Thursday, December 31, 2015

Last chance for your 2015 tax deductable donation!


As 2015 comes to a close, we wanted to send you one last thank you for your continued support of our mission to end hunger through community partnerships.
You can help us make 2016 a brighter year for the 1 in 7 children, families and neighbors in need in our area.
And because every $1 you give provides FIVE meals, imagine the impact you can make on the lives of so many.
Thank you, and Happy New Year.


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Happy New Year

On behalf of Second Harvest staff, volunteers and all whom we serve please accept our sincere thanks for your support of Second Harvest North Central Food Bank.

Because of your contributions we were able to distribute 4.5 million pounds of food through our member agencies to thousands of children, families and low income seniors in north central Minnesota. While we are proud of all that we accomplished in 2015, our work continues.

Help us make 2016 an even brighter year for so many children, seniors and families who are counting on us for a little extra help during a difficult time in their lives.  

Please consider a 100% tax-deductible year-end gift to Second Harvest North Central Food Bank and help us feed hope in 2016.  

Again, we would like to thank you for your support of our mission to end hunger.
 Donate today!

Happy New Year,

Susan Estee, Executive Director
Second Harvest North Central Food Bank

 Donate today.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Jaden Hebeisen – Feeding Hope for the Holidays

Jaden Hebeisen – Feeding Hope for the Holidays

Jaden Hebeisen didn’t get any presents on her birthday. Jaden won’t get any at Christmas this year either.
Instead, Hebeisen, who just turned 9, took the gifts she would have received and, with her dad Jared’s help, Jaden brought them to Second Harvest North Central Food Bank and donated them to the Itasca Holiday Program. “I just heard a similar story on the radio and I ran to my dad and told him that I wanted to do that too, help others.”  Jared thought that the idea would quickly fade and become forgotten but when Jaden got up the next day, they made a plan to give her presents away. Not only did Jaden give her gifts but on Monday, December 14th, Jaden and her dad dedicated several hours packing and distributing gift bags to those in our community that are in need.
 “On my birthday, other people get my presents, so it helps families,” she said.
For her 9th birthday, she said, “I didn’t need anything, and I wanted to donate. It’s important to help others.”  “I couldn’t be more proud of her, said Jared.

Jaden with Second Harvest Board Member Diane Skelly
Second Harvest North Central Food Bank serves 115 hunger relief agencies in Koochiching, Itasca, Cass, Aitkin, Crow Wing, Mille Lacs and Kanabec counties. Just over 4.8 million pounds of food and grocery products were distributed through those agencies in 2014. For more information regarding Second Harvest North Central Food Bank, visit or call 218.326.4420. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015


FACT SHEET: Council of Economic Advisers Releases Report Highlighting New Research on SNAP’s Effectiveness and the Importance of Adequate Food Assistance

A new report released today from the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) finds that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps, is highly effective at reducing food insecurity—the government’s measure for whether households lack the resources for consistent and dependable access to food. The report highlights a growing body of research that finds that children who receive food assistance see improvements in health and academic performance and that these benefits are mirrored by long-run improvements in health, educational attainment, and economic self-sufficiency. The report also features new research that shows benefit levels are often inadequate to sustain families through the end of the month—resulting in high-cost consequences, such as a 27 percent increase in the rate of hospital admissions due to low blood sugar for low-income adults between the first and last week of the month, as well as diminished performance on standardized tests among school age children.

Each month, SNAP helps about 46 million low-income Americans put food on the table. The large majority of households receiving SNAP include children, senior citizens, individuals with disabilities, and working adults. Two-thirds of SNAP benefits go to households with children.

Today’s CEA report draws on a growing body of high-quality research about food insecurity and SNAP, finding that:

SNAP plays an important role in reducing both poverty and food insecurity in the United Statesespecially among children.
·         SNAP benefits lifted at least 4.7 million people out of poverty in 2014—including 2.1 million children. SNAP also lifted more than 1.3 million children out of deep poverty, or above half of the poverty line (for example, $11,925 for a family of four).
·         The temporary expansion of SNAP benefits under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) lifted roughly 530,000 households out of food insecurity.

