By Ed Nicholson
At Tyson Foods, we’re frequently asked why so many of our in-kind donations go to Feeding America food banks. After all, there any number of very worthy recipients of our products, at both the local and national levels, who could channel everything we donate to people in need.
Here are some of the reasons we choose to support Feeding America with our in-kind donations:
The Feeding America network of food banks covers every county in the United States. It is a well-designed, well-run food distribution network, that specifically addresses the needs of the 34 million people in the U.S. at risk of hunger.
Each food bank has a robust network of agencies who can guarantee the food is distributed fairly. Agencies are required to submit evidence that the food they receive goes specifically to hunger relief programs, feeding people who really need it without discriminating requirements.
Food safety is at the forefront. Feeding America has a food safety certification program to ensure each food bank is handling and distributing the food properly. In turn, the food banks ensure their distributing agencies also place a high value on food safety. This is especially important in a world where food safety is everyone’s responsibility, from farm to fork.
The food will not end up back on the market; no matter what. When we donate products, we want to make certain they don’t end up back in commerce, competing with our products in retail stores. Believe it or not, this has occurred. This is important to the retail stores to whom we sell. Us, too.
Feeding America, through their national organization, encourages thought leadership and best practices among its member food banks. Examples: Backpack programs, which send food home on the weekend with kids at-risk of hunger. A Washington, D.C.-based office of hunger experts who advocate on The Hill for legislation that addresses hunger in the U.S.
Feeding America has the support of national sponsors, who are committed to the sustainability of the network.
We’re often approached for donations by individual agencies at the local level. We subsequently encourage them to become members of the Feeding America food bank serving their area, ensuring them sustainable access to a consistent supply of quality food.