After donating 100 million pounds of food over the past 15 years, we’re making a new commitment to hunger relief. Announced in September 2015, we’re pledging $50 million in cash and in-kind donations over the next five years in the fight against hunger, with a special focus on innovative initiatives at the local level.
This commitment builds on Tyson’s long partnership with hunger relief organizations, including Share Our Strength, Feeding America, and the Food Research and Action Center.
“We know we can’t solve hunger alone,” said Donnie Smith, president and CEO of Tyson Foods. “It’s the organizations and heroes in communities all over the country who are doing the real work. We’re proud to support those who are fighting hunger across the country and shine a spotlight on individuals making a big difference in innovative ways.”
As part of our five-year commitment, Tyson will recognize individuals on the frontlines of fighting hunger in their communities, like Lola Stephens-Bell of Austin, Texas. In a recent documentary-style film, Tyson follows Lola through her weekly routine — running her restaurant where she also serves free meals out the back door, and closing the restaurant four days a week to drive meals to underserved people in Austin.
“We want to tell the stories of people like Lola, people doing extraordinary things where they live and work,” Smith said. “Lola herself has faced hunger and homelessness in the past, and she knows the struggle of feeding a family firsthand. Her hard work helps us realize that hunger faces many of our friends and neighbors, and inspires us to take action.” Learn more about Lola here.
We aim to empower individuals and organizations to better serve the hungry in their communities and further efforts to find innovative approaches and mobilize action to alleviate hunger.
An Effort 15 Years in the Making
The company has long been a champion of efforts to end hunger; this year marks the 15th anniversary of Tyson’s support through our KNOW Hunger initiative.
Since 2000, Tyson has donated more than 100 million pounds of food to hunger organizations across the United States. To help reach this milestone, this summer we delivered 50 truckloads of food (over 2 million pounds) to hunger nonprofits across the nation – the company’s largest single in-kind donation to date.
KNOW Hunger Research
In an effort to help raise awareness of hunger in the United States, Tyson Foods initiated the KNOW Hunger campaign in early 2011. The project was designed to encourage people to KNOW the scope of hunger in their own communities and get involved in relief efforts, so someday there will be NO hunger in our country.
Tyson collaborated with the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) to commission one of the largest and most comprehensive surveys ever conducted exclusively on attitudes and perceptions of hunger. The results were announced on March 10, 2011. Key findings included:
- One in four Americans is worried about having enough money to put food on the table in the next year.
- Many Americans are unaware of how serious hunger is in their own communities.
The campaign launch also included Tyson’s commitment to donate 1 million pounds of high quality protein (boneless, skinless chicken breasts) to 37 food banks across the United States during the month of March. Each food bank received a full truckload, or about 29,000 pounds, of boneless chicken, enough to serve 116,000 meals per community.
In 2014, Tyson re-commissioned the research with FRAC to determine if attitudes toward hunger had changed over time. According to the new survey:
- Two out of five Americans have either experienced hunger in the past year or personally know someone who has — that includes nearly half of people aged 18 to 34.
- Nearly three in 10 Americans (and half of millennials) say that either they or a member of their immediate family have used government food assistance programs in the past couple of years. That includes at least 25 percent of nearly every major demographic subgroup.
- While the survey showed widespread awareness of hunger as a regional and national challenge, still only 24 percent of respondents believed it was a problem in their own communities.
About Hunger in America
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, more than 49 million Americans live in food-insecure households, meaning they lack access to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members.
Raising awareness of hunger is important. While nearly half of American adults say that hunger in the “United States at large” is a serious problem, only 24 percent of respondents in a national survey believed it was a problem in their own communities. Yet food insecurity affects every community in America.
 Coleman-Jensen, A., Gregory, C., & Singh, A. (2014). Household Food Security in the United States in 2013. USDA ERS.