Not everyone knows what real hunger looks like. But Lola Stephens-Bell does. Every day, she opens her restaurant in Austin, Texas—and her heart—to those in need.
Simone and her brother Jake Bernstein are truly “Hunger All-Stars.” Simone and Jake, high school students, created a website listing local nonprofit organizations (including food banks) that welcome youth volunteers. As avid volunteers in their community, it was tough for them to find places that were willing to welcome ages 10-17 without a parent. No previous website or resource existed. The website inspired them to organize the first St Louis Youth and Family Volunteer Fair on April 11, 2010. Simone and Jake met with local museum administrators and asked if the Children’s Museum would host the event. Simone was a volunteer at this museum in middle school. Not only did the museum offer to host the event, but they want to make it an annual event. The 2nd Youth and Family Volunteer Fair is scheduled for April 10, 2011. Entry to the fair at the St Louis Children’s Museum was a can a food. Over 550 youth attended the event donating over 850 pounds of food to a local food bank(that also was at the event offering volunteer opportunities)
Jake utilized social media tools to recruit his peers to volunteer for World Food Day. He recruited over 50 students to help pack food. Jake also organized the first Youth and Family Volunteer Fair in the St Louis community. He created the event and asked for food donations from attendees. Over 550 students attended the event, with over 800 pounds of food donated to local food banks.
Lots of folks don’t know. We have the research to prove it.
Three years ago, we embarked on a research project with the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), in which we measured public knowledge and attitudes about hunger in the U.S., particularly in their own communities.
It all began when we heard our own team mates say, “We really don’t have a problem with hunger in our community.” As it turns out, no matter where you live, that’s just not true. Food insecurity is in every single community in the United States. North to South. East to West. Affluent or at risk.
Our 2011 research showed that two-thirds of Americans believed that hunger was not a severe problem in their communities. In August of this year, we repeated the research, with similar results.
If folks don’t believe hunger is a problem where they live, what kind of urgency will they have in solving it?
That’s why we created the KNOW Hunger campaign. Since 2011, a big part of our hunger relief outreach, in addition to donating millions of pounds of food, and supporting local and national hunger relief organizations, has been creating awareness that no matter where you live, hunger is a serious challenge.
One heartening result of the research is that people are indeed aware that hunger is a big problem nationally, and they believe we should be applying resources to fix the problem.
Are you aware of how hunger affects your own community? Are you involved in hunger relief activities? We’d love to how you’re making a difference in the fight against hunger.
There are other very interesting findings in the 2014 KNOW Hunger Survey. To find out more, go here.
I am now in my fifth month of my internship with Tyson Foods. To be completely honest the only thing I knew about Tyson when I began this internship was that Tyson produced chicken and that Tyson was a great employment provider for many people I knew growing up. Many of my own family members worked their first jobs in the chicken production plants.
In the four months I been here I have learned so much more about Tyson Foods and quite honestly I was blown away by all the work Tyson puts into giving back to the community. I personally never experienced hunger, but like many families in a tough economy, at times money gets tight and we all have to cut back on spending. Thankfully my parents were always working hard to make sure we always had meat on the table, not just bread but meat. My father in his early years was a butcher and his father before him was a butcher too; the importance of protein as a part of a daily meal was always very clear to them.
On my very first week of my internship with Tyson Foods I was sent to Las Vegas. There the company had paired up with LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens) and was making a donation of protein to the local food bank. The donation was of 38,400 pounds of protein! This donation was to feed more than 100,000 Nevadans fighting hunger.
When I came back to work, the Tyson team was gearing up for yet another donation and more work around creating awareness about food insecurity, and also continuing to giving more help to Moore, Oklahoma. Little by little I discovered a new face of Tyson, the human, caring face of Tyson Foods.
My parents have always inculcated the values of being a good neighbor and giving back. To me giving back is a much greater gift. When you give back to the community you are making a change, a visible, tangible, change. Through this internship I have learned that Tyson Foods isn’t just about chicken, or beef or pork for that matter; it’s about people.