Leigh Peters-Fransen, husband Joel and family, Donors & Volunteers

Thank You Donors!

Donor support helps make everything we do at Second Harvest Heartland possible! That’s why we’re designating an entire week—August 1-7—to show our thanks and appreciation to the individuals, families, community partners and corporate donors who support Second Harvest Heartland’s mission to end hunger together.

It takes all of us working together to fight hunger. Because of the generous support from our community last year—whether it was donating money, time or food—we were able to distribute more than 120 million pounds of foods to families across our service area including 41 counties in Minnesota and 18 counties in western Wisconsin.

Because of YOU, more of our neighbors had access to nutritious meals this past year.

We’re all in this together: with help from thousands of individuals and local organizations, and in partnership with 388 food shelves and nearly 1,000 hunger-relief programs, here’s what your support helped make possible last year:

  • Provided more than 107 million meals to neighbors experiencing hunger, supporting more than 813,000 neighbors who reached out to the hunger-relief network.
  • Rescued 39.7 million pounds of food from retail partners, preventing unsold but perfectly edible food from ending up in the landfill.
  • Prepared and distributed over 1 million to-go style meals (and over 2.7 million since launch in March 2020!) through Minnesota Central Kitchen, our prepared meal program, in partnership with over 100 community partners, including 18 active kitchen sites.
  • Processed over 13,200 new SNAP client referrals and assisted over 8,800 households with SNAP applications and re-certifications, helping get over 6 million meals to families in need.
  • Sourced 580,000 pounds of culturally connected food to provide food that is known and desired by the communities of color we support. This includes 30,000 pounds of locally grown fresh produce sourced from BIPOC growers and 550,000 pounds of dry goods and meat.

“Our oldest was born when my husband was in grad school and I was working limited hours on a specific visa. WIC made the difference to our grocery budget and I learned how much time and energy it takes to shop and cook on a strict budget. Canned beans as a convenience item and stale dated English muffins as a treat. I was reminded of this time again as I grocery shopped for our larger family during the pandemic, running into shortages and item limits (we go through 6 gallons of milk a week with everyone home).

As our family and budget have grown; donating to places that deal in basic needs and understand the dynamics and difficulties of getting everyone consistently fed has been an obvious focus for us. We have enjoyed volunteering at the warehouse doing meaningful work and feel our financial gifts are well spent on the goal of ending hunger.”

– Leigh Peters-Fransen

“Food is obviously necessary to sustain life, so we wanted to invest in a related nonprofit, especially with all the food insecurity during the pandemic. Since we knew Second Harvest was a larger umbrella organization, we decided to reach out to them about CGAs (charitable gift annuities). It has been a great experience and we look forward to partnering with them in various ways going forward.”

– Teresa Anderson

Dr. Harapanahalli Muralidhara is passionate about solving problems, especially when it comes to hunger, health and nutrition. A chemical engineer, Dr. Murali found Second Harvest Heartland through his employer of 20 years, Cargill. He has since been volunteering and making financial contributions to the organization for nearly 10 years. A big believer in philanthropy, Dr. Murali is instilling a spirit of giving back in his six grandchildren. Here’s what some of his grandchildren had to say about giving:

“Giving is a simple act of removing your ego from your spirit and sharing your gifts and blessings through kindness with others, regardless of their background. Giving is a simple concept and makes the world a better place.” - Azad

“Giving does not have to be just money, it can be food, knowledge or even your time. I am so proud my Thatha (grandpa) for helping to show us the value of giving!” – Lyla

“Giving makes me happy and is important because our family is very privileged and so we should shower on others,” - Nikki

“Giving is providing for others without anticipating anything in return. Giving humbles people and helps them realize not everyone has access to the resources they might have.” – Reya

“Fresh Thyme Market is dedicated to enriching the lives of the communities in which we serve. With an emphasis placed on local partnerships, Fresh Thyme had the opportunity to work with Second Harvest Heartland to help provide food and services to those in need. So many households rely on their local food banks, as well as other hunger relief programs for food assistance and Second Harvest Heartland aims to provide that much needed aid. We are inspired by Second Harvest Heartland’s commitment to ending hunger in Minnesota neighborhoods and are grateful for our foreseeable partnership.”

—Meghan Sedivy, Health and Wellness Strategy Manager, Fresh Thyme Market

“Second Harvest Heartland has been a long-time partner of Affinity Plus because our employees and members value their unwavering commitment to ensuring all families have food on their table. At Affinity Plus, we believe families should have the opportunity to own a home, send their kids to college, or whatever dreams they may value the most, but we also understand that where hunger persists, some of those dreams become secondary. We support Second Harvest because they ensure families can focus on the bigger things they want out of life.”

—Adam Layne, Senior Community Engagement Specialist, Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union

“Food insecurity in Minnesota has sadly become more prevalent due to the pandemic and rising inflation. In keeping with our longstanding support of hunger-relief efforts, Ameriprise employees and advisors are motivated to and actively volunteering with Second Harvest Heartland to help our community through this turbulent time of need.”

—Brian Pietsch, head of Community Relations at Ameriprise

Our work isn’t done yet—as nearly half a million Minnesotans still face hunger today. But because of vital community support, more kids, seniors and families in our area will have enough to eat.

On behalf of the entire Second Harvest Heartland team, our hunger-relief partners and the neighbors we serve, thank you for your support and being part of our mission to end hunger together.