Where’s the online discussion about hunger?

 By Ed Nicholson

For the past few years, those of us in public relations have been receiving a constant stream of reminders that the ground is shifting beneath our feet. That the way we communicate, engage stakeholders,  and participate in communities is being revolutionized by breakthrough communications vehicles.  I’m one who happens to believe that’s true.

While I still can’t start my day without dead trees, more and more of my daily information flow is being delivered to my desktop via RSS.    I author and contribute to several blogs, including this one.  I have a (relatively inactive) Facebook account  and a growing number of Linkedin contacts.
I even Twitter.

I’ve discovered that all over the Web, there are vibrant, stimulating, engaging discussions occurring in ever-growing communities on virtually any subject or any issue one might imagine.

But for the life of me,  I can’t find much more than static content from the hunger community online.  I’ve done Technorati and Google searches.  “Hunger Relief” is on my daily Bloglines feed.  Not much there in the way of active discourse. Lots of folks talking at  people, but not many real conversations.

Beth Scofield put together an incredibly well-built online presence with SOS in Sharingwitness.org, with an all-star cast of contributors. Comments were enabled (and I’m certain encouraged), but one can count the number of comments on two hands. Before its time…?

I know this is a passionate community.  I’ve been to A2H and SOS conferences, and you won’t find a more committed, articulate, educated bunch in the world.  People like Michael Farver (who himself is very hip to technology).  They certainly aren’t afraid to speak out when they’re face-to-face. And they have some remarkable things to contribute.

Helloooo…..Anyone out there?  Maybe, there’s a party going on somewhere to which I’ve simply not been invited.  If so, please let me know.  We’ll put a link up on this site to try to drive more traffic that way.

Meanwhile, we’d appreciate your adding this site to your RSS feed.    We’re bound and determined to play a role in stimulating the online discussion about this issue.

Got a comment?   PLEASE jump in.

5 Replies to “Where’s the online discussion about hunger?”

  1. Pingback: Where’s the online discussion about hunger? | Tyson Hunger Relief

  2. Ed

    Susan, if you’ll send me the URL of your blog, I’ll be glad to see if I can get it published here.


  3. Susan

    I am just starting a blog for Second Harvest (of Middle Tennessee) It’s really more the result of a photo project but like you, I have looked around unsuccessfully for that same conversation. I would welcome any feedback or suggestions on how to attract readers who might benefit or be inspired by it’s contents. One of the most difficult topics of discussion will be the hunger/obesity issue. I have only just researched it myself but have found it to be commonly misunderstood by people in the community. I’ll keep checking back here via rss, just in case that party you spoke of shows up 🙂 All the best

  4. Ed


    Thanks for your comments.  You hit on some great points, which I think go to the heart of the challenges of making the issue of hunger resonate with the masses as loudly as say, breast cancer. 

    Go to a fifth grade classroom and you will see kids who are suffering the effects of hunger.  You probably couldn’t pick them out. It could very easily be because their single parent has had to make some tough choices among shelter, transportation, medicine and other essential needs.  It’s very likely affecting their school performance.  Probably affecting their health.  And all of those things will affect society in ways that are too profound for us to recognize in that glance across the room.

    And I think those in the hunger community would tell you–should they decide to speak out ;-}–that hunger and obesity often walk hand-in-hand, simply because of the nutritional choices available to those on limited budgets.

  5. JP

    Ed, I pinged you on twitter about this, but I’ll add another nickel’s worth here. a couple things:

    I still believe that the semantics of the word "hunger" just don’t resonate with people the same way that "starving" or "homeless" does. In the West, few people actually starve to death (although that number might surprise me). Furthermore, it’s darn near impossible to identify someone on the street as being "food deficient" (as opposed to "homeless," which seems almost to have its own set of social codes that distinguish people).

    So, there are two fronts on hunger relief: International, ala Sally Struthers, and domestic, which seems to be the most challenging about which to educate people. Living in a country with a pervasive obesity problem, I can understand how the average person has a tough time understanding that a significant number of children and families do not get enough food.

    Food prices, however, are a becoming a news item (behind fuel), so maybe there’s an opportunity to educate here? I’ve always been a proponent of providing curricula in schools to support these kinds of positive agendas. Maybe the real opportunity is in working with schools to educate this generation about hunger in America. If food costs continue on their current trajectory, it couldn’t be more timely or relevant. This might also be a good match to pair some marketing dollars with school breakfast programs?

    Site looks great, BTW. -jp




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