Minnesota Central Kitchen
Minnesota Central Kitchen harnesses the power of the food bank to bring nutritious, prepared meals to those facing the greatest need, with a priority placed on communities of color.
We were born in the early days of the pandemic to rescue food, re-employ furloughed restaurant workers and get urgently needed meals to a growing community of people facing hunger. Today, through a powerful network of more than 100 kitchen partners, we’re working to ensure ready-to-eat meals are available in every community, so everyone is fed.
Dinner is ready! How it Works
Our kitchen partners—a group of restaurants, caterers and others—order and receive 60 percent of their meal ingredients from Second Harvest Heartland’s food bank supply chain, reducing food waste. Their expert culinary teams transform ingredients into individual and family-style meals. Minnesota Central Kitchen partners with a diverse group of restaurants, with special effort placed on producing meals that taste like home for communities of color. A network of trusted partners then brings meals to dozens of sites across our region for individuals and families to enjoy. Most meals are served cold to be reheated at home, while some are served warm and ready to eat.
The Power of a Prepared Meal
Nothing quite compares to having dinner made for you, especially when you might face barriers to making your own meal. That’s what makes Minnesota Central Kitchen so important. For far too many people facing hunger, receiving food only solves part of the problem. That’s because many people today don’t have the time, kitchen or ability to cook. Families working multiple jobs and living paycheck to paycheck lack cooking time, neighbors experiencing homelessness don’t have a kitchen and seniors and those living with illness can struggle to cook on their own. Prepared meals make nutritious, made-with-care food more accessible to more people.
In the News
- 4/14/2022 'Taste like home': Food program offers free, culturally specific meals for people in need
- 12/16/2021 Minnesota Central Kitchen reaches 2 million meals, dishing up food for people in need
- 8/4/2021 Minneapolis College works with Minnesota Central Kitchen to curb food insecurity among college students
- 7/23/2021 Food is love: Afro Deli owner becomes part of Minnesota Central Kitchen to take care of neighbors 07/14/2021 They left their jobs during the pandemic to fight hunger in Minnesota
- 5/21/2021 Culinary Activism Brings Communities Together
- 04/28/2021 Some Twin Cities business making pandemic pivot indicative of an economic recovery
- 3/26/2021 Twin Cities restaurants fight food insecurity – even as their industry struggles
- 02/15/2021 Second Harvest Heartland sees 30% increase in need during pandemic
- 01/29/2021 'Ripple Votive' spreading hope, supporting hiring
- 12/21/20 ‘We still care.’ Minnesota’s food industry shifts gears to feed the most vulnerable
- 12/07/2020 Why We Give: Turning donations and food into jobs and meals for those who need them most
- 9/4/2020 Minnesota Central Kitchen on track to distribute 1 million prepared meals
- 04/14/2020 Cargill Foundation donates $1M, cafeteria space to support Minnesota Central Kitchen
- 4/10/2020 Minnesota Central Kitchen gives restaurant workers jobs while feeding those who are hungry
- 3/19/2020 Minnesota's Central Kitchen forms to provide meals for those in need
- 3/18/2020 Minnesota restaurants are closed, but their cooks are still feeding those in need
- Read more Minnesota Central Kitchen stories on Second Harvest Heartland’s Blog
Current and Past Kitchen Partners
Minnesotan Central Kitchen is an initiative of Second Harvest Heartland, created by founding partners Chowgirls Catering and Loaves & Fishes. Since inception, we’ve welcomed a number of kitchen and catering partners, including Afro Deli, Appetite For Change, Big Marina, Boston Scientific, Campus Club, Cargill Compass Kitchen, Cheng Heng, Community Bridge, Compass Group, Create Catering, Eat for Equity, Eurest Dining, Fhima’s, InvolveMN @ Minneapolis Women’s Club, Optum, Oasis Market and Grill Restaurant, Pham’s Rice Bowl, The Sioux Chef and Indigenous Food Lab, Surly Brewing Company, St. Paul College Culinary Arts, and The Wedge Table.
Our community distribution hubs are many and include high schools, colleges, community centers, churches and more.
Our work would not be possible without support from thousands of individual donors and the support of partners like Bank of America, Bentson Foundation, Cargill, Robert & Teri Crosby, Cummins Foundation, Nancy & Dominick Driano, Feeding America, Grotto Foundation, The Kraft Heinz Company Foundation, Barry & Kathleen Langton, M Health Fairview, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Seeding the Future Foundation, I.A. O’Shaughnessy Foundation, Robert & Alice Strobel Foundation, and UCare Foundation.
Food Assistance Resources
Minnesota Central Kitchen meals are provided at no cost to individuals and families that face barriers to preparing meals. To find a meal distribution site near you, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. For additional food resources, including food shelves and meal sites, explore Hunger Solution’s interactive map. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program might also be an option for you, and our SNAP Outreach Team can help you see if you are eligible via our quick screening tool.
Get Involved with Minnesota Central Kitchen
Commercial kitchens with food to donate can submit information via MealConnect.org or email email@example.com.
Restaurants and businesses interested in becoming a kitchen partner site, or community organizations seeking to distribute meals, can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anyone who can donate financially is invited to do so. All donations made today will go twice as far thanks to a generous match.