Thursday, December 30, 2010

CJMS Students and Faculty Raise Money for Second Harvest

During this holiday season Connor Jasper Middle School has been engaged in their annual school-wide Adopt-A-Family fundraiser. Students and faculty members have been raising money at Connor Jasper Middle School during the two week span of December 6th through December 17th. This service-based activity has helped define the character of this school and promote a sense of connectedness among students, staff, and the community. The Adopt-A-Family fundraiser is a great cause that the fourth through eighth graders raised money for. Adopt-A-Family is aimed towards helping families in our local communities have a warm and cheerful holiday. Jen, an eighth grader at Connor Jasper Middle School, said the reason she found Adopt-A-Family so important was after remembering all her holiday memories. “Everyone deserves that special time together during Christmas and Adopt-A-Family was a way for me to give them their own memories,” said Jen. Connor Jasper Middle School, with the help of many, raised $1566.59 for their fellow community members, and made Adopt-A-Family fundraiser a great success.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Minnesota Power Foundation Provides $2,550 Grant

The Minnesota Power Foundation recently awarded Second Harvest North Central Food Bank a $2,550 grant for the Itasca Holiday Program. This contribution was used to purchase food for the holiday food box. This year, 1,700 boxes were stuffed with food items for those in need in the Itasca County and Hill City area. Thank you, Minnesota Power Foundation for ensuring our neighbors wouldn't go hungry over the holidays.

A client receives her food voucher, fruit and food box
as she exits Second Harvest North Central Food Bank

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Employees of the City of Grand Rapids Invest $2,500 into the Itasca Holiday Program

Second Harvest North Central Food Bank received a very generous donation from the employees of the City of Grand Rapids earlier this month. The $2,500 donation will be directed to the Itasca Holiday Program which distributes a holiday food box to 1,700 families in need in Itasca County and Hill City, as well as gifts for the children. THANK YOU!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Second Harvest North Central Food Bank Is Stepping Up To The Challenge!

Second Harvest North Central Food Bank, a member of the Feeding America network, is working harder every day to assist individuals and their families right here in Grand Rapids in these tough economic times. Fighting hunger is a daily challenge, and we are always looking for new ways to meet it head on.

Today we’re excited to announce our involvement in the Pound For Pound Challenge! Now in its third year, this proven fundraising program has partnered with NBC’s The Biggest Loser, General Mills, and Subway, to encourage Americans to “Lose Nationally, Feed Locally.” And we need your support to make our involvement a success!
Participating is easy and your impact can be huge. Simply sign up and pledge your weight loss goals at For every pound you pledge, the Pound for Pound Challenge will donate 11 cents to Feeding America– enough to secure one pound of groceries for Second Harvest North Central Food Bank.
The more pledges a food bank has from its area, the more funds it receives. So please help us by signing up now and encouraging others to pledge!
It’s a great opportunity for our supporters to do something good for themselves, and do something good for our community. To learn more about the Pound For Pound Challenge, you can visit the national website at or e-mail

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Busy Weekend at Second Harvest North Central Food Bank...

On Saturday, December 18th Second Harvest North Central Food Bank housed 82 volunteers who sorted and packed the toys for the Itasca Holiday Program.

The following day, 23 volunteers came out to pack 1,700 food boxes which are being distributed this week. All in all, the weekend was a HUGE success! Thank you to all who donated time or money to the Itasca Holiday Program. Together we are making a difference in the lives of our neighbors in need.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Itasca Vintage Car Club Members Join the Fight to END Hunger

The Itasca Vintage Car Club is a firm supporter of the Itasca Holiday Program and the Grand Rapids Food Shelf, both in volunteering of their time and in their generous gifts of money. At their December Christmas dinner, members donated $1,151.00 which was matched by the club's treasury. The total dollar amount given to the Grand Rapids Area Food Shelf by the car club and its members was $2,302.00. This has the purchasing power to provide over 11,500 meals to area families.

In addition to their monetary gifts, many of the members give of their time. On December 16th, seven members of the club were involved in the preparation of 1,800 gift bags which will soon be filled with toys and distributed to families. A large group of car club members will also volunteer at the Food Bank on December 19th to help fill over 1,700 boxes of food for area families.

The Itasca Vintage Car Club meets at the Harris Town Hall at 7:00 p.m. every 3rd Tuesday of the month from October through May, and invited you to join them. For further information, please contact Club President, Jerry Latola at 326-5910 or Vice-President, Tom Carpenter at 218-363-2516.