SNAP benefits support vulnerable populations including children, individuals with disabilities, and the elderly, as well as an increasing number of working families.
·         Nearly one in two households receiving SNAP benefits have children, and three-quarters of recipient households have a child, an elderly member, or a member with a disability. Fully 67 percent of the total value of SNAP benefits go to households with children as these households on average get larger benefits than households without children.
·         Over the past 20 years, the overall share of SNAP recipient households with earned income rose by 50 percent. Among recipient households with children, the share with a working adult has doubled since 1990.

SNAP’s impact on children lasts well beyond their childhood years, providing long-run benefits for health, education, and economic self-sufficiency.
·         Among adults who grew up in disadvantaged households when the Food Stamp Program was first being introduced, access to Food Stamps before birth and in early childhood led to significant reductions in the likelihood of obesity and significant increases in the likelihood of completing high school.
·         Early exposure to food stamps also led to reductions in metabolic syndrome (a cluster of conditions associated with heart disease and diabetes) and increased economic self-sufficiency among disadvantaged women.

SNAP has particularly large benefits for women and their families.
·         Maternal receipt of Food Stamps during pregnancy reduces the incidence of low birth-weight by between 5 and 23 percent.
·         Exposure to food assistance in utero and through early childhood has large overall health and economic self-sufficiency impacts for disadvantaged women.

The majority of working-age SNAP recipients already participate in the labor market, and the program includes important supports to help more recipients successfully find and keep work.
·         Fifty-seven percent of working-age adults receiving SNAP are either working or looking for work, while 22 percent do not work due to a disability. Many recipients are also the primary caregivers of young children or family members with disabilities.
·         SNAP also supports work through the Employment and Training program, which directly helps SNAP beneficiaries gain the skills they need to succeed in the labor market in order to find and retain work. During fiscal year 2014, this program served about 600,000 SNAP recipients.

Even with SNAP’s positive impact, nearly one in seven American households experienced food insecurity in 2014.
·         These households—which included 15 million children—lacked the resources necessary for consistent and dependable access to food.
·         In 2014, 40 percent of all food-insecure households—and nearly 6 percent of US households overall—were considered to have very low food security. This means that, in nearly seven million households, at least one person in the household missed meals and experienced disruptions in food intake due to insufficient resources for food.

While SNAP benefits allow families to put more food on the table, current benefit levels are often insufficient to sustain them through the end of the month, with substantial consequences.
·         More than half of SNAP households currently report experiencing food insecurity, and the fraction reporting very low food security has risen since the end of the temporary benefits expansion under ARRA.
·         New research has linked diminished food budgets at the end of each month to high-cost consequences, including:
o    A drop-off in caloric intake, with estimates of this decline ranging from 10 to 25 percent over the course of the month;
o    A 27 percent increase in the rate of hospital admissions due to low blood sugar for low-income adults between the first and last week of the month;
o    An 11 percent increase in the rate of disciplinary actions among school children in SNAP households between the first and last week of the month;
o    Diminished student performance on standardized tests, with performance improving only gradually again after the next month’s benefits are received.

Administration Efforts to Build on Progress

To reduce hunger and improve family well-being, the Obama administration has been and remains dedicated to providing American children and families with better access to the nutrition they need to thrive. These investments make a real and measurable difference in the lives of children and their families, and ensure a brighter, healthier future for the entire country.

Through the Recovery Act, the Administration temporarily increased SNAP benefits by 14 percent during the Great Recession to help families put food on the table.  Reports indicate that food security among low-income households improved from 2008 to 2009 amidst a severe recession and increased unemployment; a significant part of that improvement is likely attributable to SNAP.

