SAINT PAUL, Minn., April 2, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Second Harvest Heartland, a member of Feeding America and one of the nation's largest food banks, is pleased today to announce the recipients of its fourth annual Hunger Hero award, an award created to honor and recognize organizational partners who make a compassionate and transformational impact on those who are hungry in the heartland.
Last year, more than 600,000 people in Minnesota and western Wisconsin were at risk of missing a meal on any given day. 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 these 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.
"It's in our mission—'ending hunger through community partnerships'—that our work is fundamentally centered around partners who continue to demonstrate commitment and compassion to providing more meals to families in the communities we serve," said Second Harvest Heartland CEO, Rob Zeaske. "We are proud to recognize this year's Hunger Heroes for their leadership and are honored to be the recipients of such tremendous support."
Hunger Heroes are recognized in six categories, each of which is critical to Second Harvest Heartland's work and all of which must work in tandem to collectively achieve that goal. This year's award recipients and categories include:
Volunteer: UnitedHealth Group
UnitedHealth Group is a company focused on health and wellbeing, and that spirit is shared by employees through their gifts of time to help improve the communities in which they live and work.
As a testament to UnitedHealth Group's commitment to service, its employees contributed 2,800 volunteer hours to Second Harvest Heartland in 2012—the equivalent of 350 full business days. They've also been instrumental in outreach campaigns to help raise awareness of senior hunger and have hosted food drives at Minnesota Vikings games.
Innovation: The Sweet Corn Rescue Team
Six hundred thousand pounds of sweet corn made their way to hungry families last summer thanks to the partnership of local food relief groups and corporations in a new food rescue pilot project.
Cargill, General Mills, Hunger-Free Minnesota, SUPERVALU, and Seneca Foods Corporation came together in partnership with Second Harvest Heartland to provide transportation, equipment, warehouse space, and financial support to rescue corn that would have otherwise gone to waste and deliver it to those in need. This first-of-its-kind agricultural surplus initiative is planned to be repeated this year.
Supporting communities through giving has always been a cornerstone of Target's business, and its widespread support of Second Harvest Heartland is a testament to that commitment to community.
In 2012, Target was Second Harvest Heartland's largest financial donor. Target provides invaluable support to Second Harvest Heartland in more visible ways through employee volunteerism, food donations and sponsorship of the Target Meals for Minds school pantry program, which has distributed more than one million meals to local kids and families in the last two years.
Awareness: The Boston Consulting Group
The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), in conjunction with Hunger-Free Minnesota, designed a unique data analysis tool, "Community Close-Up," that combines data on food insecurity and missing meals within each census tract in Minnesota.
This tool provides insight into how we can fight and understand hunger at a very local level and allows us to better target high-need, underserved populations in our communities. BCG's leadership on this project will continue to have a significant influence on hunger-fighting strategies across our state and region.
Food: Edling Farms
Edling Farms, a family-run potato grower in Clear Lake, Minn., has donated more than four million pounds of potatoes to Second Harvest Heartland since 2003 and continues to be one of our largest suppliers of fresh food grown right here in the heartland.
Through generous donations, the growers helped spearhead a key initiative to efficiently collect excess produce, enabling Second Harvest Heartland and partners to provide locally grown, farm fresh food to our neighbors in need—and in turn, Edling Farms has helped set an important example for growers and processors alike.
Green: Cub Foods
Cub Foods is helping build stronger communities beyond its store walls by bringing more nutritious food to more people every day.
In 2012, Cub Foods contributed more than seven million pounds of fresh food through our Retail Food Rescue Program. In addition to its donation of food and grocery products, Cub Foods has generously given time, funds and expertise to significantly help Second Harvest Heartland's hunger-relief efforts through campaigns and events such as the "Give a Little, Feed a Lot" cause marketing campaign during Hunger Action Month, the Stamp Out Hunger food drive and as the presenting sponsor at Dish, Second Harvest Heartland's annual gala.
Cargill is an international producer and marketer of food, agricultural, financial and industrial products and services. Founded in 1865, the privately held company employs 140,000 people in 65 countries. Cargill helps customers succeed through collaboration and innovation, and is committed to applying its global knowledge and experience to help meet economic, environmental and social challenges wherever it does business. For more information, visit Cargill.com and its news center.
About CUB Foods
CUB Foods offers customers the freshest produce, widest selection and food expertise throughout the store to meet their everyday grocery needs. In addition to innovative local, ethnic and organic food sections, CUB stores offer shoppers multiple in-store services including fresh bakery, full-service deli and meat departments, pharmacy and banking. CUB Foods is based in Stillwater, Minnesota and currently operates 67 stores in Minnesota and Illinois. For company news and information, visit www.cub.com.
