U.S. Senator Tina Smith Announces Head of Second Harvest Heartland as State of the Union Guest

WASHINGTON [2.3.23] – Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) announced that Second Harvest Heartland CEO, Allison O’Toole, will be her guest at the President’s State of the Union Address on Tuesday, February 7th in Washington, D.C.

Second Harvest was one of many food banks that benefitted from Democrats’ American Rescue Plan and helped provide crucial support for families during the pandemic. Thanks in part to federal funding that they received from the legislation, Second Harvest Heartland was able to provide more than 107 million meals to families across Minnesota and Western Wisconsin in 2022. In addition, they administered $3 million in American Rescue Plan funding to support a prepared meal distribution program throughout 2022.

“In the wealthiest country on earth, it is inexcusable that so many Americans face hunger,” said Sen. Smith. “I am proud to have Alison O’Toole, head of Second Harvest Heartland, join me at the State of the Union. As one of the largest hunger-relief organization in the country, Second Harvest has been a tireless advocate for policies and programs that work to end hunger. I’ve seen their operation firsthand and admire their work to provide healthy food where it’s needed most. I look forward to our continued work together as we look to meet President Biden’s goal of eliminating hunger in America by 2030.”  

“I am honored to represent Second Harvest Heartland at the State of the Union this week as Senator Smith’s guest,” said Allison O’Toole, CEO of Second Harvest Heartland. “President Biden has taken a strong stand against hunger, introducing a goal of eliminating hunger in America by 2030. Senator Smith has been a tireless advocate for Minnesotans living with hunger and supports a strong Farm Bill, which we need to keep America fed. I am proud to stand alongside these leaders as we meet the moment and lead toward an America where everyone is fed. If we don’t get this right, not much else we do matters.” 

Since coming to the Senate, Senator Smith has been a leader in the fight against hunger and food insecurity. She has introduced a host of legislation aimed at reducing hunger, particularly among children and in historically underserved communities. She has also worked with organizations like Second Harvest Heartland to advocate for programs like SNAP and child nutrition waivers

As the Chief Executive Officers of Second Harvest Heartland – Minnesota’s largest food bank – Ms. O’Toole implemented innovative ways to meet the rising hunger needs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Under her leadership, the organization has worked to end Minnesota’s hunger divide and inequities that have caused Minnesota’s communities of color and Indigenous populations to face a rate of hunger two times higher than white families.

The President’s State of the Union Address will be held in the U.S. House Chamber on Tuesday, February 7th.