The Administration has also developed several initiatives to improve food security and nutrition for vulnerable children.  Through the Community Eligibility Provision, schools in high-poverty areas are now able to offer free breakfast and lunch to all students with significantly less administrative burden. Recent revisions to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) added a cash benefit to allow participants to purchase fruits and vegetables, a change that substantially increased the value of the package. The Administration also has expanded access for low-income children to nutritious food during the summer months when school meals are unavailable and the risk of food insecurity is heightened. The results of these efforts have been promising. In 2014, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) delivered 23 million more summer meals than in 2009.  And the Administration has successfully implemented Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer for Children (SEBTC) pilots, which provide additional food assistance to low-income families with children during the summer months. These pilots were found to reduce very low food security among children by 26 percent.  The President’s 2016 Budget proposed a significant expansion of this effort.

Finally, this Administration has provided select states waivers to test ways of reducing the administrative burdens of SNAP for elderly households, a population that continues to be undeserved. After seeing positive results in participating states, including an increase of elderly participation by more than 50 percent in Alabama, the President’s 2016 Budget included a proposal to create a state option that would expand upon these efforts to improve access to SNAP benefits for the elderly.

Monday, November 30, 2015

2015 Itasca Holiday Program

In collaboration with hundreds of donors and volunteers, Second Harvest North Central Food Bank will help fill empty plates this holiday season. Second Harvest works all year providing hunger relief to low income people in the region. During the holidays, families already struggling to put food on the table experience extra pressure to make ends meet. The Itasca Holiday Program has been helping families have a brighter holiday for the past 21 years.
Special holiday food boxes are the primary focus of the program. The boxes contain foods for traditional holiday meals plus several additional meals. Over 1,800 food boxes, along with a bag of seasonal fruit and a $15 grocery voucher, will be distributed to referred families, seniors and disabled adults in Itasca County and Hill City during the week of December 13 -17. Children ages 1-12 in the households receiving a food box will be given a gift bag provided by donations through the Gingerbread Giving Trees and Toys for Tots in Itasca County. 

For the second year in a row, due to space limitations at Second Harvest Food Bank, the gift collection and distribution will be conducted at Zion Lutheran Church in Grand Rapids.  Beginning in early December, Zion will provide space in the Christian Life Center to sort and store the donated gifts.  Volunteer activities related to gift sorting will be held at Zion during the week of December 7th culminating with distribution of food boxes and gifts to Grand Rapids area referred families with children on December 13 and 14. 
Grand Rapids distribution moved to the Zion Lutheran Church last year and not only alleviated the holiday space crunch at Second Harvest but allowed more convenient distribution times for referred families and volunteers.  Once again, families will have the choice to pick up their food box and gifts on two different days, one being a weekend.  “Since so many of our participants are working families, offering the Sunday distribution time helps make it easier for people to pick up their food boxes and gifts”, according to Sue Estee, Second Harvest Executive Director.  “The new Sunday volunteer day also provides more opportunities for people to get involved and help others during the holidays,” Estee added.  Grand Rapids participants without children who qualify for Food Boxes will pick up at Second Harvest usual.

Food box and gift distribution at the other locations in Itasca County and Hill City will go on the same as in previous years.  Referred families from Deer River, Bigfork, Inger, Squaw Lake, Nashwauk, Taconite and Hill City will pick up at the same locations as last year.  Community volunteers coordinate referral and distribution in each community, making the Itasca Holiday Program truly an effort of neighbors helping neighbors. 

The many annual activities related to the Itasca Holiday Program have begun. The program appeal is out, the Gingerbread Giving Trees are going up, and referred families are signing up for the program. The gratitude of the families is evident as they thank Second Harvest for the food, and express how little they would have for their children if it weren’t for this program.

