Hunger happens. Because life doesn’t always go the way we planned. Unexpected job loss. Extensive medical bills. Lack of access to nutritional food. Whatever the reason, it’s an urban, suburban and a rural problem. Food insecurity plagues many households and exists in every single Minnesota county. Second Harvest Heartland along with a network of hunger relief partners are finding creative solutions to connect community resources and give the hungry the kind of hope and help they need.

Second Harvest Heartland is a member of Feeding America, a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks across the country. Second Harvest Heartlaned collects and distribute food through a variety of local programs and services. This includes providing fresh produce, canned and boxed goods and nutritional options for children, families and seniors. But they cannot do it alone. Second Harvest Heartland partners with nearly 1,000 food shelves and meal programs in the 59-county service area.

Their active efforts also include educating the public on the growing need, informing local political officials on the consequences and the trends, advocating for mindful policies and helping to strengthen and improve outcomes for all those who are affected. It takes a trusted voice to provide for people who struggle to afford the food they need to thrive, but this is an organization that is mobilizing strong support and sending a solid message.

Hunger is a serious problem in Minnesota and western Wisconsin. More than a third of the individuals Second Harvest Heartland serves are children and adolescents under the age of 18. Summers are especially challenging when school is out of session and the free and reduced-price meals that many kids rely on are no longer available. Disrupted eating patterns and reduced food intake may peak during certain seasons but regardless of the time of year, people are going without food. And it’s affecting you more than you might think.

Did you know that the state of Minnesota spends at least $1.6 billion a year in healthcare, hospitalizations, medication, education and other costs like lost productivity in work and school due to all those who struggle to afford food? It’s unacceptable, as Minnesota has more than enough food for everyone.

We are thrilled to be involved with the public plea to give hunger relief some promise. And as an UrbanHero partner, we’re extending this pretty pattern to remind you that an empty stomach might mean more than just one missed meal. Although a solution might be black and white, the problem rarely is. So we’re pairing some friendly fern with a splash of stain to show that hunger can be healed when you add a hue of hope. Find a place for this print and you’ll help promote even the smallest transformation.

To learn more about our UrbanHero program, click here. Ready to jump right in and become an UrbanHero? Click here.