Drawn to the River
As January 2022 began, the ministry committees of St. Philip's, Hastings, were alerted to a grant oppo[...]
You may remember that our Hunger Awareness and Advocacy group at Incarnation in Shoreview plans for an annual field trip. After not being able to be out and about because of COVID-19, we were excited to check out the “new” Second Harvest Heartland Food Bank in Brooklyn Park on a June afternoon visit. Many of our group had volunteered at the former site of Second Harvest in Maplewood, which closed in May of this year, but none of us had visited the new site. That site opened in 2020, just as COVID began and visits were halted!
Second Harvest Heartland is one of six food banks in Minnesota and serves 59 counties in Minnesota and western Wisconsin. It is a member of Feeding America, a network of 2,000 food banks across the United States. Food banks are like “wholesalers” for donated and rescued food, which is then distributed through food shelves, shelters, meal programs, afterschool programs and the like. Second Harvest Heartland (2HH) serves 1,000 of these food shelves and programs and shared over 113 million pounds of food in 2021.
Our guided tour showed us the improvements the new facility provides. There are 25 docks for trucks, divided for those bringing in food and those who are loading out. There is 90,000 square feet of space for dry foods, refrigerated and frozen foods. About 24,000 square feet is allocated for sorting and repackaging of donated food, usually staffed by volunteers. (My husband recently volunteered there and repacked apples.)
We also learned about the connection of 2HH with Minnesota Central Kitchen, begun in March 2020 to help restaurants, food service workers, and hungry people during COVID. To date, more than 2.5 million culturally specific meals have been prepared and served, free of charge, to those in need.
I encourage virtual visits to both Second Harvest Heartland and Minnesota Central Kitchen. Better still would be an in person visit. Arranging group tours and volunteer opportunities are both easy and welcomed. You will be impressed, inspired, and eager to learn how you and your congregation can be further involved.