SAINT PAUL, Minn., April 2, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Second Harvest Heartland, a member of Feeding America and one of the nation's largest food banks, is pleased today to announce the recipients of its fourth annual Hunger Hero award, an award created to honor and recognize organizational partners who make a compassionate and transformational impact on those who are hungry in the heartland. Last year, more than 600,000 people in Minnesota and western Wisconsin were at risk of missing a meal on any given day. But as the demand for emergency food increased, so too, did the generosity of many of Second Harvest Heartland's charitable partners, six of whom demonstrated extraordinary leadership in meeting the unprecedented demand for food. It is these six partners that Second Harvest Heartland honors this year with its Hunger Hero award, a seal of appreciation designed to publicly acknowledge those who contributed the most by way of food, funds, hours, ideas, awareness, and more. "It's in our mission—'ending hunger through community partnerships'—that our work is fundamentally centered around partners who continue to demonstrate commitment and compassion to providing more meals to families in the communities we serve," said Second Harvest Heartland CEO, Rob Zeaske. "We are proud to recognize this year's Hunger Heroes for their leadership and are honored to be the recipients of such tremendous support." Hunger Heroes are recognized in six categories, each of which is critical to Second Harvest Heartland's work and all of which must work in tandem to collectively achieve that goal. This year's award recipients and categories include: Volunteer: UnitedHealth GroupUnitedHealth Group is a company focused on health and wellbeing, and that spirit is shared by employees through their gifts of time to help improve the communities in which they live and work. As a testament to UnitedHealth Group's commitment to service, its employees contributed 2,800 volunteer hours to Second Harvest Heartland in 2012—the equivalent of 350 full business days. They've also been instrumental in outreach campaigns to help raise awareness of senior hunger and have hosted food drives at Minnesota Vikings games.