 253 percent increase. While many of our community members still don’t know where they will find all the food they need this month, together we have made gigantic leaps in solving hunger in our region.
In addition to more meals provided, this 10 years of growth is evidenced in many other ways. You’ve helped us build upon our strengths in sourcing and distributing food donations to become a robust and multi-faceted hunger relief organization. Today, you’ll find Second Harvest Heartland in healthcare clinics, delivering food to patients that will improve their health. You’ll also find us in schools, helping kids and parents connect to food and nutrition programs to help ensure their academic success.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, this unprecedented organizational growth has led to a need for more physical space. This year we purchased facilities for a new distribution center in Brooklyn Park. Our current, 30-year-old facility can no longer meet the needs of our community, and we’re excited to have the space required to accept and process more fresh food donations, offer additional services to food insecure people, and engage greater numbers of volunteers in reducing hunger.
More than ever before, Second Harvest Heartland will be positioned to meet the needs of the 1,000 food shelves and meal programs that rely on us for food and support of local hunger relief.
As I reflect on this growth and transformation, I’m humbled and inspired by the many volunteers, donors, community partners and staff members who have dedicated themselves to eliminating hunger in new and creative ways. Second Harvest Heartland will need your continued dedication in the coming months.
Potential changes and funding cuts to safety net programs that support working families, children and seniors in Minnesota have great potential to cause additional—and even overwhelming—demands on our region’s network of food banks and food shelves. Over the next several months I invite you to advocate for programs and policies that offer support to the people we serve, so that we can maintain our progress in ensuring all our fellow Minnesotans are properly nourished.
As you know, if even one of our neighbors is in need of a meal, we are called to action. The stories and results we’re sharing with you in this Community Report reflect the impact of your support over the past year. Thank you for taking action against hunger in 2017. As you read these inspiring stories, please celebrate our collective accomplishments and consider how you might like to next be involved in creating a community in which everyone has the food he or she needs to live a happy and healthy life.
Rob Zeaske, CEO, Second Harvest Heartland