Our Partners in Caring

Partners 2017 champions of hope

April 14, 2017 By: Marie Pauley Category: SHH News

Meet a few of our partners that are going above and beyond to play a crucial role in hunger relief. They are volunteers, donors, food shelf partners and more and we call them “Champions of Hope.”

Food as fuel

Deisy has been Manager at ECHO Food Shelf in Mankato since 2003. Though humble about her organization’s accomplishments and her role in helping make them happen, ECHO has served more than 50,000 individuals in their service area each of the last few years.

Deisy Champions of hope

“Being able to have food is a basic necessity. It’s not a want, it’s a need. I believe that when you have food, it allows you to go to school and think clearly. It allows you to go to work and get through the day. It’s one of those things that’s needed in order to do anything else.” — Deisy De Leon Esqueda

Sharing fresh produce

3Mgives improves lives and builds sustainable communities through social investments and thoughtful engagement of 3M employees worldwide. Second Harvest Heartland welcomes many groups of 3M volunteers each year as they share their skills and passions across our organization. In 2016, several groups stepped up to help out at free produce distributions in the Frogtown neighborhood of St. Paul.

“We were looking for a different kind of volunteer opportunity, and the produce distribution volunteer sessions in Frogtown really spoke to us. Interacting and engaging with people on a one-on-one level while you are giving them fresh fruits and vegetables was both eye-opening and rewarding.” — Kelly Alaspa and Michelle Mok, 3M employees

Growing food for hungry neighbors

From his family’s farm, Eric Nathe began partnering with Second Harvest Heartland to donate excess produce that would’ve otherwise gone to waste. Thanks in part to support through reimbursement from Farm to Foodshelf, Eric has been able to increase his produce donations over the past few years.

Eric Nathe Champions of Hope

“I hate to see produce that is still good, still edible, go unharvested. As a grower that’s a tough thing because I know how many people are out there that don’t have the money to eat.” — Eric Nathe, Riverside Farms

Helping one person at a time

Jan Schwanke runs a food shelf in southern Minnesota that reaches five rural communities serving 65-70 households each month. They recently expanded their food shelf to reach even more people with more food, including fresh produce. The food shelf also partners with the local Mayo Clinic for outreach and delivery to the aging rural population by providing low-income senior food boxes through CSFP.

“I was asked one time, ‘why do you do what you do?’ It's because I am there to support the one person, they might not even need that much food, they might just need someone to talk to. If I can make them smile, that’s all that matters.” — Jan Schwanke, Springfield Area Food Shelf

Empowering listeners to help

Dave Schrader and Tim Dennie of the talk radio show, Darkness on the Edge of Town, have hosted an Halloween fund drive on-air since 2007. Inspired to support Second Harvest Heartland by his favorite artist, Bruce Springsteen, Dave has committed to giving his listeners an easy way to make a local impact. Last year’s drive was the largest yet, raising more than $13,000 – nearly double from the year before.

“It breaks my heart to see so many veterans, working families and other people struggling. They’re our friends and our families and neighbors. We know it makes an impact and right in our neighborhoods. The buying power you have makes it easy to get listeners to help.”

Read the stories of even more individuals that we’ve recognized as Champions of Hope in our online Annual Community Report.


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