Friday, August 29, 2014


Feeding America® Turns OrangeTM to Solve Hunger for 49 Million Americans

Grand Rapids, MN (September 1, 2014) - Hunger advocates from Grand Rapids and across the country will be wearing orange on Thursday, September 4 in an effort to raise awareness of the 49 million people in the United States who struggle with hunger. It is just one of the many awareness events taking place throughout the month of September in recognition of Feeding America's Hunger Action Month - a month-long campaign to help end hunger in our country.

Starting Monday, September 1, Second Harvest North Central Food Bank along with other food banks in the Feeding America network will kick off Hunger Action Month by holding events throughout the country to inspire people to take action to help the millions of people who are food insecure in the United States.

Events include everything from asking businesses across the country to light their buildings orange (the symbolic color of hunger) to food packing events at food banks across the country. Thousands of volunteers are expected to participate in food bank activities throughout the United States.

“We are continuing to see high levels of need even as our economy is recovering. Low-wage workers are the hardest hit and the last to recover,” says Sue Estee, Executive Director of Second Harvest.  “Every day we work to solve hunger. September is the time of year when we strive to get the message out and engage people in our mission of ending hunger.”

According to the USDA, 49 million Americans are food insecure which means they may not know where their next meal is coming from. This includes 16 million children and nearly five million seniors.

Here in north central Minnesota, about 12 percent of the population struggles with hunger, including 8,990 children.

“There is more than enough food to feed every man, woman and child in this country, yet one in six Americans are facing hunger,” said Bob Aiken, CEO of Feeding America. “By raising awareness and working together, we can solve hunger."
Some of the events taking place include:
·  Hunger Action Day - Wear orange to support hunger awareness (Thursday, September 4)
·  Light up Orange for Hunger - Buildings around the country will be turning their lights orange throughout the month to show their support. The tree at Old Central School in Grand Rapids will light up orange thanks to Minnesota Power, Lake Country Power, and the City of Grand Rapids. (Buildings that lit up orange in 2013 included: the Empire State Building in New York City, the Nashville Courthouse in Nashville, Miami Tower in Miami, and the Jewelers Building in Chicago.)
·  Public Service Hunger Action Day, September 9
·  Hunger Action 5K, September 20
·  Kids Pack Volunteer Day, September 22

To learn more about Hunger Action Month, please visit


About Second Harvest North Central Food Bank  
Second Harvest North Central Food Bank serves 130 hunger relief agencies in Koochiching, Itasca, Cass, Aitkin, Crow Wing, Mille Lacs and Kanabec counties. Over 4.5 million pounds of food and grocery products were distributed through those agencies in 2013. For more information regarding Second Harvest North Central Food Bank, visit or call 218.326.4420.


About Feeding America
Feeding America is a nationwide network of 200 food banks that leads the fight against hunger in the United States. Together, we provide food to more than 37 million people through 61,000 food pantries, community kitchens, and emergency shelters across America. Feeding America also supports programs that improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Individuals, charities, businesses and government all have a role in ending hunger. Donate. Volunteer. Advocate. Educate. Together we can solve hunger. Visit Find us on Facebook at or follow us on Twitter at


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sandy Hanks and Bill Wheeler named 2014 Itasca County Outstanding Senior Volunteers

The Outstanding Senior Volunteer (OSV) Selection Committee has selected Sandy Hanks and Bill Wheeler as the 2014 OSV award recipients. While all volunteers deserve recognition and appreciation, based on the nominations presented to the Selection Committee facilitated by ElderCircle, these two volunteers have gone above and beyond in service to many area organizations.

Since Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) has been tracking many of Sandy Hank’s volunteer hours, she has logged more than 3,031 hours in more than 20 different capacities. In the past nine years, Sandy has served at many organizations, including the Itasca County Committee on Aging, Grand Itasca Clinic & Hospital, Community CafĂ©, and logged many tireless hours reading for the blind on KAXE Community Radio. While bravely dealing with her own recurring medical issues, her positive attitude, affectionate smile, and compassion have not kept her from giving her time and talents to those in need. Also the 2014 recipient of KAXE Community Radio’s “Silent Star Award”, Hanks is described as “having invisibly caused much to happen, creating good for so many, without announcement, hype or flare.”

Bill Wheeler has served in many organizations, including Itasca Holiday Program and RSVP HandyHands, as well as serving with great commitment at the Second Harvest North Central Food Bank and Grand Rapids Food Shelf. In the 11 years that the RSVP has been tracking his volunteer hours, he has logged more than 3,100 hours in almost 20 different volunteer roles. As quoted from a letter of recommendation, “Bill Wheeler has continued to be one of the most effective and hardest working volunteers in our history since he came through our doors in 2003.” His compassion, generosity, leadership and loyal commitment are great assets to every individual and organization Wheeler comes in contact with.

The annual awards ceremony was held during “Senior Day at the Fair” on Friday, Aug. 15 at 12:30 p.m. when Bill Wheeler and Sandy Hanks were presented with their awards. Their nominations have also been submitted to the Minnesota State Fair to represent Itasca County for consideration of the Minnesota State Senior Volunteer Awards, which will be presented on Thursday, August 28 at the State Fair.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Second Harvest Calls On Elected Officials to Visit Food Bank

Urges Senators and Congressmen to Learn about Hunger In the Communities They Serve

Second Harvest, a member of Feeding America, the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity, is inviting all elected officials in north central Minnesota to visit the food bank. On September 9, Second Harvest will be holding its first ever, Public Service Hunger Action Day, during Hunger Action Month.

“The decisions made in Washington and St. Paul are about real people and real families, not just numbers on a balance sheet.” Susan Estee said, Executive Director of Second Harvest. “We are working hard to keep up with increased need in our community, but the need doesn’t seem to let up. Elected Officials need to know what we’re up against as they make decisions about hunger-relief programs.”

Second Harvest Food Bank serves a seven county region, where child food insecurity is at 19.4 %. This means that one out of five children does not have reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. Nationwide, food insecurity is a problem, but it is also right here in north central Minnesota.

“We want to make sure our elected officials understand the extent of hunger in their communities and how their decisions affect so many people who are struggling to make ends meet.” Estee said. “We see firsthand the importance of nutrition assistance programs to our community as we serve clients in need.”

Invited to this event are; Governor Dayton, Senator Klobuchar, Senator Franken, State Representatives, County Commissioners, Mayors, and City Council members from the north central region. Second Harvest plans to engage attendees with a hunger related activity and further educate them on the impact of hunger in our region.

Throughout the north central region, Second Harvest has over 130 food shelves, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and other hunger relief partners that provide several direct service programs for hungry children and the elderly. Second Harvest seeks to show Elected Officials what is being done to combat hunger locally and discuss how they can collectively work to ensure that hungry Minnesotans continue to have access to emergency food.