Impact and Programs
In 2017, Second Harvest Heartland met or exceeded its organizational goals, improving food security for the 532,000 individuals we serve each year. We met our goal of distributing 93.5 million pounds of food, which provided for more than 77.9 million meals for hungry individuals. Of all food we distributed, more than 57% was fresh and 34% was fresh fruits and vegetables.
We provided our agency partners with additional opportunities to distribute fresh produce in their communities through expansion of our Produce Variety Subscription Program (which proved particularly helpful for small food shelves) and by providing for more farmers market-style produce distribution events. The Food + You program distributed more than 726,000 pounds of food through in-school pantries and events, and helped schools develop new afterschool meal programs that added more than 17,000 new meals for food insecure children.
The FOODRx program developed and evaluated food-based health interventions in collaboration with partners such as Hennepin Healthcare and CentraCare. Initial results pointed to several positive outcomes and will be utilized to engage additional partners in the future. Our SNAP outreach and application assistance program helped 3,898 households with applications, resulting in an estimated 3 million additional meals for qualifying families. We provided grants to 16 Summer Food Service Program sponsors, helping them to provide more than 617,000 meals collectively for children in their neighborhoods. In addition, 31,175 volunteers donated their time to Second Harvest Heartland, providing time equivalent to that of 62 full-time employees.
In 2018, Second Harvest Heartland seeks to distribute 98.7 million pounds of food, or nearly 5.2 million more pounds than the previous year. Of the total, our goal is that more than 57% will be fresh foods (such as fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat, baked goods and other fresh items) and that at least 31% will be fresh produce.
Also in 2018, we will lead the expansion of the Midwest Region Produce Cooperative, which brings millions of pounds of produce from across the country to our facilities, and divides it among a large group of participating food banks. By working cooperatively, the food banks gain access to more types of fruits and vegetables in all months of the year, while reducing costs. We will expand our Food + You program to begin serving 3 high schools, and help schools boost participation in school breakfast and afterschool meal programs. FOODRx will be offered at additional health care providers, connecting more patients to the food and other resources they require to improve their food security and treatment for conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. As part of FOODRx, we will work with our partners to develop a sustainable model for obtaining program cost reimbursements from providers and insurers. Regarding volunteers, we will engage more than 30,000 individuals in our hunger relief efforts, and transition volunteer activities from our Golden Valley to Brooklyn Park facilities.
Community or Constituency Served
Low-income, food-insecure individuals and families, including children and seniors in 59 counties in Minnesota and Western Wisconsin
Geographic Area Served
41 counties in Central to Southwestern Minnesota, including the 9-county metro area of Minneapolis/St. Paul; 18 counties in Western Wisconsin