While signing up for the program, one mother explained “I have two girls’ ages three and six years old, and they hear from everyone, “you don’t get presents if you’re bad”.  My girls have not been bad, but they get hardly anything at Christmas because I can’t afford it and pay the other bills, too.  I never want them to think they are bad just because I don’t have the money to give them special things on Christmas.  I know the holidays aren’t supposed to be about what you get, but I want to be a parent who can give some presents to my kids and make them feel good and happy on Christmas. Without your help, that would be impossible for me and it’s tough to admit that.”
The need for hunger relief continues to increase in our community.  So far this year, food shelves have seen a 15% increase in people coming for help.  High costs for food, transportation and housing put a squeeze on low income families and those on fixed incomes.  Winter causes extra strain on already tight budgets.  The food boxes provided by the holiday program provide extra food at a time that so many struggling families, low income seniors and people with disabilities really need it.

Second Harvest’s annual Itasca Holiday Program enables the community to reach out to their neighbors during this season of sharing. We are fortunate to live in such a caring community.

Please help Second Harvest feed hope this holiday season.
(Pictured here: (1)L & M employees with SHNCFB staff Ellen Christmas kicking off the Itasca Holiday Program.  (2)Children helping others by donating gifts to the Itasca Holiday Program)
Give Today!
Join Itasca County officers and employees at the Itasca County Courthouse on Friday, December 11th from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm for a benefit lunch. All proceeds help support the Itasca Holiday Program.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving 2015

How can 49 million people face hunger in a country that wastes billions of pounds of food?

There is more than enough food in America to feed every man, woman and child.  Yet, here in north central Minnesota, thousands of people face hunger during the holidays and throughout the year. As individuals, charities, businesses and government, we all have a role to play in getting more food to people in need. Together, we can solve hunger and ensure that everyone has enough to eat this holiday season and all year long.
Second Harvest North Central Food Bank provides over 3.5 million meals for people in need every year and leads the fight against hunger in our community. As a member of Feeding America, we also play a vital role in solving the problem of hunger nationwide.
As we gather together this Thanksgiving, we are thankful for the opportunity to share an abundant meal with our family and friends.  At the same time, let us remember that many in our community are struggling every day to put just a little food on the table.  Thanks to the generous support of so many donors and volunteers, Second Harvest is able to help thousands of hungry kids, seniors on low fixed incomes, disabled adults and hard working families.  I’m so thankful for this community’s support for Second Harvest Food Bank. 
Donate. Volunteer. Advocate. Together we can solve hunger.

