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Minnesota-based grocery retailer Lunds & Byerly's is among six charitable partners honored by Second Harvest Heartland for its role in fighting hunger.
Second Harvest Heartland, a member of Feeding America and one of the nation's largest food banks, also named dairy processor Kemps LLC and agriculture powerhouse Cargill among the recipients of its sixth annual Hunger Hero Awards, a distinction created to recognize organizational partners who make a transformational impact on those who are hungry in the heartland.
"Our mission – to end hunger through community partnerships – could not be achieved without the commitment and support from our incredible partners. By providing innovation, donations of food, volunteer hours, financial support, and help in building awareness of the need, these partners are making a difference to hungry neighbors in the communities we serve," said Second Harvest Heartland CEO Rob Zeaske. "We are proud to recognize this year's Hunger Heroes for their leadership and are honored to be the recipients of such generous support."
Hunger Heroes are recognized in six categories:
2015 Hunger Hero Food Rescue Award: Lunds & Byerly's
As Retail Food Rescue partners for more than a decade and one of the earliest donors to pioneer partnering directly with local food shelves, Lunds & Byerly's stores have helped Second Harvest Heartland transform hunger relief. In 2014, Lunds & Byerly's stores achieved the largest percentage increase in donations from the previous year by engaging their team members to donate all eligible fresh items through the Retail Food Rescue program.
2015 Hunger Hero Food Award: Kemps LLC
Kemps achieved the largest growth in food donations among Second Harvest Heartland partners and continually provided wholesome, highly-desired dairy products. Since the company's partnership with Second Harvest Heartland began in 2003, Kemps has donated a total of 2,244,053 pounds of product. In addition to food donations, Kemps also works to assist the broader hunger relief system through involvement in initiatives such as the Minnesota Grocers Association's annual "Minnesota Own" fundraising and awareness campaign.
2015 Hunger Hero Financial Award: Cargill
Cargill provided significant philanthropic support to Second Harvest Heartland to advance initiatives such as the Produce Capture Institute and several other key fundraising efforts. Further accelerating its philanthropic investments, Cargill used its food industry expertise to assist Second Harvest Heartland in implementing new and innovative strategies that feed thousands of hungry people each year. The company's investments have enabled Second Harvest Heartland to develop new sources of safe, nutritious food, increase distribution capacity and support business model innovations that helped add millions of pounds of fresh produce last year.
2015 Hunger Hero Innovation Award: The Boston Consulting Group (BCG)
Recent analysis by The Boston Consulting Group suggests that greater integration of the health care system and the hunger relief system could be one of the most important strategies to end hunger in Minnesota while improving health outcomes for patients. The Boston Consulting Group's research revealed that of the state's 100 million meals being missed per year, 30-45 million could be filled with the health care system's engagement. Second Harvest Heartland is pursuing a series of pilot programs to evaluate and document the best interventions that can then be replicated broadly in Minnesota and nationally.
2015 Hunger Hero Awareness Award: KARE 11
When KARE 11 approached Second Harvest Heartland about doing a new food drive competition between their news anchors in November 2013, no one imagined the incredible visibility and generous outpouring of support from the local community. KARE 11's news anchors reached out to the community, engaged their social media followers and radio partners and the station ran promotions all day including main news stories during all four news broadcasts. The KARE 11 Food Fight generated buzz throughout the community and resulted in more than 860,000 pounds of food donated in its first year and more than 1.4 million pounds last November.
2015 Hunger Hero Volunteer Award: Optum
Through widespread company commitment to ending hunger, volunteer partner Optum achieved an exceptional level of growth in hours contributed by the company's employees. In 2014, more than 640 Optum employees contributed 1,473 volunteer hours to help feed the hungry—a 181 percent increase in volunteer hours from 2013.