Rural Pantries Face Greater Demand

A local food drive recently netted Loaves and Fishes Food Bank of the Ozarks more than 4000 grocery items.

Feeding America’s recent Map the Meal Gap project showed that food insecurity in rural households is generally lower than in urban areas. Still, hunger persists on America’s back roads.

Ask Sara Hodgson, executive director of the Loaves and Fishes Food Bank of the Ozarks. She says the need for food assistance in Carroll County, Ark., is like it is in a lot of rural areas right now – rising.

The Berryville, Ark., facility has seen double-digit increases each of the last two years in the number of people it serves. That number rose 12 percent in 2010 to 22,929 people. Non-commodity food distributed last year totaled 174,222 pounds, up 21 percent from 2009.

Hodgson says her client base is a lot of elderly or disabled people and working families with kids who are having trouble making ends meet. According to Map the Meal Gap findings, Carroll County has a 15.7 percent food insecurity rate with 4,280 people who are food insecure.

“Especially with the price of gas and people having a hard time finding jobs, we’re seeing a bigger need than ever before,” Hodgson says. “We have a lot of people coming in and saying, ‘I’ve never done this before.’ They’re embarrassed to have to come to a pantry.

“But we understand, and thanks to donations like the one we just got from Tyson Foods we’re able to help.”

Tyson Foods Team Members from its Berryville and Green Forest facilities recently helped restock Loaves and Fishes’ shelves with a combined $3,800 of food and cash donations.

Located near Arkansas’ northwest corner, the county was named for Charles Carroll of Carrollton, Ark., who died in 1832 and was the last survivor of those who had signed the U.S. Declaration of Independence.

But it’s not the only rural area where the hungry are becoming more dependent on food assistance. Providers such as the Food Bank of Northwest Louisiana have seen the need to branch out with more and more rural pantries. In a recent newsletter, the Louisiana entity issued a call for help starting outreach pantries in Bienville, Webster and Claiborne parishes.

Rural hunger will continue to be a challenge, particularly with a season that saw parts of the south and midwest wrought with natural disasters. Loaves and Fishes Food Bank of the Ozarks does have some more good news, however. The 25-year-old faith-based program will make its last mortgage payment this summer.

And Hodgson said that will enable her outreach program to do that much more good.

Bringing It All Together

Fred Jones, Southern Heritage Classic

A key component of our hunger strategy at Tyson is to engage as many of our stakeholders as possible in the issue.  Not to belabor the obvious, but we’re a big company.  Some people see that as a bad thing.  We have a lot of stakeholders:  117,000 Team Members.  Scores of vendors and customers.  Community members in 90 operations locations.  Just to name a few.

The way we have it figured, if we can leverage our relationships with these stakeholders to get them engaged in the issue of hunger, well, maybe that wouldn’t be a bad thing.

Each year, Tyson is a scholarship sponsor in some fall football classics featuring Historically Black Colleges and Universities. This week is the Southern Heritage Classic in Memphis pitting Jackson State University and Tennesee State University.  For the past few years, we’ve been involving the teams and the organizers of the event in a truckload food donation to the Mid-South Food Bank.  Yesterday, we got the chance to bring all these great friends together for the fifth year in a row.
Thanks to Susan Sanford and the wonderful staff at the food bank (who do tremendous work and always go out of their way to make us feel welcome), plus Mr. Fred Jones, director of the Southern Heritage Classic for their hard work in making this event a success.

How do you engage new stakeholders–not just the true believers, but people who might not have been involved in hunger relief before?

How can we do it better?  We’re always up for learning something new.

Tyson CEO announces Siouxland Donation; Powering the Spirit Kickoff


Tyson Foods president and CEO, Dick Bond, along with Linda Scheid, executive director, Food Bank of Siouxland,  announcing the donation of a truckload of Tyson products to the food bank.

On Tuesday, May 20, Tyson Foods president and CEO Richard Bond visited the headquarters of the company’s Fresh Meats Group in Dakota Dunes, South Dakota, announcing the donation of a truckload of Tyson products to the Food Bank of Siouxland and the kickoff of Tyson’s annual “Powering the Spirit” fundraising campaign against childhood hunger.

 “One of the key components of a healthy meal is protein and having Tyson as our partner in the fight against hunger is an enormous boost,” said Food Bank of Siouxland Executive Director Linda Scheid.  “This donation is especially helpful since food prices continue to rise and more people are turning to local charities to help feed their families.

The Food Bank of Siouxland serves as a year round, centralized, stable food source for more than 200 area agencies that have on-site feeding programs or food pantries.  It provides food to member agencies such as church pantries, emergency relief agencies, shelters, children’s homes, day care centers, rehabilitation programs, senior citizens centers and other outreach programs.

Tyson’s involvement in the fight against hunger goes beyond food donations.  Between 2003 and 2007, Tyson Team Members raised more than half a million dollars to provide childhood hunger relief in their own communities through an internal fundraising campaign, called “Powering the Spirit.”   This includes almost $3,500 raised last year by Team Members from the Tyson’s Dakota Dunes office.  This year’s campaign will also include Team Members from the company’s Dakota City plant.

Donation in Storm Lake and Des Moines, Iowa

 Team Members from Tyson’s Storm Lake facility take part in the donation of a truckload of food for hunger relief in their community.

Nearly 300,000 Iowans experience hunger every year and as food and fuel prices continue to rise, more people are turning to local food banks and pantries to help feed their families. To help meet the increasing demand for nutritious food, Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE: TSN) today delivered more than 15 tons of protein in Iowa to the Food Bank of Iowa, Upper Des Moines Opportunity in Storm Lake and The Lord’s Cupboard in Alta.

A brief announcement ceremony at the Tyson plant in Storm Lake kicked off the hunger relief outreach and was attended by city officials, local community leaders, food bank and pantry representatives as well as Tyson Team Members.

“Our company’s commitment to hunger relief has provided nutritious protein for more than 204 million meals benefitting our nation’s children and families in need,” said Mrylon Kizer, manager of Tyson’s Storm Lake pork plant. “Our pledge to hunger relief is steadfast, and I am proud of all our team members and our community leaders who have joined us in this fight.”

Tyson Foods Treats Nebraska with Dual Donations

Two Hunger Relief Organizations to Share 31,712-Pound Protein Donation

OMAHA, Neb. Oct. 30, 2007 – Two Nebraska hunger relief organizations were treated with protein donations today from Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE: TSN) as part of the company’s commitment to fight hunger in America. A Tyson Foods truck carrying 31,712 pounds of protein stopped first in Madison, and delivered a pallet or 700 pounds of products, to assist families served by the Madison Ministerium Food Pantry. The truck continued on to Omaha where the remaining 31,012 pounds were delivered to the Nebraska Food Bank Network in Omaha.
 “Our pantry was starting to get low on meat products. With Thanksgiving and Christmas right around the corner, Tyson’s donation will help us service our families and make the holidays a little brighter and easier for them,” said Rev. Calvin L’Heureux, treasurer of the Madison Ministerium Food Pantry.
 Tyson continued to fight hunger in Nebraska at the Nebraska Food Bank Network where Don Schinzel, president of Nebraska Food Bank Network said the donation will help the organization continue to serve the area’s 120,000 people in need.
“We thank Tyson for their generous donation of 31,000 pounds of quality protein,” Schinzel said.  “These types of donations are hard for us to get and this will be a huge help going into the holiday season.”