A Souper Reason to Get Involved in Hunger–Feeding Folks in Austin


By Ed Nicholson

In August of 2008, we did our first social media engagement donation with the Capital Area Food Bank in Austin.  There weren’t many such efforts going on at that time (a lot since). It’s been cited as a case study several times, and since then, we’ve considered CAFB a great partner. As I’ve said many times, they are definitely among the best food banks at using social networking channels in reaching their stakeholders with the crystal-clear message, "HUNGER IS UNNACEPTABLE." 

Today we’re announcing a new effort!

For the next couple of weeks CAFB will be holding their Souper Bowl of Caring drive,  in conjunction with the largest youth-led food and fund  raising effort in the country.  In support of this event, for every comment you make to this blog post telling us you think hunger is unacceptable (if you want to add why, that would be even better), we’ll donate 100 pounds of food.   We’ll do the same if you post it to your own blog or if you send a Tweet with the hashtag #SBOCAustin.  We’ll keep donating up to a 35,000 pound truckload.

So come on. Support the fabulous work of the Capital Area Food Bank. Tell the world HUNGER IS UNACCEPTABLE.

Advocating for Hunger Relief

By Ed Nicholson

I’m continually impressed by the way the folks at Capital Area Food Bank of Texas communicate the issue of hunger.  E.D., David Davenport, along with Lisa Goddard, Kerri Qunell and the rest of the communications team are not just good adminstrators, fundraisers and communicators–they’re passionate about and authentically committed to the issue, and understand that in order for there to be sustainable progress in the fight against hunger, there will need to be informed and engaged stakeholders.

Their latest online project, Hunger is UNacceptable, does a tremendous job of putting a face on hunger. It’s hard-hitting, while remaining respectful of its subjects.  Compelling without being pitiful.  Great production with a ton of room to grow the concept.  It provides the opportunity to act, either by advocating, donating or volunteering, without coming across an unabashed vehicle created to promote that action. 

To use a popular phrase, it adds value.  Good job, folks.

Lift Up America–Bringing Communities Together

By Ed Nicholson



Austin athletes unload a truckload of food to agencies of CAFB


One of the most fulfilling things about being involved in hunger relief is the opportunity to work with some fantastic partners.  We’ve talked a lot about our friends at  Share Our Strength and Feeding America
But one group that doesn’t get mentioned as much is Lift Up America.  Founded in 2004, by the visionary Dave Hannah and other business leaders, Lift Up America is a coalition of influential business and sports leaders, brought together by a common goal of addressing some of society’s most pressing challenges. 
In 2005, Tyson Foods began our partnership with them with food donations in cooperation with the Kansas City Chiefs and the Miami Dolphins.
Each year since then, a growing number of professional and college athletic teams have lent their support and their players’ time to events in which food is donated to their local communities, but more important, awareness for the issue of hunger is elevated.  Last year, we did donations in fourteen cities across the country.
The people who comprise Lift Up America have solved some tremendous business challenges.  Very successfully. They’ve competed at the highest levels on the field and off.  It’s a tribute to them that they are now applying their strategic skills to challenges our world faces.  
Last week, I had the privelege of being in Austin, joining a burgeoning local chapter of Lift Up America, led by highly-successful businessman, Michael Cress, in making a donation to the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas (another fabulous partner). We were joined at Southpark Meadows, who generously supplied the venue,  by members of the Austin Toros and the Austin Aztex, along with notable athletes, such as former UT football standout Will Matthews and KC Chiefs linebacker, Derrick Johnson
CAFB CEO, David Davenport said it well.  "Addressing hunger is a community challenge."
Thanks to Lift Up America for bringing the Austin community together for this event. 

 More photos of this event can be seen here. 



Seven Hunger Relief Organizations Doing Good Social Media Stuff

By Ed Nicholson

One of our goals with this site is to be a positive force in helping bring the discussion of hunger online, creating awareness for the issue and those instrumental in the fight against hunger.
When we came to the issue nine years ago, we found a lively discussion already occurring among a passionate community of those involved in hunger relief.  
We believe there’s still enormous upside potential to bring that discussion online via social networking tools, and to expand the community of decidated hunger fighters well beyond where it is today.
Fortunately, there are some hunger relief communicators blazing the trail. They’re using the tools, and most importantly, they’re engaging in two-way conversations, not simply broadcasting their messages.   If you’re involved in the issue, these are people and groups you’ll probably want to follow, if you aren’t already.

Share Our Strength
Billy Shore, Founder and CEO of Share Our Strength, has always been a tremendous communicator.  Share Our Strength now has Jeff Wiedner doing an exemplary job of heading up online communications, using all of the  popular social networking tools, including a Twitter account   Facebook cause pages,   LinkedIna very nicely-done YouTube channel, and a Flickr account.   In addition to Jeff, who runs the organization’s Twitter account  Billy Shore, Eric Herboso, and Suzy Twohig also have Twitter accounts.

Feeding America
Feeding America has a very well-produced YouTube channel, a quickly-growing Twitter account and active Facebook  and MySpace  pages.  Feeding America’s existing large and active community, enhanced by strong corporate support ensures that pretty much any tool the organization adopts will rapidly gain an active following.

Capital Area Food Bank of Texas (Austin)
This organization was early to the game and remains a leader in their use of social media.  In addition to authoring for their blog, CEO, David Davenport; VP of Communications Kerri Qunell; Advocacy and Online Marketing Director, Lisa Goddard, and several others from the food bank engage regularly with stakeholders through a number of different channels, including Twitter and Facebook accounts.   YouTube, Facebook page, Flickr.   Definitely some best practices here.

Food Bank for New York City
A relatively new blog shows bright promise as the centerpiece of this leading food bank’s social media efforts (they’re showing true social media savvy by asking readers to help name their blog )  Additionally the food bank has a Facebook cause page, as well as a YouTube Channel and Twitter Account  Online Communications Manager Daniel Buckley does a good job of coordinating social media efforts and using the tools to engage.

North Texas Food Bank (Dallas)
Another great example of a Feeding America food bank using a variety of social networking tools, including a blog,  a Facebook page, a  MySpace page and a YouTube channel.   Mark Armstrong manages the food bank’s Twitter account.

Texas Food Bank Network
A coalition of Feeding America food banks in Texas, this organization runs an advocacy blog , as well as  a Twitter account . 

Community Cooperative Ministeries Incorporated
This Fort Myers, Florida agency is doing a great job of creating hyperlocal awareness, focused on challenges of hunger and poverty in their area. They have a Twitter account and are using new media tools, including  Pitch Engine’s social media news release service to create awareness of  their activities, as well as using vimeo to post online video. Their CEO, Sarah Owen (who guest-posted here last week), is also a Twitterer.  Take a look at their campaign designed to raise awareness of kids at risk of hunger over the weekends.

No doubt there are many other great social media efforts occuring among hunger organizations around the country. Let me know what’s going on in your community, and we’ll feature it here.  The goal is to connect.