About Edling Farms
Edling Farms, located near Clear Lake, Minn., is owned and operated by Jeff, Mark, Brett, and Jerome Edling. This third generation farm runs 1,200 acres, 450 of which are fresh market potatoes. They raise, wash and package Red Norland, Yukon Gold and Russet potatoes. They also grow corn, soybeans, seed corn, squash, and pumpkins.
About General Mills
General Mills is one of the world's leading food companies, operating in more than 100 countries. Its brands include Cheerios, Fiber One, Häagen-Dazs, Nature Valley, Yoplait, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Green Giant, Old El Paso, and Wanchai Ferry. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn., USA, General Mills had fiscal 2012 worldwide sales of US $16.7 billion. Continuing its tradition of generous giving and global community support, General Mills contributed more than $143 million to charitable causes in fiscal year 2012. General Mills invests in and collaborates with community organizations and programs that focus on alleviating hunger and advancing nutrition wellness. 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.
About Hunger-Free Minnesota
Hunger-Free Minnesota is a time-limited campaign to close the 100-million missing-meal gap in Minnesota. Among its partners and supporters are community leaders and citizens, nonprofit agencies and organizations, food banks, food shelves, and corporations. Research partners include The Boston Consulting Group and EnSearch, Inc. Hunger-Free Minnesota's strategic action plan focuses on emergency food system capacity, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and child hunger and nutrition. The campaign encourages individuals and organizations to "Fight Hunger Where You Live." More information is available at www.hungerfreemn.org.
About Seneca Foods Corporation
Seneca Foods is a processor of canned fruits and vegetables with manufacturing facilities located throughout the United States. Its products are sold under the Libby's, Blue Boy, Aunt Nellie's Farm Kitchen, Stokely's, READ, Seneca Farms and Seneca labels as well as through the private label and industrial markets. In addition, under an alliance with General Mills Operations, LLC, a successor to the Pillsbury Company and a subsidiary of General Mills, Inc., Seneca produces canned and frozen vegetables, which are sold by General Mills Operations, LLC under the Green Giant label. Seneca's common stock is traded on the Nasdaq Global Stock Market under the symbols "SENEA" and "SENEB". SENEA is included the S&P SmallCap 600, Russell 2000 and Russell 3000 indices.
SUPERVALU Inc. is one of the largest grocery wholesalers and retailers in the U.S. with annual sales of approximately $17 billion. SUPERVALU serves customers across the United States through a network of approximately 3,470 stores composed of 1,950 independent stores serviced primarily by the Company's food distribution business, 1,331 Save-A-Lot stores, of which 950 are operated by licensee owners; and 191 traditional retail grocery stores. Headquartered in Minnesota, SUPERVALU has approximately 35,000 employees. For more information about SUPERVALU visit www.supervalu.com.
Minneapolis-based Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT) serves guests at 1,808 stores – 1,784 in the United States and 24 in Canada – and at Target.com. Since 1946, Target has given 5 percent of its profit through community grants and programs; today, that giving equals more than $4 million a week. For more information about Target's commitment to corporate responsibility, visit Target.com/corporateresponsibility.
About The Boston Consulting Group
The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is a global management consulting firm and the world's leading advisor on business strategy. We partner with clients from the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors in all regions to identify their highest-value opportunities, address their most critical challenges, and transform their enterprises. Our customized approach combines deep insight into the dynamics of companies and markets with close collaboration at all levels of the client organization. This ensures that our clients achieve sustainable competitive advantage, build more capable organizations, and secure lasting results. Founded in 1963, BCG is a private company with 78 offices in 43 countries.
About UnitedHealth Group
UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) is a diversified health and well-being company dedicated to helping people live healthier lives and making health care work better. With headquarters in Minnetonka, Minn., UnitedHealth Group offers a broad spectrum of products and services through two business platforms: UnitedHealthcare, which provides health care coverage and benefits services; and Optum, which provides information and technology-enabled health services. Through its businesses, UnitedHealth Group serves more than 80 million people worldwide. For more information, visit UnitedHealth Group at www.unitedhealthgroup.com.
About Second Harvest Heartland
Second Harvest Heartland, the Upper Midwest's largest hunger-relief organization, works to reinvent hunger relief through leadership and innovation—to help those who are hungry today, as well as provide the means for those who are hungry to be fed tomorrow. Pioneering partnerships and programs paved the way for Second Harvest Heartland to distribute more than 76 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 www.2harvest.org or call 651.484.5117.
SOURCE Second Harvest Heartland