Itasca Vintage Car Club members volunteered at the Itasca Holiday Program's gift bag project on December 16th. The day's project was to write the names and ages of children who will be receiving these Christmas toy bags. Volunteering are (back row) Pat Pedersen, Betty Wass, Art Bruns, Don Majerle, and Denny Smith. (front row) Delores Bruns and Sue Smith. Other club members will fill food boxes on December 19th. In addition, the club members and club treasury donated $2,302.00 to the Grand Rapids Food Shelf.

Monday, December 13, 2010

ICC Practical Nursing Program Lends 94 Helping Hands to the Itasca Holiday Program

Last Friday, 44 students and 3 instructors, from the Itasca Community College Practical Nursing Program volunteered at Second Harvest North Central Food Bank. The 94 additional hands helped us prepare for the 2010 Itasca Holiday Program which is in full swing at Second Harvest North Central Food Bank. The Itasca Holiday Program provides holiday food boxes to 1,700 families in need in the Itasca County and Hill City area. Since each box contains about 30 food items, there is plenty of sorting and repacking to be done. Students sorted various food items in preparation for the food box assembly line. The ICC Practical Nursing Students have been volunteering their time at Second Harvest North Central Food Bank for several years. It is thanks to caring individuals such as these, that the Itasca Holiday Program is a success.   
Students re-packing pasta and brown sugar

The Crew!
Students re-packing pasta

Friday, December 10, 2010

Open Your Heart is helping provide 670,000 pounds of fresh food for Minnesota

Earlier this year, Second Harvest North Central Food Bank and our five partner Feeding America food banks in the state were awarded a $100,000 grant from Open Your Heart to help fund a statewide acquisition of fresh produce for our neighbors in need. Open Your Heart is the only charitable federation in Minnesota dedicated solely to alleviating hunger and homelessness. Founded in 1986, Open Your Heart has ears of experience helping people meet life’s essential needs in communities across our state.
Fresh produce is one of the most costly and difficult food items to obtain for those in need, and also tends to be a crucial component of culturally-relevant food. More than ever, it’s vital that we and other hunger relief organizations work toward better solutions to providing access to these foods.
In total, the $100,000 grant will provide more than 670,000 pounds of fresh produce—from carrots and cantaloupe to peppers and potatoes—to help fill dinner tables for families across the state!

On behalf of those we serve, sincere thanks to Open Your Heart for making such an important gift possible.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Holiday Need

2010 Itasca Holiday Program Food Box
The Itasca Holiday Program supplies a food box to individuals, families, and seniors in need during the holiday season. The food box is filled with traditional holiday food items, but also some extras to help supplement the nourishment of the families. In the food box this year recipients will find over 30 items such as wild rice, turkey stuffing, sweet potatoes, gravy mix, instant potatoes, canned vegetables, pasta, spaghetti sauce, muffin mix, raisins, oat meal, au gratin potatoes, assorted fruit, etc. The food the box also features a $15.00 food voucher for a local grocery store for extras they may need. Every year, Second Harvest distributes 1,700 food boxes to individuals throughout Itasca County and Hill City as well as gifts for children up to the age of 12. It is a direct result of the community support that the Itasca Holiday Program has been a success every year.
The Itasca Holiday program is run in addition to the usual day-to-day operations at Second Harvest North Central Food Bank. November was a record setting month with 951 client visits to the Grand Rapids Food Shelf. Of the 951 households, 73 were new to the Grand Rapids Food Shelf meaning they haven’t visited this year, or ever. The 951 visits also represent 244 seniors, 1,425 adults from the age of 18 to 60, and 1,005 children under the age of 18. With the average of 20 pounds of food per individual, that’s an astounding 53,480 pounds distributed to our hungry neighbors in November.
Second Harvest North Central Food Bank and the Grand Rapids Food Shelf are thankful for the thoughtful consideration of all individuals, groups, congregations, and businesses that participate in food and fund drives. Just recently, the Grand Rapids Area Preschool children and families donated 412 pounds of food they collected throughout the month of November. Anytime Fitness also ran a promotion for new members and raised $255.00. Second Harvest North Central Food Bank can turn each dollar donated into 5 meals and the food collected will help keep the shelves stocked.
Preschool Teachers from left to right: Kristi Cook – St. Joseph’s Preschool, Nancy O’Toole – Ready Set Grow, Cindy Eckert – First Lutheran Preschool, Kristi Erdman – St. Andrew’s Preschool, Laura Bundy – Our Redeemer Little Lambs Preschool, Holli Olson – Miss Mary’s Young Fives, Kelly Olsen – St. Andrew’s Preschool
Not Pictured: Mary Hanson – Miss Mary’s Young Fives, Colleen Casey – St. Andrew’s Preschool, Krystine Jurvalin, Jessica Dixon, and Donna Derby - Our Redeemer Little Lambs Preschool.