So what’s the big deal, anyway?



Ed Nicholson
Why should anyone pay any attention to this photo? Isn’t it just another "PR" event?
Community leaders, elected officials, corporate leaders, food bank leaders. 
Talking to media (and each other) about why the issue of hunger needs to be addressed.

I submit that the single biggest challenge those passionate about hunger face is getting other people engaged.

When you get important people out talking about hunger, other important people listen. And perhaps they get involved.

The backstory
At Tyson, a key component of our hunger strategy is to bring as many of our stakeholders as possible into the issue of hunger.  Each year, we sponsor Fall Football Classics with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU).  These are tremendous events, involving phenomenally influential people in the communities in which they occur (see below).  For the past five years, we’ve done food donation events in conjunction with this sponsorship, to which we’ve invited key Classic participants.  They’ve readily and eagerly participated.  This one’s in Memphis–see details below.  If we can get these folks engaged in hunger in their communities, the impact will be so much more than the truckload of food we donate.

Do you have strategies to engage your stakeholders?  We’d love to hear about them.  Please comment.

The Photo
Tyson Foods donates 35K lbs of food to the Memphis Mid-South Food Bank in honor of the Southern Heritage Classic.
l. to r.
Susan Sanford, Executive Director, Mid-South Food Bank
(speaking) Fred Jones – Founder and Producer of the Southern Heritage Classic
Gwendolyn J. Tucker – Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors, Mid-South Food Bank
Libby Lawson – Vice-President of Media & Community Relations, Tyson Foods, Inc.
Chairman Harold B. Collins – Chairman and Councilman, District 3 on the Memphis City Council
Myron Lowery – Mayor Pro Tem for the City of Memphis

One Reply to “So what’s the big deal, anyway?”

  1. Roxanna Sieber

    It is a challenge and for small rural communities it becomes a different challenge.  We know that if we got even one big name-even may just a name-we could get noticed and we could restock our food pantry shelves but names like the PR events that get noticed. Here we could not guarantee that the larger media – the Des Moines Register or the Omaha World Herald – would notice. Our local media would – they are ready. I’m not expressing envy of the Fall Football Classics – good done anywhere is good done. I guess I am just expressing frustration because it is more difficult here to get noticed and yet … on the other hand, sometimes all we need to do is circulate the word in our churches and among those who coffee in town. Last spring the call went out that the shelves of the pantry were low and they filled up. But, last night I heard that the shelves are nearing empty again so, here we go again. We probably won’t find a name that will come do an event, but we will get the job done. Well, I guess I’ve gone full circle in this post from wishing we had a big name, a big PR event to help raise the awareness to acknowledging that many in our community do know and do care and just have to be reminded.  We are writing an article for the paper this week suggesting that people take their favorite pantry shelf recipe – that is a recipe they can make using mostly what they can find on their pantry shelves – and giving the ingredients for that recipe, along with the recipe itself, to the food pantry.  –from Villisca, IA – thanks to Tyson’s and to all the corporations who make a difference.

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