Behind the scenes at Second Harvest

Throughout the month of September, more than 200 Feeding America Food Banks across the nation are joining forces to raise awareness, food, and funds for Hunger Action Month. This includes the local affiliate, Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank.

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Second Harvest’s programs and services benefit 1 in 12 Northland neighbors, including over 7,100 children who are experiencing food insecurity throughout NE Minnesota and NW Wisconsin.

“We’re using this special month to raise awareness of the issue of hunger in our NE Minnesota and NW Wisconsin communities,” stated Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank’s Executive Director Shaye Moris. “We’re encouraging people to join our movement by donating funds, food, volunteering, raising awareness, and advocating for the Farm Bill.”

This is the 16th year that the food bank has participated in Hunger Action Month. This year’s nationwide campaign focuses on the impact of food on people’s lives and demonstrates how a meal goes beyond solely nourishing bodies – “when people are fed, futures are nourished, and individuals go from just living to truly thriving.”

As part of Hunger Action Month, Second Harvest hosted a public “behind the scenes” tour on Thursday.

“We acquire and distribute about 7.6 million pounds of food and grocery product every year at 6.1 million meals, but we could not do that without the people that support us,” said Moris. “So whether it’s volunteers, financial contributors, people that donate food, that’s what make this organization tick. This tour is a way to bring people in and say, ‘Hey, here’s how you can help and be engaged to help our neighbors’.

Moris added that each year over 1200 volunteers provide 19000 hours of service. “That’s the equivalent of 9.6 full time positions, and it probably saves us about $300,000 in staff expense. So volunteers are critical,” explained Moris.

Nationwide, Hunger Action Day will be held this Friday, September 15th. Those taking action are encouraged to share their actions, tagging @northernlakesfoodbank and using #HungerActionMonth on social media.

Those interested in the Northland are encouraged to go to Second Harvest’s website for more information.

“Seek us out. You can make a donation, you can volunteer, you can host an event during the holidays to benefit us,” said Moris. “There’s many ways to be involved or even follow our social media and just raise awareness. We really just appreciate the support. “