A word from Rob Zeaske and Allison O’Toole


We’re going to need a bigger table

Every time I ask one of my kids to set the table, I smile at how nicely the work of Second Harvest Heartland is contained in this simple, daily act. As I see it, our supporters and teams work tirelessly to set, fill and expand the community’s table. We sit down with the right partners to gather and pass around the abundance our region is famous for. We connect the growers and grocers that sustain us with the volunteers, food rescue drivers and food shelf teams who get plentiful, healthy food to people who need it. 

Last year, you helped us distribute more than 103 million pounds of needed food to nonprofits and food shelves across Minnesota and into Wisconsin. More than a third of these meals fed hungry kids. We delivered 368,000 meals through our FoodRx program and rescued 38.8 million pounds of good food from retail partners that would otherwise have been tossed into landfills.

While we are are immensely proud of this work, we also recognize we are not reaching every family experiencing hunger. Even operating at full capacity and with food up to the rafters in our current warehouse space, we are not able to distribute all the food the community needs. Once again, you stepped up to back us and Fueling the Future, our comprehensive campaign to support our new and improved facility. We have covered a lot of ground together; we have $3 million left to raise for our comprehensive campaign; we break ground on our new home in Brooklyn Park this spring; and we are already making use of the larger warehouse and volunteer space ahead of the full remodel. 

I won’t be here to see this important work unfold, but it’s in good hands. As I move with my family to Boston, I am thrilled to welcome my exceptional successor, Allison O’Toole, to the table. 

With her passion for creating positive change for Minnesotans she’s the right addition to this potluck and she’s poised to pass our abundance far and wide, until it reaches the need.

Rob Zeaske, CEO


Places and plates for everyone

Walk into our Brooklyn Park facility and you can feel the energy in the air. It’s palpable-and contagious. And it comes from knowing that when we open the doors of our new hunger-relief campus in 2020, we will be welcoming a stronger, healthier future for everyone. We will be ready to host a volunteer workforce that is double the size our current space can accommodate. These teams will help us fill new, larger coolers with more precious produce and protein. We’ll load our cargo in a larger, better fleet of trucks that will allow us to more reliably reach local food shelves and meal programs in Minnesota’s smallest towns and largest cities. I have no doubt that these hunger-relief agencies are ready and eager to deliver more healthy breakfasts full of protein, hearty lunches and dinners that honor the history and heritage of all Minnesotans. 

I am thrilled to be joining the Second Harvest Heartland family at such an exciting time. I hope you will join our efforts to ensure every Minnesotan has a place at the table. Because folks, we can’t do this alone. Start with a few dollars, a few pounds of food or a few hours volunteering. That’s all it takes to put your desire to make a difference to work. Let’s work together and share the abundance until every individual, family, and child is fed.

Allison O’Toole, CEO