What is a Food Bank?
A food bank sources and distributes fresh food, free groceries and healthy, nutritious meals through a network of local food shelves.
THE ROLE OF A FOOD BANK
How Second Harvest Heartland works
A food bank acts as a wholesaler, sourcing large amounts of food and making it available to smaller, local food shelves and food pantries, so they can provide free groceries and healthy meals to our neighbors experiencing hunger and food insecurity.
The food we provide stocks the shelves and fridges of more than 388 local food shelves so they can help hungry families, children and seniors. In 2021, we distributed more than 120 million pounds of food.
What's the Difference?
Food Bank vs. Food Shelf?
Second Harvest Heartland is a food bank that receives extremely large quantities of donated food, and purchases food directly. We sort and repack this food into smaller-sized portions, store it in our warehouse, refrigerator and freezer space, then distribute it as needed to thousands of hunger relief partner programs in the region.
A food shelf or food pantry is one of those hunger relief partners that receives food from food banks (like Second Harvest Heartland) to distribute directly to their neighbors in need. A food shelf connects these hungry families in local community with the healthy, nutritious food they need to thrive.