When I talk to people about hunger, I focus on both the emotional side and the business side,” says long-time Second Harvest Heartland volunteer, fundraiser, and event-creator, John Wanninger. “On the emotional side, it’s painful to think about kids not having enough to eat, in the U.S., in 2018. It just shouldn’t happen. No excuse for it. On the business side, we all work very hard in our careers. I look for a good return on my investment of my time and money. When I tell people about the multiplier effect of Second Harvest Heartland — that every $1 provides three meals — that’s amazing. People respond to that.”
John’s history with hunger relief goes back to the very first Vintner Ball. After helping to launch the wine-tasting event, or wine party as he calls it, he’s now involved with another fun event, Heartbeat for Hunger (featuring live music at venues like The Fine Line Music Cafe).
“It takes time, effort, and creativity to make it happen,” he says, talking about his work on events. “The lesson we’ve learned is that there are those who can write a $1M check, and there are those who can figure out how to make $1M happen. It doesn’t matter which one you are. The bottom line is, you have an opportunity to give back.”
John jumped in to help with the capital campaign too, sharing the story of the needs and Second Harvest Heartland’s plans to address them. For all of John’s and his family’s investment, he feels he’s received more than he’s given. “It makes your soul feel good,” is how he puts it.