Hunger-Free Minnesota's founding community partners took on a huge challenge in 2010: Create a statewide coalition that will unite corporations, foundations, not-for-profit organizations and Minnesota citizens in an effort to close the meal gap that keeps more than 600,000 Minnesota residents perpetually hungry.
An effort on this scale never had been attempted before. Peers in other hunger-relief agencies around the country were astonished at the insistence on a statewide mandate. Obviously, there was no blueprint to follow.
Through their diligent efforts, the Hunger-Free Minnesota campaign took shape and officially launched on June 7, 2011. The founding community partners remain the backbone of the effort to deliver 100 million more meals to Minnesota's hungriest citizens. They continue to serve the campaign as members of the Project Implementation Committee (see below).
The Greater Twin Cities United Way is a founding community partner of Hunger-Free Minnesota, and we are pleased that they have generously given a $1 million commitment to support Hunger-Free Minnesota initiatives within the nine-county area of the Twin Cities. The United Way focuses on the building blocks for a good life—basic needs, education and health – including stabilizing people in crisis by providing food, shelter and other essential services.
Hunger Solutions Minnesota is a comprehensive hunger relief organization that works to end hunger in Minnesota. It takes action to assure food security for all Minnesotans by supporting agencies that provide food to those in need, advancing sound public policy and guiding grassroots advocacy. The Minnesota Food HelpLine is a service of Hunger Solutions Minnesota, and a key feature of the Supplemental Nutrition Awareness Program (SNAP) awareness campaign.
North Country Food Bank, Inc.'s mission is to distribute food and other resources to participating agencies, and to educate the public about hunger and its solutions. Each year, North Country distributes over 3 million pounds of food to 21 counties in northwest and west central Minnesota and part of Grand Forks, North Dakota. North Country provides food to over 165 hunger relief agencies that serve children, families, senior citizens and others in need.
Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank's mission is to feed Northeastern Minnesota and Northwestern Wisconsin's hungry by rescuing and distributing food and engaging its region in the fight against hunger. Each year it provides over 3.9 million pounds of surplus food – enough food for 3 million meals – to 140 non-profit charitable feeding programs and approximately 40,000 people in need.
The Great Plains Food Bank strives for a hunger-free North Dakota and western Minnesota by recovering and distributing surplus food and grocery product, engaging in community partnerships and advocating for social change. Each year, the Great Plains Food Bank statewide network of 257 charitable feeding programs in 95 communities provides food to more than 61,800 low-income people facing hunger — nearly 40 percent being children. In 2009, as the state's largest hunger-relief provider, the Great Plains Food Bank distributed a record 6.6 million pounds of food, valued at $10.4 million. The Great Plains Food Bank is a program of Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota and member of Feeding America.
Second Harvest North Central Food Bank provides food directly to individuals and to agencies that help people in seven counties in north central Minnesota. Each year 28,700 people in this area seek emergency food assistance from Second Harvest North Central Food Bank or our 145 partner agencies. Each week we help an estimated 3,500 people.
Channel One is a local food shelf and regional food bank that serves Southeast Minnesota and Western Wisconsin. We are proud members of Feeding America, Hunger Solutions Minnesota, and a community partner of the United Way of Olmsted County.
Second Harvest Heartland is the Upper Midwest's largest hunger-relief organization, striving to end hunger through community partnerships. It forms the backbone of organizations working together to efficiently alleviate hunger in 59 counties throughout Minnesota and Western Wisconsin. Second Harvest Heartland operates the fourth-largest Feeding America member food bank in the United States, helping feed 77 percent of the hungry in our service area.