Give Today


Monday, November 16, 2015

November is Diabetes Awareness Month

Diabetes in the food-pantry line: how food banks can help reach the hard-to-reach
November 12, 2015
by Elaine Waxman
This blog is re-posted from Urban Institute's blog, Urban Wire.
On a sunny spring day in 2013, the Redwood Empire Food Bank of Sonoma County, California, set up a mobile food pantry in the parking lot of a boarded-up Albertson’s supermarket. Nearly 85 people—mostly mothers with very young children—came to pick up fruits and vegetables, which can be expensive items for low-income families. But that day, the food bank was also providing another service: screenings for diabetes, a disease that can be impossible to control if you can’t afford enough to eat.
About 80 people signed up to be screened, and several had elevated A1C levels, a marker for blood sugar control used to diagnose diabetes. In some cases, these young moms were not aware they were sick. Others told food bank staff that they previously had been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, a risk factor for developing Type 2 diabetes, but could not afford medical care or had lost their health coverage after the birth of their child. 
For these clients, the mobile food pantry’s public health intervention came at a critical moment. Prior research suggests that food insecurity may act as a risk factor for diet-sensitive diseases and that people struggling with both diabetes and food insecurity have poorer health outcomes. People facing hard choices between buying food and medicine or medical care may all but give up on managing their disease.
Piloting diabetes interventions at food pantry sites
Because many people with food insecurity have health problems that can be managed or improved with a better diet, food pantries are ideal sites for health interventions. We tested this concept through a pilot project that included Redwood Empire, The Food Bank of Corpus Christi in Texas, the Mid-Ohio Foodbank in Grove City, Ohio, and their food pantry partners.
Between February 2012 and March 2014, we enrolled 687 food pantry clients with diabetes in a six-month intervention program. Participants received diabetes screenings, blood sugar monitoring, diabetes-appropriate food, medical-care referrals, and self-management support. The hope was that the program would empower clients to manage their diabetes by providing them with food and with educational resources that would support them in following through on their doctor’s orders.
My coauthors from the University of California, San Francisco and from Feeding America and I recently published our evaluation of the pilot project. We found that, by the end of the intervention, participants had improved their blood sugar control, added more fruits and vegetables to their diets, and were better able to follow their doctors’ instructions for taking medicine and managing their disease.
While the results need to be confirmed in a controlled trial, already underway this fall, the study suggests that food pantries are a promising model for promoting better health among vulnerable populations—and not just for diabetes, but also for other diseases affected by poor nutrition, such as hypertension.
Food banks can partner with and educate health care providers
This vision places a heavy burden on food banks, which would need to continue improving the quality and nutritional content of the food they distribute, including adding more perishable food, which adds costs and complexity to their operations. Through the pilot, we gained crucial experience in working through challenges such as purchasing food when donated supplies didn’t meet quality standards, increasing the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables, and educating staff and volunteers about the needs of clients with diet-sensitive diseases.
But this vision also offers new hope for leveraging the nonprofit sector to reach those disconnected from or underserved by the health care sector. The Feeding America food banking network serves 46.5 million people annually, and about one-third of these households reported in 2014 that at least one member of their household had diabetes; more than half reported someone had hypertension.
Moreover, partnerships with food banks can give health care providers an important resource for food- insecure patients who are struggling to manage their health. Effective diabetes management requires a regular supply of healthy food, a need not typically addressed through the health care system. During the pilot study, food banks also reached out to health care providers about screening patients for food insecurity and referring them to the diabetes food program. At Redwood Empire Food Bank alone, providers referred more than 200 of their patients to the food bank during the study, as they began viewing the project as a real benefit for their patients.
While charitable solutions alone won’t be enough to improve the health of the nearly one in six Americans who are food insecure, policymakers should engage food banks in public health interventions, leveraging their ability to reach vulnerable populations with diet-sensitive diseases.
*Elaine Waxman is a senior fellow in the Income and Benefits Policy Center at the Urban Institute.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Give to the Max Day 2015

Gearing up for Give to the Max Day! Join your fellow supporter of Second Harvest North Central Food Bank during the "Great Minnesota Give Together!" 

Make your online donation anytime from 12:00am until 11:59pm between Tuesday, November 2nd and Thursday, November 12 for a chance at helping us win an additional $1,000 golden ticket! 
Simply visit our Second Harvest North Central Food Bank page on to schedule your gift in advance. All gifts made now through November 11th will automatically transacted on Give to the Max Day November 12th. Schedule your donation right now!
Thank you for your generous donation and for helping us help those that we serve.


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Cub Cares Round Up October 18-31

Cub Cares!
Cub Foods and Gopher Athletics have teamed up this year for Cub Cares, benefiting Second       Harvest and Minnesota’s Feeding America Food Banks. From October 18-31, customers will be asked to round up their purchase at the checkout register to help fight hunger.
Please help us help others
     ROUND  UP
your purchase today

1 in 5 Children face Hunger and Food Insecurities

Food insecurity is harmful to all people, but it is particularly devastating to children. Proper nutrition is critical to a child’s development. Not having enough of the right kinds of food can have serious implications for a child’s physical and mental health, academic achievement and future economic prosperity. 

In the United States today, 15 million children face hunger. Consequently, one in five kids are facing greater obstacles to reaching their fullest potential. The future of America lies in our children. When hunger threatens the future of a child, it threatens the future of our nation as well. 

· 84 percent of client households with children report purchasing the cheapest food available, even if they knew it wasn’t the healthiest option, in an effort to provide enough food for their household.

Among Feeding America client households with children, nearly 9 in 10 households (89 percent) are food insecure.

As a leading charity organization, Feeding America is dedicated to helping solve the child hunger problem. Our network of community food banks serves 12 million children.