GRAND RAPIDS, MN – The Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee (MNSBHC) Legacy Fund today awarded Second Harvest North Central Food Bank with a $50,000 grant that has helped the organization purchase a refrigerated truck for transporting fresh produce. The grant is part of the 52 Weeks of Giving campaign, a year-long effort to make Super Bowl LII a statewide event by awarding 52 communities with grants that will help improve the health and wellness of young people in Minnesota.
In Itasca County, access to healthy, affordable produce can be limited. Serving a large county with many small rural communities can be a challenge. The truck will enable Second Harvest to make deliveries of fresh fruits and vegetables to eight Itasca County locations and up to 20 other hunger relief organizations, providing access to fresh produce to 1,000 Minnesotans in need.
To celebrate the MNSBHC Legacy Fund grant, Second Harvest and local students gathered at King Elementary today for nutrition lessons. During the nutrition lesson students used produce to make rainbow salads while learning about different plant parts.
“Our job isn’t about just distributing food; we want to shorten the line,” said Susan Estee, Executive Director, Second Harvest North Central Food Bank. “By working with other local organizations and helping individuals have access to healthy and nutritious foods we are helping them cut down on other expenses, like healthcare, because they are becoming healthier.”
A new refrigerated truck will enable Second Harvest North Central Food Bank to deliver produce and other healthy foods to under-served communities in Itasca County and the region, where 1 in 5 children are food insecure.
Itasca County and Grand Rapids Minnesota have poverty rates that exceed the state’s average; this project will especially focus on making produce available to those who need it most.
“59 percent of the Minnesota residents served by food shelves in this county have blood pressure issues; 38 percent are diabetic,” said Kelly Chandler, Division Manager, Itasca County Public Health. “As a community, we need to take serious action to make access to nutrition a priority in order to significantly improve diets and eating habits of our children, families, and adults.”
The project is a collaborative effort with Get Fit Itasca, Essentia Foundation, Itasca County Public Health and the Aitkin-Itasca-Koochiching Community Health Board. The groups will collaborate with Second Harvest to provide healthy food along with other health related services to those in need.
“Efforts by Second Harvest North Central Food Bank will help improve access to nutritious food for Minnesotans in Grand Rapids and the county,” said Dana Nelson, Vice President of Legacy and Community Partnerships for the MNSBHC Legacy Fund. “We are pleased to contribute to this project to help meet these goals in order to improve the health and wellness of young people in our state.”
The Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee is a private, non-profit corporation formed to plan and execute Super Bowl LII. For more information visit www.mnsuperbowl.com and follow @mnsuperbowl2018 on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.