Mission: To help Minnesotans experiencing hunger and homelessness.
About the organization: Twenty thousand Minnesotans are homeless on any given night, and one in eight struggle with hunger. Founded in 1986 by employees of the Minnesota Department of Jobs and Training who had participated in a public awareness and fundraising campaign around food insecurity, Open Your Heart to the Hungry and Homeless today raises more than $700,000 annually to help the hungry and homeless in Minnesota. To that end, funds raised by the organization help emergency shelters, supportive housing programs, domestic violence shelters, and food pantries pay for necessities such as mattresses, security cameras, freezers and shelving, and building repairs.
Current programs: The organization's grant programs include the Hunger and Homeless Grant, which is targeted to hunger relief programs and emergency shelter providers serving people experiencing homelessness or who are victims of domestic violence; Education Grants, which support the educational needs of children and youth experiencing homelessness; and the Summer Challenge, which, in partnership with Hunger Solutions of Minnesota, helps food pantries serve families that rely on free breakfast and lunch programs during the school year and often struggle hunger during the out-of-school summer months.
COVID-19 response: The organization's COVID-19 Response Fund has provided emergency funding in support of efforts to protect the homeless and give them a place to recover in isolation, deploy street teams to work with those living in encampments, and purchase additional food and supplies for individuals and families experiencing food insecurity and other needs. In addition, the organization's COVID-19 Resources page compiles and updates information about community resources, shelter providers and food banks, and crisis service agencies' in-kind donation and volunteer needs.
Website: Visitors to the Open Your Heart site can learn more about getting help, browse a list of recent grantees, get involved by volunteering, add the organization to a workplace giving campaign, fund a specific project, and/or make a donation.
Funding: Open Your Heart is supported by individuals, foundations, corporations, and workplace giving campaigns.