ST. PAUL, Minn., Dec. 15, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Second Harvest Heartland, the Upper Midwest's largest hunger relief organization, today announced that it distributed a record 12 million pounds of fresh food to those in need in 2010 through its Food Rescue program – a 92 percent increase over 2009.
Second Harvest Heartland's Food Rescue program is a partnership with more than 100 area retailers who donate their excess fresh food, such as meats, dairy and deli products, produce, and baked goods, in an effort to help eliminate waste and feed the hungry in our community. Fresh food, which is often too expensive for those in need to purchase, is crucial to ensuring a nutritious diet that supports good health.
"Securing more than 12 million pounds of fresh produce for our hungry neighbors is a tremendous achievement that took a significant combination of innovative thinking and collaboration," said Rob Zeaske, executive director of Second Harvest Heartland. "I am extremely proud of the team here at Second Harvest Heartland and of our 100-plus retail partners who worked so diligently to help us reach this milestone."
According to Zeaske, Second Harvest Heartland has taken a number of steps to improve the ease and speed with which it secures perishable foods, including leveraging a fleet of six refrigerated trucks to pick food up directly from retailers and deliver it directly to area food shelves. In addition, to ensure those food shelves can accommodate the increase in fresh food donations, over the past two months, Second Harvest Heartland has purchased and delivered 67 Beverage-Air commercial grade coolers and freezers to 64 of its agency partners.
But Second Harvest Heartland is not alone in making Food Rescue a success. Last month, for example, Walmart, which has a long history of supporting hunger relief here in Minnesota and nationwide, donated a brand new refrigerated truck to the food bank, increasing Second Harvest Heartland's Food Rescue vehicle fleet to seven. The Walmart Foundation also donated $100,000 in cash.
"We must face the fact that there are people who go hungry in this country every day. These are our neighbors and people we see throughout our daily lives," said Margaret McKenna, president of the Walmart Foundation. "This issue has to be top of mind when we sit down at dinner and when we eat breakfast, and we all have to commit to doing something to help. If all of us give one can of food or volunteer one hour at a food bank, if we all do one thing, together we can end hunger in this country."
The kind of innovation and collaboration behind the successful growth of Second Harvest Heartland's Food Rescue program is exemplified in the organization's recently updated logo, which emphasizes its fresh thinking and fresh food programs, and its renewed commitment to transforming hunger relief with new, sustainable ways of helping those in need.
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 nearly 60 million pounds of grocery products this 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 www.2harvest.org or call 651.484.5117.
SOURCE Second Harvest Heartland