2020 National Philanthropy Day Award Honoree

Minnesota Central Kitchen
Nourishing communities through collaboration

Minnesota_Central_Kitchen.jpgMinnesota Central Kitchen, a program of Second Harvest Heartland, brings together restaurants, caterers and hunger-fighting organizations to tackle hunger and service-sector layoffs brought on by the pandemic. We empower our state’s hospitality professionals to keep working at what they do best – feeding hungry people – while responding to surging need for food assistance and rescuing donated food.  

Founded in March as a result of COVID 19, Minnesota Central Kitchen (MCK) provides prepared meals to anyone to respond to the surge in hunger and see communities through recovery. Special effort is made to serve Minnesotans who might not be able to cook or access prepared meals right now, including those who are sick, homebound, unhoused, frontline or essential workers, and the children and families whose caregivers are ill. 

MCK food service, restaurant and catering partners provide the kitchen space, employees, supplies and ingredients to supplement the donations from the MealConnect platform, an app that provides area institutions a medium to donate large-scale food items to Minnesota Central Kitchen. Currently, more than 60% of the meals are prepared with rescued food. Meals are then prepared by expert culinary teams, including Chowgirls Catering, The Sioux Chef, Appetite for Change, The Wedge Table, Eat for Equity, Community Bridge, Mintahoe Catering, and Boston Scientific’s Eurest Catering.

Then, a distribution network coordinated by Second Harvest Heartland delivers these beautiful and nutritious meals to partner organizations in communities throughout the Twin Cities and within Greater Minnesota, led by Loaves & Fishes with partners Pillsbury United Communities, The Sanneh Foundation, SafeZone and InvolveMN.

Since the first meals were prepared and served in mid-March by founding partners, Chowgirls and Loaves & Fishes, we have expanded to ten operating kitchens and are on track to prepare and distribute one million meals by Thanksgiving.

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