Fight Hunger. Spark Change.
Benjamin Franklin is often credited with postulating that nothing in this world can be said to be certain, except death and taxes. While that may be fun to quote, at Second Harvest Heartland, we believe we can be certain of a few things without the faintest shadow of a doubt. For example, we know that our generous donors, dedicated volunteers and mighty network of hunger-relief agencies and meal program partners we work with will show up, day after day, year after year, to fight hunger. We know that one in 11 people in our state is hungry. And we know that we have more than enough food to feed them, but that getting that food from where there is plenty to where there is the greatest need can be a challenge. Yet, it’s a challenge we can face because of 1) the above-mentioned groups and 2) Retail Food Rescue partners like Walmart, who every week deliver food to our warehouse for redistribution. Most of the food donated by Walmart is fresh produce packaged in a way that affords it a long shelf-life, making it extremely valuable to those we serve.
Since 2015, the Walmart distribution center in Mankato, Minn., has generously donated two or more truckloads of fresh produce, twice a week, to help us feed our hungry neighbors. The amount of food donated is so huge, it not only helps keep Mankato-area food pantries well stocked, it helps stock pantries throughout the greater region.
The food is redistributed by Second Harvest Heartland to food shelves and pantries like the VEAP (Volunteers Enlisted to Assist People) food pantry in Bloomington, Minn. According to Nathan Rust, VEAP’s food operations and sourcing manager, fresh produce is one of the most requested items by families visiting the food pantry.
“There is an extremely high demand for produce,” he said. “We serve over 8,000 individuals a month. It is so important that these families have access to healthy food, so they have the opportunity to live healthy lives.”
VEAP receives nearly daily deliveries of food from Second Harvest Heartland to help feed the more than 8,000 food pantry customers they serve each month. Much of the fresh produce comes from Walmart.
“We are so appreciative of the donations from the Walmart distribution center in Mankato,” said Julie Vanhove, food sourcing manager for Second Harvest Heartland. “The produce we get from them is among the freshest we receive. These healthy items are highly valued by food shelves and clients. And together we’re helping to reduce waste in our landfills.”
In addition to food donations, Second Harvest Heartland received more than $300,000 from Walmart last year through the company’s Fight Hunger. Spark Change. campaign.
Three Ways to Get Involved
Walmart and Sam’s Club are making it easy for customers to help our hungry neighbors. Now through May 20, you can help fight hunger by:
1) Donating $1, $2 or $5 at the register during checkout, or choosing your own amount to give. Every $1 can help us provide 3 meals.
2) Purchasing participating items to secure 1 meal per item. Look for the Fight Hunger. Spark Change. section at your Walmart or Sam’s Club store.
3) Volunteering at Second Harvest Heartland. Individuals and groups are welcome; register today. [make “register” a link to the volunteer calendar]
Retail Food Rescue is Second Harvest Heartland’s largest program. Last year, we collected more than 38.8 million pounds of food through the program, diverting it from landfills and on to the plates of our hungry neighbors. Walmart and Sam’s Club are two of nearly 500 stores that donate food through Second Harvest Heartland’s Food Rescue Program. Our network of agency partners collects 60 percent of Food Rescue donations through local partnerships, keeping the path short and the foods local.
For more information or to see how Second Harvest Heartland is benefitting from this campaign, visit Walmart’s Fight Hunger page.