Last year, one in 10 Minnesotans was at risk of not having enough to eat, and hungry Minnesotans missed more than 100 million meals. But as the demand for emergency food increased, so, too, did the generosity of many of Second Harvest Heartland’s charitable partners, six of whom demonstrated extraordinary leadership in meeting the unprecedented demand for food. It is those six partners that Second Harvest Heartland honors this year with its Hunger Hero award, a seal of appreciation designed to publicly acknowledge those who contributed the most by way of food, funds, hours, ideas, awareness, and more.
“Second Harvest Heartland’s success is dependent on the dedication of our outstanding community partners who continue to demonstrate passion for and commitment to our cause,” said Rob Zeaske, chief executive officer of Second Harvest Heartland. “We are proud to recognize this year’s Hunger Heroes for their leadership in substantially and sustainably impacting the lives of so many of our neighbors in need.”
Hunger Heroes are recognized in six categories, each of which is critical to Second Harvest Heartland’s mission of ending hunger through community partnerships and all of which must work in tandem to collectively achieve that goal. This year’s award recipients and categories include:
Volunteer: General Mills
General Mills has a long-standing commitment to hunger relief at both a corporate and an employee level. The manufacturer of many beloved brands encourages personal philanthropy among employees, and about 83 percent of domestic General Mills employees volunteer, accounting for 851 hours contributed to Second Harvest Heartland in 2011.
Innovation: Minneapolis Farmers Market
The Minneapolis Farmers Market partnered with Second Harvest to increase the amount of fresh food available to food shelves and last year secured more than 275,000 pounds of fresh-picked fruits and vegetables that otherwise would have gone to waste. The partnership has set a strong example of out-of-the-box thinking for food shelves looking to start their own market collections.
The Mosaic Company has made a significant impact on the lives of our hungry neighbors through various generous financial contributions. In 2011, Mosaic was the lead supporter of our Fellowship of the Fresh initiative at the Minneapolis Farmers Market and, for the second year, was Second Harvest Heartland’s annual matching sponsor for GiveMN.org’s Give to the Max Day.
Awareness: National Association of Letter Carriers Branches 9 and 28
The National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 9, Minneapolis and Branch 28, St. Paul have together been a strong force in raising awareness of hunger relief in our community. As part of Stamp Out Hunger 2011, 2,000 letter carriers collected nearly one million pounds of donated food in a single day.
Food: The Schwan Food Company
The Schwan Food Company is known for providing good food with a community focus, and now that focus centers on local families in need. Food is the core of Second Harvest Heartland’s business, and generous donors like Schwan, who contribute healthy, nutritious food, are crucial to our work.
With more than five million pounds of fresh food donated to Second Harvest Heartland’s Food Rescue program, Target continued its strong tradition of fighting hunger. Target is dedicated to hunger relief on a local and national level, piloting the Meals for Minds program that places food pantries in in-need schools,and encouraging employees to volunteer in the fight against hunger.
About the General Mills Foundation
The mission of the General Mills Foundation, celebrating 58 years of giving, is to nourish communities. Continuing its tradition of generous giving and global community support, General Mills contributed nearly $120 million to charitable causes in fiscal year 2011—up 18 percent from the previous year. We invest in and collaborate with community organizations and programs that unleash the power of food across a spectrum of social issues, including hunger, nutrition and healthy active lifestyles. In addition, 83 percent of U.S. employees volunteer. To learn more about the ways General Mills nourishes lives through philanthropy and community engagement, please join us on Facebook at Facebook.com/GeneralMillsGives or visit us at GeneralMills.com/en/Responsibility/Community_Engagement.
About The Minneapolis Farmers Market
A Minneapolis institution since 1876, the Minneapolis Farmers Market provides food for the mind, body and soul of our communities. Operated by the Central Minnesota Vegetables Growers Association (CMVGA), a member-based non-profit association with over 200 members, it is the municipal market of the city of Minneapolis; the only farmers market in Minneapolis operated by farmers. The CMVGA manages, educates and assists in improving production methods and direct marketing strategies for its members through related partnerships with the University of Minnesota, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and the Minnesota Grown Promotional Board. CMVGA members use a wide variety of sustainable growing practices ranging from greenhouse and hydroponics to fields of fruits and vegetables, along with improved practices for the production of farmstead goods. The CMVGA is dedicated to the success of its farmers markets, the future of small farms and agriculture, and most importantly, providing quality to customers. For more information go to www.mplsfarmersmarket.com.
About The Mosaic Company
The Mosaic Company is one of the world's leading producers of concentrated phosphate and potash crop nutrients. Mosaic is a single-source provider of phosphate and potash fertilizers and feed ingredients for the global agriculture industry. More information on the company is available at www.mosaicco.com.
About the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)
The National Association of Letter Carriers is the union of city delivery letter carriers working for the United States Postal Service founded in 1889. Today, the NALC maintains its tradition as a vibrant union of over 300,000 members in all 50 states and other U.S. jurisdictions. For more information, visit http://nalc.org/commun/foodrive/index.html.
About The Schwan Food Company
THE SCHWAN FOOD COMPANY is a privately held, multibillion-dollar business that manufactures and markets fine frozen foods through home-delivery, retail-grocery and food-service channels. Its many popular brands include Red Baron®, Tony’s®, and Freschetta® pizza, Mrs. Smith’s® and Edwards® desserts and Schwan’s® fine frozen foods. Based in Minnesota for 60 years, the company's subsidiaries employ about 16,000 people in the United States. To learn more about Schwan, visit us at www.theschwanfoodcompany.com on the World Wide Web.
Minneapolis-based Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) serves guests at 1,764 stores across the United States and at Target.com. The company plans to open its first stores in Canada in 2013. In addition, the company operates a credit card segment that offers branded proprietary credit card products. Since 1946, Target has given 5 percent of its income through community grants and programs; today, that giving equals more than $3 million a week. For more information about Target’s commitment to corporate responsibility, visit Target.com/hereforgood.
About Second Harvest Heartland
Second Harvest Heartland, the Upper Midwest’s largest hunger-relief organization, works to reinvent hunger relief through leadership and innovation so as to help those who are hungry today and provide the means for those who are hungry to be fed tomorrow. Pioneering partnerships and programs have paved the way for Second Harvest Heartland to distribute more than 70 million pounds of grocery products last year to hungry seniors, families, and children through nearly 1,000 non-profit member agencies and programs serving 59 counties in Minnesota and western Wisconsin. For more information, visit 2harvest.org or call 651.484.5117.