Blogging for good

NKH blogger visit photo

Getting advice from experts on breakfast in the classroom

When we started getting involved in hunger relief almost fifteen years ago, our first partner was Share Our Strength. There we encountered a large, vibrant community of folks who were passionate about ending hunger. When social media began emerging in the mid 2000’s,
we saw other communities come together online, and thought, “Wouldn’t it be tremendous if these digital tools could bring the hunger community together?” We started this blog in September 2007 for that very reason.

Today, we’re proud to say that our friends at Share Our Strength/No Kid Hungry have one the best social media teams out there, doing an excellent job of growing their vibrant community and creating awareness for the issue of childhood hunger. It’s our great pleasure to sponsor their blogger network.

Last week, we had the privilege, along with the No Kid Hungry digital team, of hosting three members of the blogging network, in addition to two great northwest Arkansas bloggers at our corporate headquarters, to discuss how the blogger network can be made stronger and more robust. We had some excellent discussion.

Thanks so much to Becky Tarala, author of The Two Bite Club;  Josi Del Papa, who pens The American Mama and Dawn McCoy, creator of Beauty Frosting (among other things).   Also joining were Laurie Marshall of Junque Rethunque (among other things) and James Moore of busvlogger.

We got a chance to visit an after-school feeding program and a breakfast in the classroom program to see direct evidence of the work No Kid Hungry is doing in Arkansas.   A big shoutout to Fayetteville Public Schools and Springdale Public Schools for many kids they’re feeding with these programs.  We also got an excellent overview from Rachel Townsend, director of Cooking Matters for No Kid Hungry Arkansas, of the work they’re doing in the state.

It was good fun, good people, and lively, enlightening discussion. Check their blogs for some excellent content. And thanks to all for the energy and insights on how to make online communities work for No Kid Hungry.

The Food Security Genome

DNA Double HelixBy Matt Pakula, Tyson Foods Corporate Social Responsibility

As one of the most innovative food companies, we’re always looking at new ideas for our business and our brands. It’s part of who we are. We also know there are opportunities to be innovative as we seek to alleviate hunger in our communities. While we try to reduce food insecurity through several initiatives and partnerships, a new one announced today at the Clinton Global Initiative winter meeting in New York City offers exciting promise to identify the key success factors that lead to improving food security.
The Food Security Genome will create critical benchmark data about food security programs, quantifying the outcomes and identifying key success factors. The model that results will turn decades of data about alleviating hunger into actionable insights that will enable project funders, or any user, to predict the effectiveness and cost per outcome for a food security program.
We’re optimistic that over time using data in this way will improve the lives of many hungry people by creating opportunities to design better programs, allowing funders to deploy grants and contributions more effectively, and helping food security project implementers save time.
We’ll continue to work with our partners on innovative projects like the Food Security Genome. Hopefully, you’ll continue to follow this project as it progresses. In the meantime, you can view the media release for more information here.

image: www.genome.gov–public domain

Waste not. Want not.

GreatFood_LunchMeats_3

I don’t know about you, but I ate pretty well last Thursday. Turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, the works. And the same on Friday. And Saturday. And in spite of all the food we sent home with our kids, we’ll still have Thanksgiving leftovers that will ultimately, unfortunately, not be eaten. It’s a sad fact that we waste a lot of food in America. Some say we could feed all the hungry in the world with what gets thrown away. I’m not sure I believe that, but I do know we can do a heck of a lot better when it comes to making good use of what we have.

At Tyson Foods, we’ve aspired to be a thought leader in the discussion of how a growing world is going to be fed. Recently food waste has become a very, very hot topic in that discussion.
So it was appropriate that in the week of Thanksgiving we announced a $225,000 Tyson Foods grant to the University of Arkansas, in support of their Full Circle Campus Food Pantry and an exciting young program called Razorback Food Recovery. The latter is specifically focused on recovering and redistributing food that would otherwise be wasted, and in its first seven months of existence has saved more than 20,000 pounds of wholesome food from the dumpster, and given it to organizations that feed those in need.

These U of A programs are groundbreaking, and the exciting thing about our grant, is a portion of it is specifically earmarked for showing other colleges and universities around the country how to implement similar successful programs. We’re hopeful that we’re sowing seeds for the recovery of a lot more food that can feed hungry people.

Here’s an article that tells more about the donation.
Meanwhile, think about your personal role in this issue. What can we do as individuals and as a society to make certain as little as possible is wasted?

#GivingTuesday: It’s not about your turkey leftovers!

GivingTuesday-Tyson+NoKidHungry2013
#GivingTuesday is not for “giving away” your Thanksgiving turkey leftovers. Nope, it’s about you and I joining the masses of kind-hearted folks giving together online! Think of it as global crowdsourced kindness.

Originally, the Gates Foundation created Giving Tuesday as a response to Cyber Monday and Black Friday. I like this new holiday as it shifts the primary focus of our spending from our own needs towards the needs of others. So, Giving Tuesday is a special day where you and I can join forces and change the world by donating online to our favorite charities.

Think of all the money spent over #BlackFriday and #CyberMonday and how much good we can do together if we instead collect our “savings” and donate it to our favorite charities like Share Our Strength‘s #NoKidHungry initiative, which does a wonderful job of raising awareness and fighting childhood hunger.

This year Tyson Foods is the proud sponsor of the #NoKidHungry Holiday Give-A-Thon and will match your donations, dollar for dollar, up to $25,000 USD. How cool is that?! So now your #GivingTuesday donation dollars go farther: double in fact!

1 in 5 children in America go to bed hungry. We can CHANGE that stat ASAP.

Who:     YOU, your friends and me!

What:    Support #NoKidHungry on #GivingTuesday!
1.  Join the #ThunderClap
2.  Donate to No Kid Hungry!

              Every dollar you donate will be matched by Tyson Foods, up to $25,000! 

When:  #GivingTuesday is all day on Tuesday, December 3, 2013.
The Thunderclap event is at 12:00 p.m. EST, tomorrow, 12/3.

Where:   Online http://nokidhungry.org/givingtuesday

Why:       Today is our day to make a difference in the lives of young children that are hungry, right here in America. Do your part and join with us to eradicate hunger this holiday!

Thank you!

#FoodThanks

FoodProduction_MOplantEvery day I have the honor to work with and around people who make food.  They work hard.  From the farm, to the production plant, to the folks who sell and deliver the food, all the way to the people who perform essential jobs behind desks—they care about what they do and the products they make.   They feed those products to their own families, but they know a lot of other families are enjoying them, too.  I’d really like for the people who disparage big bad companies to meet each and every one of them.
As we pause and reflect on our blessings this week,  I’m thankful there are people who devote their lives to making and serving food, whether they work on a small farm that feeds a few people or one that cultivates thousands of acres; in a local diner or in a national restaurant chain; for an artisinal manufacturer  or a large company that feeds millions. We need them all to feed a hungry world.
I’m hopeful that everyone who wants a meal this Thanksgiving will find one.  And I pray for the day that anyone who needs a meal will have one, every day of the year.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.