It’s Friday–Pledge for the kids going hungry this weekend

We’ve been focusing this space during the last few Fridays on talking about kids who depend on school lunch programs for their primary nutrition. Many of these children are in dire risk of going hungry from Friday lunch until Monday. 

This week, we’ve been recruited to be part of an exciting effort, focused on South by Southwest, the Pledge to End Hunger, which benefits our great friends Share Our Strength, as well as four Feeding America food banks.

One of those food banks, with which we’ve had the distinct honor of working closely in the past year is the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas. There’s an excellent little piece about one of their childhood feeding programs, Kids Cafe, at the Pledge to End Hunger site.


Each Friday, hundreds of thousands of kids across America eat their last good meal until Monday.  But thanks to programs like these at the CAFB, those numbers are being reduced.

Go sign the Pledge to End Hunger. It’s a great cause. And while you’re online, go follow CAFBers, David Davenport, Lisa Goddard, Kerri Qunell and all these guys here on Twitter.




A food bank CEO’s perspective–why you should care about hunger


by Ed Nicholson

I was fortunate enough to be able to travel to Austin on Monday for the Tyson portion of the HAM-up Tweetup.  What an inspiring community, full of energetic, passionate folks. Big thanks to all of the friends we made at Social Media Club Austin and 501 Tech Club Austin.  It was a sincere pleasure meeting Mike Chapman, but we particularly want to thank David Neff of the American Cancer Society, who brought us to the event–be sure and visit his online space, a great example of social media put to good work.  Thanks to the staff of the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas, particularly Lisa Goddard and Kerri Qunell.  The video above is an interview with the President and CEO of the food bank, David Davenport.  (I stuck him out in the bright sunlight, so blame the producer for that…but what he said was great) I can tell you, the house really is rockin’ down in Austin.

For those of you in Austin, there are some exciting activities planned for the HAM-up this week, so don’t miss your opportunity to see a world class food bank in action. 


A good reason to be in (go to) Austin

Our friends at the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas, and their partners Social Media Club Austin and 501Tech Club have finalized details on events for the great HAMup Tweetup.   You can get full details at ,but briefly, here’s how it will happen.

Thursday, September 11, there will be a kickoff at Whole Foods Market at 525 Lamar at 5:30, featuring food and live music.  

Saturday, Septmber 13,  events at the food bank will include a product recovery volunteer effort, a "drive through" food drive, and tours of the warehouse.  Go get an inside view of how this great food bank works to alleviate  hunger in the central Texas area.

On Monday, September 8, Tyson will be delivering the truckload of food that YOU made happen through your comments to this post.   Stay tuned for more information about how the 250 comments we got in addition to the needed 350 for the truckload, are going to make an added difference. 

Details about the HAMup here.





Ed Nicholson

We’ve now received more than 630 comments to our blog entry this morning about hunger in Austin and the work of the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas.

This was just phenomenal, with the 350 comments needed to fill the truck coming in less than six hours.  A big THANK YOU to everyone who made this happen:  Everyone who commented, and especially all who ReTweeted the original Twitter messages. This was really the power of social media put to work effectively. We’re humbled, amazed and awed at the community that made this occur. 

Based on the responses we received, we will  be doing more with the Food Bank and–if they want–with Social Media Club Austin and 501 Tech Club of Austin.   Stay tuned. Meanwhile, if you’re in the Austin area (and you guys are truly awesome)  please support the HAM-up Tweet-up to benefit CAFB. 

There were a lot of great comments made, and some very interesting questions raised, and some good suggestions that should provide more opportunity for discussion here.

We invite you to continue to be part of the discussion on hunger by subscribing to this site, that of the CAFB, or any of the other links you might see here.



Hunger in Austin–Something you can do to help

Information from the website of the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas

Did you know

Making Ends Meet  

  • 76% of households receiving assistance from CAFB Partner Agencies report incomes below the federal poverty level. (Source: Hunger in America 2006: Central Texas Report, in association with America’s Second Harvest)
  • 106,930 (12.6%) of Travis County individuals live below the Federal poverty level ($18,850 for a family of four). (Source: Austin Community Survey, 2004)
  • The annual income needed for a Travis County family of four without employee sponsored health insurance to "afford" to live in the Austin area is $53,080. That’s 257% above the Federal poverty level. (Source:, The Family Budget Estimator Project)
  • Austin continues to have the highest cost of living in the state of Texas, exceeding housing costs in Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Fort Worth.
    Those Served are Younger
  • While the child poverty rate in Texas is 23.2%, for the CAFB service area, 35% of the household members receiving food are children. (Source: Hunger in America 2006: Central Texas Report, in association with America’s Second Harvest)
  • While 12.4% of Texans in poverty are elderly, only 7% of households receiving food through CAFB are elderly. (Source: Hunger in America 2006: Central Texas Report, in association with America’s Second Harvest

Working Poor

  • Approximately 200,000, or 20%, of Travis County residents are classified as "working poor" by the Texas Department of Human Services.  (Source: Basic Needs Coalition, 2005)
  • Between 2000 and 2003, the number of households in Travis County increased by 23,274, the majority of which (21,822 households) fell in the lowest three income brackets having an annual income of $24,999 or less.
    Who’s Serving Our Hungry?
  • Of Food Bank Partner Agencies, 71% of pantries and 37% of the soup kitchens are run by faith-based agencies.
  • 59% of Partner Agency pantries and 12% of soup kitchens are entirely volunteer run with no paid staff.
  • CAFB is by far the most important source of food for its Partner Agencies, accounting for 76% of food for pantries and 38% for soup kitchens.
    (Source: Hunger in America 2006: Central Texas Report, in association with America’s Second Harvest)


No matter where you are, the statistics about hunger in your own community are just as compelling.

Find out how you can be a part of the great work of the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas and their mission of ending hunger in central Texas by visiting their site.  

Here’s something you can do today:  For every comment this post receives indicating it has been read, Tyson Foods will donate 100 pounds of food (up to a 35K pound truckload) to the HAM-up (Tweetup), sponsored by the Food Bank, Social Media Club Austin and 501 Tech Club Austin.  Help us fill the truck.  Comment here (even one-word comments acceptable–BTW, since our comments are moderated, it might take a bit to get them up, but I WILL get them up).

 UPDATE–The response from the online community has been awesome. From your response, we were able to fill the truck in less than six hours.  THANKS!!!!