By Ryan Gueningsman
DELANO, MN Having contributed more than 53,000 meals, Coborn’s of Delano continues to do its part to help those in need.
Through its corporate office, Second Harvest Heartland and the Delano Helping Hands Food Shelf, the local store is able to contribute food to a program that gets it into the hands of those who need it most.
“We have food in our stores that is perfectly edible, but can’t be sold to customers because of appearance standards and close-dating,” said Coborn’s President and CEO Chris Coborn, citing examples like dented soup cans and bruised fruits.
“Our partnership with Second Harvest allows us to ‘rescue’ these items and redirect them to people who need them most,” Coborn said.
Over the last year, Coborn’s, (including Coborn’s and Cash Wise stores) has played an integral role in helping Second Harvest Heartland close the meal gap in Minnesota.
Since Coborn’s joined the Food Rescue Program in December 2011, it has successfully helped expand Second Harvest Heartland’s reach to support rural communities with fresh and nutritious food streams.
Delano Coborn’s Store Manager Joe Tipka said the Delano store has always had a great relationship and friendship with the Helping Hands Food Shelf.
“We continue to help them out in any way we can,” Tipka said, citing the work of food shelf co-chairpersons Jeanie Pilarski and Sandy Pikus and also the store’s “bags for hunger” program.
“Our main objective is to take some of the items that don’t meet our quality standards at the store, even though the product is still fresh and consumable to everyone, and give it to someone that is unfortunate or having a tough time to feed themselves and their family,” Tipka said.
Traditionally, food shelves located in greater Minnesota have faced challenges finding sustainable sources of nutritious, fresh food to meet the needs of their communities.
Coborn’s has donated fresh produce, meat, dairy and grocery items to food shelves in their local communities.
Through these efforts, Coborn’s has provided nearly 1.4 million fresh and nutritious meals to 32 of Second Harvest Heartland’s partner agencies across the state, including Delano.
The success of this initiative is a direct result of the commitment shown from leaders within the company, and the compassion that the store associates share with their community, according to Second Harvest Heartland.
Because of this, Coborn’s was recently the recipient of Second Harvest Heartland Food Rescue Program’s “One Million Meals Award,” an award Food Rescue donors receive when they reach 1 million meals donated.
“We thank Coborn’s for their commitment to our mission,” a news release from Second Harvest Heartland stated. “By helping Second Harvest Heartland expand the Food Rescue Program, we are strengthening community partnerships and supporting more of our rural neighbors in need.”
Second Harvest Heartland is the Upper Midwest’s largest hunger-relief organization, striving to end hunger through community partnerships.
It forms the backbone of organizations working together to efficiently alleviate hunger in 59 counties throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin.