Food is medicine at Second Harvest Heartland

Apr 19, 2016

We recognize that nonprofits and their leaders are on the frontlines as they tackle tough community issues that are vital to the Twin Cities’ economic growth.

Larry Kloth
Bank of America

More than 575,000 Minnesotans lack consistent access to healthy and nutritious food. Beyond the immediate need, this situation can have lasting effects. A 2010 study from the University of Minnesota’s Food Industry Center found that hunger can lead to health, psychological and social problems that result in higher healthcare costs and poorer education outcomes.

Those healthcare costs range from $1.26 billion to $1.62 billion per year. And, Hunger in America research found that 45 percent of households served by Second Harvest Heartland have a member with high blood pressure and 35 percent have a member with diabetes.

Second Harvest Heartland’s vision is to transform hunger relief through effective coordination with healthcare providers and payers, thereby connecting patients to the resources they need to be healthy. “At Second Harvest Heartland, we believe food is medicine,” said Rob Zeaske, CEO.

Second Harvest Heartland has been working to end hunger in the Twin Cities since 2001, when Second Harvest Greater Minneapolis and Second Harvest St. Paul joined forces. In 2014, the organization delivered more than 74 million meals to over 1,000 food shelves, pantries and partner programs serving 59 counties in Minnesota and western Wisconsin.

In support of Second Harvest’s mission, Bank of America named the nonprofit a Neighborhood Builder for 2015. The award provides leadership development training and $200,000 in flexible funding to increase the nonprofit’s capacity to impact the Twin Cities community.

“We recognize that nonprofits and their leaders are on the frontlines as they tackle tough community issues that are vital to the Twin Cities’ economic growth,” said Larry Kloth, Minneapolis-St. Paul Market President for Bank of America. “The leadership training and funding that Second Harvest Heartland will receive as a Bank of America Neighborhood Builder will not only deepen their impact today, but also sustain their mission and services over time.”

The grant will support the food bank’s Hunger and Health project, designed to improve food access for low-income healthcare consumers as a means of simultaneously reducing hunger and improving health outcomes.

 

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