Second Harvest North Central Food Bank announced Produce Pop-Ups will begin occurring in July throughout north-central Minnesota.

In partnership with food shelves and community supporters like Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Foundation, Second Harvest will bring large quantities of free fresh produce for people in need to multiple locations in the region.

Distribution dates and area locations for the month of July include:

  • Thursday, July 11, Lakes Area Food Shelf, Pequot Lakes.

  • July 17, Cuyuna Range Food Shelf, Crosby.

  • July 23, Pine River Area Food Shelf, Pine River.

Contact the local food shelf for distribution times.

Making a greater impact on the people and communities they serve through the distribution of healthy nutritious foods is the organization’s objective, a news release stated. Second Harvest has access to thousands of pounds of produce during the growing season of July through September. The abundance of produce is largely due to the Farm to Food Shelf Program that supports donations of produce grown in the state. Millions of pounds of produce that would otherwise go unsold is donated to the food banks in Minnesota and distributed out to food shelves and through direct distribution to people in need.

Produce Pop-Up Pantries are like mini farmers markets where individuals and families gain access to the fresh food they need to keep them healthy and strong. Submitted photo
Produce Pop-Up Pantries are like mini farmers markets where individuals and families gain access to the fresh food they need to keep them healthy and strong. Submitted photo

“We are so grateful for this produce,” stated Susan Estee, executive director of Second Harvest North Central Food Bank, in the release.

The increase of produce does pose a challenge for Second Harvest, according to the organization. How do they get this produce into the hands of hungry people who may not have access to this food on a regular basis? Their solution to this challenge is the Produce Pop-Up Pantry Program.

Produce Pop-Up Pantries are like mini farmers markets where individuals and families gain access to fresh food they need to keep them healthy and strong. “We know there is a correlation between nutritious food and a person’s health,” Estee stated. “That is why it is so important that we work with the communities we serve to ensure they have the produce they need.”

Second Harvest North Central Food Bank announces Produce Pop-Ups will begin occurring in July throughout north-central Minnesota. Submitted photo
Second Harvest North Central Food Bank announces Produce Pop-Ups will begin occurring in July throughout north-central Minnesota. Submitted photo
According to Estee, Second Harvest’s goal for 2019 is to distribute over 500,000 pounds of produce throughout north-central Minnesota. “Delivering all of this produce is no small feat, but we know we are working to improve the health of communities throughout our region,” stated Estee. “There is no better work than that.”

Hunger is a serious issue for many people throughout Minnesota. According to Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap, it is estimated that 21,980 individuals throughout north-central Minnesota are food insecure, including 7,510 children.

Annually, Second Harvest distributes 4.2 million pounds, or 3.5 million meals, of food and grocery products directly to people and through member agencies.

For more information about the Second Harvest’s Produce Pop-Up Pantry Program, contact Susan Estee at 218-326-4420 or susan@secondharvestncfb.com.