Adversity on the Field

Prior to joining Tyson Foods, I had the privilege of working for a World Champion NFL team, so I have seen excellence on and off the field first-hand, alongside the hard work and preparation it takes to get there as a unit. So when I tell you that I could not be more PROUD to now work with my GREAT teammates at Tyson, it does not begin to explain how I feel about this organization – who we are and what we do to feed families.

In light of the recent chain of weather events that have unleashed mass destruction and impacted hundreds of lives across the South, how grateful I am to work for a company that not only is large enough to provide material resources, but that also has a genuine culture of caring for each other.

I am nothing short of AMAZED with our Team Members.

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to be “in the field” with our Meals that Matter disaster relief crew that included cook teams from our Clarksville, Dardanelle, Texarkana and Transportation locations (all from Arkansas) on a trip to Mayflower, AR. We set up shop at the local high school after a tornado struck the area, including neighboring town Vilonia, on Sunday, April 27, 2014.

“Surreal” is the only word to describe the experience of arriving to an area less than 24 hours after a natural disaster – from seeing properties that held the personal belongings of families for generations to the humbleness that flows through your veins in being able to offer a hot meal to those who are stranded – which is what our Dardanelle guys and myself did. While our Team Members at the high school dished out hundreds meals, we piled into a pick-up truck and went into the once-lively neighborhoods to deliver food and water to those that couldn’t make it to our site.

Team Members Dave and Mike helping deliver meals in Mayflower, AR.

Team Members Dave and Mike helping deliver meals in Mayflower, AR.

In the meantime, we have superstar Team Members who’ve rushed to the aid of those in Mississippi and other states impacted, doing what they can without pause.

My heart and prayers go out to all those affected by the storms.

You know that saying that goes, “I didn’t realize my own strength…” Our Team Members are exemplary models of going above and beyond in ways that we sometimes don’t realize are even possible.

Tyson Foods #MealsThatMatter Disaster Relief Teams Feed 64,000 in #Oklahoma

Tyson Foods volunteer employees have served 64,000 Meals That Matter® meals to residents and relief workers in Moore, Oklahoma, immediately following the devastating tornado of last week and continue to work alongside the American Red Cross, the National Guard, and others who are helping to rebuild Oklahoma.

5-31-Nashville team in Moore OK
On Wednesday, the team had already served about 6,000 meals before storms once again threatened the area.

“The weather has been challenging over the last 48 hours, and our teams have been battling through, but we must keep everyone safe,” says Community Relations Manager Jeff Wood.

Jeff and other employees are providing information updates and photos on our work in Moore.

Jeff said Thursday, that Tyson Foods’ relief efforts would likely begin winding down on June 3, as services in much of the town are now back up and running, people are going back to work, and many restaurants and other businesses are open.

“I was so proud of our employees, more than 16 complexes volunteered,” Jeff says. “We sent one request out to the plants, and they responded immediately. There are some teams that may not be dispatched, but they were just as valuable in our efforts, because they were ready and willing to go if needed. I can’t thank all of our employees enough.”

Olga–Need a reason to be inspired?

This is Olga.

Olga lost everything in Superstorm Sandy on Staten Island.   Everything.   Her house washed out to sea.  Yet for the past nine days, Olga has been coming to the Tyson Meals That Matter trailer and volunteering long hours to help the team make meals for storm victims and relief volunteers.

If you ever think you’re having a bad day, look at Olga.    If you ever start thinking highly of yourself because of how you give back, look at Olga.     If you ever need some inspiration, look at Olga.

Thanks, Olga.

Return to Joplin

A year ago this morning, after hearing of the devastation suffered by our neighbors in Joplin, folks from several nearby Tyson Foods locations arrived on the scene to offer whatever assistance we could provide.

The scene was stunning.  Chaotic. Confusing.  The tragedy has been well-documented. Tyson Team Members spent three weeks in Joplin, with up to six teams cooking and feeding anyone who might

Yesterday, many of the same Tyson people returned to Joplin for their Unity Celebration, commemorating the one-year anniversary of the tornado.  Obviously, a much happier occasion, the event underscored the grit and positive spirit of the people of this Missouri town. While the town will bear the scars of the disaster for a long time–the loss of life and massive property damage–it’s very clear the people of Joplin are fiercely determined to bounce back a better community than ever.  Homes, schools and businesses have arisen from total devastation, with more coming up every day.

Last year’s disaster in Joplin provided part of the inspiration for our new Meals That Matter disaster response trailer.  It was an honor and a privilege to be able to roll it into Joplin for such an inspring event.

Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi–Help Coming Your Way

by Ed Nicholson

We’ve been getting a lot of information from our partners at Feeding America  and the food banks we work with regularly about the need in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi—areas hit by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike.  The need is not only in areas directly affected, where a lot of relief work is going on, but also inland, where caring for evacuees put strains on the food banks and relief agencies.  This is all on top of a system already strained by the economy—rising fuel prices, layoffs, rising food prices. 

Hunger and disaster relief is core to what we do. It’s our primary philanthropic focus. So, we’re blessed to be able to use some of what we have—some of what our 100,000 team members produce—to meet the need that’s there. 

Today, we did an event in northwest Arkansas to send off some representatives of 26 truckloads of food going to the disaster-affected states. There will be at least one truckload going to each of the eighteen Feeding America food bank members in Texas, the five in Louisiana, and the three serving Mississippi.

A special shout out to the Tyson warehouse and transportation departments: the distribution planners, the drivers, the dispatchers, the warehouse managers, and the drivers who get this food on the road and to the people who need it.  They’re always there when we call them and ask them to move product quickly.  

Finally, extra special kudos to Tyson team member Sherri Austin, who moved mountains to put the orders for these trucks in in record time.

We’re continually awestruck, humbled by, and grateful to the people in hunger relief organizations throughout the country who work hard every day to take care of those in need.



A convoy of 16 Tyson trucks headed to Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi