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Food insecurity above U.S. average

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Day of Service to Kick Senior Hunger 1

Senior Hunger in Minnesota

UnitedHealthcare employees have big hearts when it comes to helping their elderly neighbors in Minnesota who are struggling with food insecurity.

In August, volunteers from UnitedHealthcare and kids from Mankato worked side-by-side at Vikings Training Camp to assemble hygiene kits. These kits contained basic non-food necessities such as soap, shampoo, a toothbrush and toothpaste that were distributed at local food shelves. The highlight for the kids was being able to watch the Vikings practice while they were packing the hygiene kits.

Then, in September, we partnered with WCCO Television to host a telephone call in at the station to raise awareness about senior hunger and provide information about food and related resources to seniors and their care givers. We talked to a lot of seniors who were struggling to make ends meet, including those who were having a hard time finding resources to get nutritious food in their community.

Up next, our employees in our offices in Minnesota donated over 2,000 pounds of peanut butter to Second Harvest Heartland during a week-long peanut butter drive. Peanut butter is one of the most in-demand items Second Harvest distributes because it’s a shelf-stable protein that is enjoyed by everyone.

Finally, we volunteered at two more projects with the Vikings. In October we sorted and repacked over 17,000 pounds of food, the equivalent of over 14,000 meals, at Second Harvest Heartland’s warehouse. Our volunteers repackaged bulk foods such as pasta, cereal, potatoes and rice into family-sized packages, sorted food from food drives and donations, and labeled canned goods. These items went to Second Harvest’s partner agencies, including food shelves and feeding programs that serve our hungry neighbors. In November around Veteran’s Day, volunteers from UnitedHealthcare along with Vikings alumni played bingo with residents at the VA Home in Minneapolis. The volunteers spent a couple of hours sharing their enthusiasm and time to make the game even more fun for the veterans who gave so much for our country.

This was the 6th year of our partnership with Second Harvest Heartland and the Vikings where we fought senior hunger in Minnesota. There is so much more to do, and together, we can make great things happen. In case you missed it, check out the Vikings’ Beyond the Gridiron video featuring our 2016 efforts.

 

Alisa Grande is a social responsibility program coordinator at UnitedHealthcare.

 

About Second Harvest Heartland

Second Harvest Heartland is one of the nation’s largest, most efficient and most innovative food banks. Along with a network of 1,000 food shelves, pantries and other partner programs in Minnesota and western Wisconsin, Second Harvest Heartland distributes food to more than 532,000 people each year. For more information, visit 2harvest.org or call 651.484.5117.

 


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