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Trees of Hope: 15 Years of Have a Heart, Help a Neighbor

Amy Adamle
Updated: December 10, 2018 11:36 AM

This year is the 15th anniversary of the Have a Heart, Help a Neighbor campaign.

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In 15 years, different types of music, hair, and clothes have all gone out of style,  but helping your neighbor never has.

Rewind back to 2004, George W. Bush was president, the biggest movie was Shrek 2, and Facebook was born.  That same year, WDIO partnered with Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank to put on the first ever Have a Heart, Help a Neighbor campaign.

"It's been an evolution, I think, for that event," Shaye Moris, the Executive Director for Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank, said. 

Moris has been a part of it from the beginning.

"Hairstyles have changed, the broadcast has changed, and the outpouring of support has changed," Moris said.  "It's been an amazing transition to see."

That little social media platform, Facebook, that barely existed 15 years ago, well that has opened doors for Second Harvest.

"Social media has become a far more important piece of the work that we do, as kind of our multi-strategy campaign," Moris said.

Technology advancements have helped WDIO as well.

"Today of course equipment is much better, so technology has improved that broadcast," Moris said. 

What the event is all about, hunger in the Northland has changed over the history of the event too.  

"When we went on air in 2004, there was about 10,700 people visiting food shelves monthly in our region," Moris said.  "Today that number has grown to over 15,000, so certainly the need has also changed."

Because of that, Second Harvest has changed how they're able to help the area.

"We were distributing 1.9 million meals when we went on the air in 2004, today we reach people with more than 4.7 million meals," Moris said. 

The community has stepped up to help with volunteers growing from 39 back in 2004, to almost 1300 now and that's all to help the growing number of programs.  

"The food shelf wasn't even a program of Second Harvest when we started this broadcast," Moris said.  "It came on board in 2011 and certainly even the way we've changed service in the last few years with more healthy and perishable food, that's a change in our industry and a change in this program."

One thing that hasn't changed all these years, is getting out, embracing the cold, and putting on a fun event for a great cause.

Credits

Amy Adamle

Copyright 2018 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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