Big Hearts, Big Minds Come Together to Discuss Hunger Solutions

 

 

Participants in the WeCanEndThis Cause Lab

By Ed Nicholson
On Monday, I had the privilege of sitting in on the first WeCanEndThis Cause Lab, a day-long think tank at the annual South by Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin, focused on arriving at new solutions to the problem of hunger in the U.S.   Big vision guy, Scott Henderson conceived the event, and assembled it with with CauseShift partners Anne Bertelsen and Brian Reich, along with an all-star cast of non-profit and corporate partners (full-disclosure: Tyson Foods was a partner).

Altogether, the event drew a couple hundred participants throughout the day: a diverse bunch that included not only professional hunger fighters, but social good advocates from outside the cause, and socially-minded techsters.  A full overview of who, what and how can be found at WeCanEndThis.com so I won’t go into detail here.  Go check it out; it was a very interesting day.

Here’s why I think the event was a worthwhile investment of all of the participants’ time and resources:

  • If hunger is to be "solved,"  (and I think all of us in the game hold great hope that’s something that can occur), it won’t happen because one organization makes it happen.  And it won’t happen if all of us keep a singleminded focus on our own  organizational objectives (as worthy as they might be).   It’s going to take a collaborative effort among every single person and group now out there working on the cause.  It’s going to take competitors working together.  That happened here,  with Share Our Strength and Feeding America coming to the table, as well as Tyson and ConAgra, and others in the  consulting, tech and social services sectors who might otherwise compete for resources or share of mind. I think a lot of smart people have come to that realization, and you’re beginning to see more collaboration than ever before.
  • The solution (or more likely, solutions) to hunger won’t come solely from those currently leading the fight. It’s going to take more people; intelligent, innovative people; people totally unencumbered by a "been there, done that, won’t work" mindset.  It’s going to take more and more people who, in studying the problem, arrive at the gut check that hunger is in every community, and in some way, affects every single one of us.  In this one place, on this one day, I hope there were some new converts, who will stay involved as WeCanEndThis embarks upon the rest of a year-long noble experiment.

 

You Filled A Truck For the Food Bank For New York City!

Thanks to all who commented on this entry about hunger in New York City and the work of the Food Bank for New York City . We now have more than 350 blog comments, meaning a truckload (approximately 35,000 lbs.)  of Tyson products will be delivered to the food bank sometime in the next couple of weeks. 

Meanwhile, please stay involved in the fight against hunger. New Yorkers can find out more by contacting the Food Bank for New York City.  If you’re somewhere else,  Feeding America has a handy food bank finder tool on its site that will connect you with one of its 200 member food banks across the U.S.

Thanks again.  It’s your engagement that makes this kind of effort possible.  And it will be your passion and compassion that make it possible for us to consider a day when the fight against hunger will be won.

 

Boston Donation Arrives

 

 

Donation Arriving at the Greater Boston Food Bank

 

We got word from our friends at the Greater Boston Food Bank that the second of two truckloads of product generated by the comment-for-food effort in Boston arrived safely at the food bank yesterday.

Thanks to Beth Kanter for connecting us with Bob Collins and the folks from Boston’s Social Media Breakfast. Thanks, Beth, for all you do to educate people on the use of social media for social good.  

Thanks to all of you who took the time to comment.  Please continue to get involved with hunger relief.

And most of all, thanks to the hard workers at the Greater Boston Food bank and all in our world who devote their lives to feeding those in need.  Happy New Year to you, and may the blessings you bestow on others be doubled back upon you in 2009. 

 

Thanks from the hungry of Boston

By Ed Nicholson

Thanks to the efforts of people who came to this site and commented, two truckloads of food are to be donated to the Greater Boston Food Bank.  This happened in less than 4 hours.

Again, a big thanks to Beth Kanter for getting us involved in this effort. Beth’s responsible for teaching so many (present company included) about using social media for social good. 

Thanks also to Bob Collins and Boston’s Social Media Breakfast.  Should anyone doubt the incredibly powerful community among you, point them to this effort.

Hunger in Eastern Massachusetts–And How You Can Help

Hunger is a silent epidemic. 
Each year, more than 320,000 people seek food assistance in eastern Massachusetts alone.  They are the most vulnerable among us:  children and seniors.  They are people we know: our friends, neighbors, and colleagues.  They live in each and every one of our communities, and are quietly seeking help from the more than 600 member hunger-relief agencies in the nine counties and 190 cities and towns of eastern Massachusetts that receive food from The Greater Boston Food Bank.  

 

 

 

Hunger is a growing problem.
This fall, The Food Bank conducted a survey of some of its member food pantries and soup kitchens to assess the need for emergency food assistance in eastern Massachusetts. The survey revealed disquieting results, showing that the region’s hunger-relief organizations are struggling with the burdens of increased client loads and fewer food and monetary donations, among other challenges.  About 90 percent of the agencies have seen demand for food increase since September 2007, 60 percent of those saw demand increase 10 percent to 30 percent, and another 15 percent saw demand rise by up to 40 percent.

 

Hunger is solvable. 
There is more than enough food available, and The Food Bank is the critical link between those who have food to give and those who need it most.  More than 83,000 people benefit from the stable supply of nutritious food that The Food Bank distributes each and every week. 

Everyone has a role in ending hunger. 
All that The Food Bank does depends on the combined support of compassionate financial contributors, food donors, and more than 16,000 volunteers.   You can help today!   For every comment this post receives indicating it has been read, Tyson Foods, in partnership with Boston’s Social Media Breakfast, organized by Bob Collins of  SHIFT Communications,  will donate 100 pounds of food (up to a truckload full with 35,000 pounds) to The Greater Boston Food Bank.  Help fill the truck.  Comment here (even one-word comments are acceptable – BTW, since the comments are moderated, it might take a bit to get them up, but the comments WILL be posted). 

UPDATE:  The first truck was filled in less than two hours.  We’ve added another truck to the mix (probably can’t do more than that this time).  But if you continue to comment, we’ll donate up to two truckloads of food)

For more information about other ways you can become involved in the fight to end hunger, please visit www.gbfb.org or www.newfoodbank.org
 

Thanks to Beth Kanter and Bob Collins for bringing Tyson Foods into this effort.

 UPDATE #2.  The 2nd truck is full. Wish we could do more, but we need to help some other food banks around the country, too.  Thanks to all who read this post. Now go out and help your local food bank. In the Boston area, go to the Greater Boston Food Bank, or elsewhere around the U.S., visit Feeding America.