UnitedHealthcare Teams with Second Harvest Heartland and Minnesota Vikings to Fight Senior Hunger

  • Food drives, packing and distribution events aim to provide nearly 40,000 Thanksgiving meals for hungry Twin Cities seniors
  • Activities part of AARP Foundation’s national ‘Drive to End Hunger’ program and UnitedHealthcare’s ‘Do Good. Live Well.’ initiative

MINNEAPOLIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- UnitedHealthcare is teaming up with the Minnesota Vikings and Second Harvest Heartland to tackle senior hunger in the Twin Cities. The organizations will partner in a series of events intended to provide nearly 40,000 meals for hungry seniors in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving.

On Nov. 15, Vikings Punter Chris Kluwe and more than 150 UnitedHealthcare employee volunteers will pack food boxes at UnitedHealthcare’s Minnetonka corporate campus. On Nov. 21, just days before Thanksgiving, employee volunteers from UnitedHealthcare will deliver the packed food boxes to local seniors.

Additionally, 13 UnitedHealthcare offices in the Twin Cities held food drives Oct. 31-Nov. 11, and more than 100 volunteers from UnitedHealthcare will collect non-perishable food items outside Mall of America Field before the Nov. 20 Vikings-Raiders game.

These activities are all part of UnitedHealthcare’s “Do Good. Live Well.” employee-volunteer initiative and AARP Foundation’s broader “Drive to End Hunger” program.

“As a company devoted to serving seniors, the struggle of senior hunger is close to our hearts, especially as the holidays approach, when many people participate in food-centered celebrations,” said Tom Paul, CEO of UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement. “We’re thankful to partner with Second Harvest Heartland to make a difference in the lives of Minnesota seniors and to ensure they have access to fresh, nutritious food.”

“Over the last several years, the Vikings have enjoyed a strong partnership with Second Harvest Heartland in the fight against childhood hunger,” said Lester Bagely, vice president, Minnesota Vikings. “Joining UnitedHealthcare and Second Harvest to raise awareness for hunger issues facing Minnesota seniors is equally rewarding.”

About 9 million older adults nationwide face the threat of hunger and are likely to go hungry without public assistance. Nearly one in seven Minnesotans reported not having enough money to buy food in the last year, with roughly 4 percent of Minnesota’s seniors at risk of going hungry, according to AARP. According to Second Harvest Heartland, more than 136,000 seniors visited food shelves in its service area during the first eight months of 2011 – an increase of 50 percent over that same time period in 2008.

“UnitedHealthcare and other concerned community partners are giving us a tremendous boost in helping to alleviate senior hunger in the Twin Cities,” said Rob Zeaske, executive director, Second Harvest Heartland. “Together we can elevate our effort to feed people in need, particularly our vulnerable seniors.”

UnitedHealthcare employees have participated in senior hunger prevention events in Salem, Va., Tampa, Fla., Los Angeles and Orange County, Calif. Other volunteer events are scheduled for later this year in San Antonio and San Francisco.

For more information about the benefits of volunteering and to find local opportunities to get involved, visit www.DoGoodLiveWell.org. Follow @DoGoodLiveWell on Twitter or “like” Do Good. Live Well. on Facebook.

About Second Harvest Heartland
Second Harvest Heartland, the Upper Midwest’s largest hunger-relief organization, works to reinvent hunger relief through leadership and innovation – to help those who are hungry today, as well as provide the means for those who are hungry to be fed tomorrow. Pioneering partnerships and programs paved the way for Second Harvest Heartland to distribute nearly 70 million pounds of grocery products last year to hungry seniors, families and children through nearly 1,000 non-profit member agencies and programs serving 59 counties in Minnesota and western Wisconsin. For more information, visit 2harvest.org or call 651.484.5117.

About UnitedHealthcare
UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people nationwide live healthier lives by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. The company offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with more than 650,000 physicians and care professionals and 5,000 hospitals nationwide. UnitedHealthcare serves more than 38 million people and is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company.

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Courtney Johnson
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KEYWORDS:   United States  North America  Minnesota

INDUSTRY KEYWORDS:   Seniors  Football  Entertainment  Health  Celebrity  Philanthropy  Professional Services  Insurance  Consumer  Sports  Foundation  Managed Care