Hunger is here. So is Second Harvest Heartland.

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While it sounds cliché, if the work is meaningful, it’s often more rewarding. That’s how the Bellmont Partners team feels about working with our client, Second Harvest Heartland – one of the nation’s largest, most efficient and most innovative hunger relief organizations. It provides an average of 75 percent of all food distributed by its food shelf partners, and in 2015, provided more than 77 million meals to nearly 1,000 food shelves, pantries and other partner programs serving 59 counties in Minnesota and western Wisconsin.

SHH on cameraJust this week, the U.S. Conference of Mayors released its 2016 Hunger and Homelessness Survey, in which Second Harvest Heartland is included as an exemplary hunger relief organization for continually responding to the problem of hunger. The survey found that despite economic recovery since the recession, many cities across the country are experiencing rates of homelessness higher than the national average. The U.S. has also seen a 2 percent increase in requests for emergency food assistance, and those seeking food help primarily consist of families and working individuals. We’re seeing these trends in our community as well. Fortunately, Second Harvest Heartland continuously works with community partners, volunteers and donors to develop and implement new and innovative programs – and we’re honored to help tell that story in various ways:

It’s possible you’ve seen Second Harvest Heartland on billboards, television or your computer screen more than ever lately. That’s because this summer, we – along with our strategic partners BEDDHead Media and Riverbrand Design – helped Second Harvest Heartland develop advertisements to raise awareness of the issue of hunger in our community – specifically the fact that one in 10 Minnesotans doesn’t know where their next meal is coming from.

In September, Second Harvest Heartland launched its new FOODRx initiative with a box-packing event. This pilot project connects food prescriptions and basic need services to low-income patients through the Minnesota healthcare system. Taking an integrated approach, we invited local media to the event and provided guidance on many of the elements related to the launch of the program, from creating visual elements to helping refine key messages and talking points, to the event flow and social media. While the launch was just the beginning, initial media outreach resulted in KSTP, KARE and MPR coverage.

#HolidayHunger101 - Tom HorgenThis week we helped Second Harvest Heartland host several community influencers at its Maplewood location for a “Hunger and the Holidays” event. The evening included a meal, tour of the warehouse and an interactive Hunger 101 simulation. This was a chance for prominent people in our community to learn more about Second Harvest Heartland while sharing facts, information and images with their social media followers. We’re thrilled with the outcome of this first event and look forward to facilitating future tours.

As many of us prepare to enjoy holiday meals with friends and family, we want to remind you that Second Harvest Heartland is working diligently to ensure our hungry neighbors get the food they need. If you want to get involved by donating money or time by volunteering with Second Harvest Heartland, visit www.2harvest.org.

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