Volunteers pack potatoes during a volunteer shift

Second Harvest Heartland Holiday Gift Guide 2023

The holiday season is fast approaching, and with it comes the joyous hustle and bustle of getting everything ready so that we can spend time and celebrate with our loved ones. Second Harvest Heartland appreciates everyone who gets into the holiday spirit of giving back and making sure that every table in Minnesota is filled with seasonal favorites. Below, we’d like to highlight some ideas as you cross things off your holiday to-do list.

Donating to Second Harvest Heartland 

The best way to support your neighbors in Minnesota is to donate money to hunger-relief programs like Second Harvest Heartland, who can make even a one-dollar donation go extremely far in fighting hunger. Every one-dollar donation provides three meals to neighbors in need. Second Harvest Heartland gives donors an option to send an e-card or letter to notify your recipient of the donation in their honor. 

An illustration of a hand accepting money

In recent years, we’ve seen more families forgo gifts and choose to donate together instead. Each family member brings a donation and chooses a nonprofit they would like to give to and puts it in a drawing. Then one nonprofit is chosen to receive the pooled money. 

A family activity can also be a fun way to contribute. One local family makes cookies each year for donations from their friends using a Virtual Fund Drive. They spend a weekend together making cookies and then deliver them to those who donate. They enjoy spending quality time together and raising money for those in their community experiencing hunger. 

Volunteer Your Time

A group of volunteers wash their hands before entering a packing center

Of course, one of the most valuable gifts you can give is time with those you care about. January and February are two of the hardest months to find volunteers. Reserve a spot for one of our packing shifts at our Brooklyn Park Volunteer Center and spend time with your friends, family, and co-workers while also giving the gift of nutritious meals to our neighbors. 

Donating To Your Local Food Shelves 

A food shelf with winter vegetables

Donating to your local food shelf is a great way to help people in need in your area. Consider hosting a holiday party where everyone brings an item, or adding a food drive element to any of your holiday festivities. Second Harvest Heartland asked our food shelf partners about their biggest needs this holiday season: 

Baking supplies and baking mixes 
Canned fish and meats 
Fresh fruits and vegetables 
Peanut butter 
Personal hygiene items (ex: deodorant, soap, shampoo, toothpaste) 
Household cleaning items 

An illustration of a bowl of soup

Please contact your community food shelves to see what their needs may be—every food shelf is different in terms of their stock, so asking directly (or going to their social media pages to see what requests they may have) is the most helpful way to assist. 

As with Second Harvest Heartland, supplying a financial gift to your local food shelf allows them to put your gift toward their greatest needs.  

For those looking to get some shopping done while also helping out their neighbors, Second Harvest Heartland have partnered with some fantastic local vendors who have gotten into the spirit of giving. 

Hillary’s Heartland Hunger Relief Gift Baskets 
Tis the season for holiday gift baskets! Fortunately, Hillary’s Gifts has you covered with Hillary’s Heartland Hunger Relief Gift Baskets, filled with savory and sweet snacks that are sure to please your business associates, friends, or family. 10% of the proceeds will be donated to Second Harvest Heartland, plus your recipient will receive a special card acknowledging the donation. 

Phil Thompson’s “A Minnesota Holiday, Vol. 15”

Minnesota musician, Phil Thompson, is back with our favorite stocking stuffer album “A Minnesota Holiday, Vol. 15”. The album – sold exclusively at Kowalski’s and online – features beloved MN artists singing festive holiday tunes and for the fourth consecutive year, album proceeds will support Second Harvest Heartland.  

Rustica Bakery Pastry and Coffee Bundle 

Getting ready for the holidays can be exhausting. Rustica Bakery recognizes that we sometimes need a little pick me up. This Minneapolis and Edina staple is offering a menu bundle of a pastry and a coffee that donates $3 to Second Harvest Heartland’s Kitchen Coalition with each purchase.  


While doing holiday shopping for your family, consider helping other families put food on their holiday tables. Hy-Vee invites customers to donate at the register, buy a participating product, and/or donate online to support the Feeding America network of food banks. Second Harvest Heartland will benefit from donations at Hy-Vee stores across our service area.   


The 2023 Holiday Puzzle Derby is upon us! Order the 2023 holiday puzzle and record you and your team completing the challenge for a chance at puzzle-solving glory. Plus, proceeds from each puzzle are donated to Second Harvest Heartland. 

FireLake Grill Walleye Sandwich 

While you’re shopping for last-minute gifts, make sure to stop by the FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar in Radisson Blu Mall of America and grab their signature FireLake Walleye Sandwich. 10% percent of the proceeds go directly to Second Harvest Heartland. The MOA, walleye, and helping neighbors: what’s more Minnesota than that? 

Surly Brewing Co. Winterize 

Whether you need to relax after a long day of shopping or want to give the gift of brew to friends and family, Surly Brewing’s winter seasonal will warm you right up. Winterize is available on draft and in 12-packs of 12 oz. everywhere. For every 12-pack of Winterize sold in market, Surly is donating $1 to Second Harvest Heartland, up to $5,000. You’ll also find information about Second Harvest Heartland on the package, with a QR code to give if you’d like to support the cause. 

Churchill St. Soup 

Independently owned and operated, Churchill St. in Shoreview is a chef driven restaurant offering seasonal and creative dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They believe that a place to gather and enjoy good food can transform a community, which is why they donate $0.50 to Second Harvest Heartland’s Kitchen Coalition with every cup or bowl of seasonal soup purchased. Stop by for a taste!  

A Second Harvest Heartland employee gives directions to volunteers

As you gather around the table this holiday season, families across the region are doing the same thanks to the support of you and our partners. Happy Holidays and best wishes for a wonderful 2024!