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Second Harvest Heartland halts volunteer operations until mid-January

Due to rising COVID-19 cases in Minnesota, the food bank has canceled all scheduled volunteer shifts, including on Give to the Max Day.
Credit: Courtesy Second Harvest Heartland

BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. — With COVID-19 case growth in Minnesota reaching levels that health experts have called "alarming," Second Harvest Heartland announced on Tuesday that it will cancel all volunteer shifts until at least mid-January. 

The food bank also said in a press release that it will not be scheduling additional shifts until it is "deemed safe to do so."

This decision includes the previously scheduled 24-hour pack-athon for Give to the Max Day on Thursday, Nov. 19.

"We are a volunteer led and fed organization, so this was an extremely difficult but necessary decision for us to make,” said Allison O’Toole, CEO of Second Harvest Heartland, in the release. “We will need to get creative to find new ways to get food out the door and to community partners as they serve hungry families, but we are confident we can do so with our staff and financial help from the community.”

Employees who normally coordinate and oversee volunteer operations and other Second Harvest Heartland staff will pack food until they are able to accept volunteers again. 

“As always, we will do whatever it takes to fill every plate while simultaneously keeping our volunteers and teams safe,” O’Toole said. “We hope we can lean on the community to help us fill fridges in whatever way they can, until we can welcome volunteers in person again.”

Second Harvest Heartland is still accepting monetary donations as they continue to purchase and distribute prepackaged food to Minnesotans in need. Those interested in donating can do so here