Food is medicine at Second Harvest Heartland

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 of Second Harvest Heartland.

Second Harvest Heartland named Bank of America a 2017 Hunger Hero in the Financial donor category. Through Neighborhood Builders, the “Give a Meal” campaign and workplace giving, Bank of America had the largest growth – 275 percent – in financial donations to Second Harvest Heartland in 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.

Katie Simpson
Bank of America Minneapolis/St. Paul market president

The Hunger Hero Award recognizes six categories of partners that help Second Harvest Heartland continue its mission of ending hunger through community partnerships: financial, innovation, retail food rescue, volunteering, awareness and food distribution.

“We’re honored to have a strong base of community support to help us ensure that none of our neighbors have to worry about where their next meal is coming from,” said Zeaske. “We can’t do the work we do without phenomenal and extremely generous partners like our 2017 Hunger Hero Award winners.”

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

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.



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