Food Bank Workers Should Carry Guns

Food for thought.

Food for thought.

To break into the national consciousness anymore it seems you have to either shout something divisive or unearth a scintillating scandal.
Nothing chews up a month of news cycle like imaginary girlfriends, sports doping and apocalyptic gun-control debates.
Old standbys such as hunger and under nourishment don’t stand a chance.
Maybe if the hunger-relief community was advocating for packin’ heat rather than packin’ food baskets the profile of domestic food insecurity would be raised a smidge. Of course that’s ridiculous. And that’s the point.
The fact is 15 percent of Americans are food insecure, according to Feeding America. Food insecurity is a nickel term for hunger, and it basically means those affected routinely lack adequate access to nutritious food. Frequently, they choose between food and paying bills.
That’s one in six people. That means most likely someone you know is affected.
Gun control is of course a relevant and serious topic. Obviously, there’s no real intent here to blend hunger into that quarrel.
It’s safe to say however there will be those who would never have clicked on this post if it wasn’t for the misleading headline.
Despite the fact 74 percent of Feeding America’s food pantries report ongoing increases in the number of clients that come to them for help, it’s hard to cut through the daily clutter. Over-hyped issues – significant and trivial – smother out discussions on less-sexy fodder.
Hunger is simply not naughty or politically polarizing enough for the talk-format media heads to foam at the mouth over. It’s far easier to get lost in the distraction of Justin Bieber mooning a camera, the latest Kardashian kerfuffle or an all-out shouting match about nuances of the fiscal cliff.
There are other reasons, too.
There’s the stigma of being food insecure that causes many to be unwilling to speak. There’s also the chance many feel overwhelmed by the scope of the problem. Or, with so many organizations and dollars being thrown at the issue maybe the consensus is someone else will carry the load.
Meanwhile, more than 16 million of America’s hungry are children. With guaranteed federal budget belt-tightening on the way that number is apt to get higher.
In order to generate better engagement about the issue of hunger, we’re going to have to continue to find innovative ways to tell the story.
That should start with some transparency, a good dose of passion, and yes even a sprinkle of the creative if we are to be heard.

Monsanto, ADM and the fight against hunger. A good partnership?

Before I go further, let me state the following is my personal opinion, not necessarily that of Tyson Foods, or anyone else in the company.

I ran across a post on my Facebook news feed yesterday from Feeding America talking about their Invest an Acre partnership with Monsanto, ADM, and the Howard Buffett Foundation, in which they’re encouraging farmers to pledge an acre of their production, the benefits of which would go to Feeding America.
The comment section was lit up.  Massive flames.  The gist: Feeding America has sold out to the evil empire of Monsanto.  Shame on them.  Boycott.  Occupy.
Let me offer a different perspective (and I can speak with some authority):  Corporations are not monolithic empires.  The most successful ones—and no matter your opinion of Monsanto, it is successful, as is Feeding America—are made up of  diverse collections of people. They don’t all think and act alike. Each and every day their cultures evolve, influenced by this diversity.
The hunger relief community has the capacity to influence the culture within Monsanto (again, I speak with some authority).  Much more so than Monsanto has the capacity to influence Feeding America.   But they can’t do it if they’re lobbing nuclear bombs.
If you truly care about hunger relief, you should want the people who drove the Feeding America partnership (and I’ve never met any of them) to be successful within Monsanto.  They’re the progressive thinkers within the company.  They’ll have their naysayers (one would hope not many), stating, “This is an exercise in futility. There’s no way our company benefits from this.”  Let me suggest that blanket invective only gives support to the naysayers and diminishes the influence of those who advocate for positive change.  Do we want that?
If you truly care about hunger relief, you should want the thousands of farmers who use Monsanto products and sell to ADM to be engaged in the issue.  They’re in the business of feeding people, and they do it quite well.  If their energy, intelligence and innovation can be rallied around the issue of hunger, there’s enormous capacity to move the needle.
I don’t agree with everything Monsanto has done and stands for.  But I do believe condemning Feeding America for engaging them and America’s farmers in the fight against hunger—a positive step—is counterproductive.
Flame-retardant suit donned.

 

 

Share this message and help feed hungry people in Detroit.

We’ve upped the ante!  Now we’re going to donate 100 pounds of food for every share of this fact on your favorite social network!

Nearly half of those served by Gleaners Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan in Detroit are children and seniors.   Share this message on any of your social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Google+), and Tyson Foods will donate food to Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan in Detroit.   For each “share” between now and April 24, we’ll donate 100 pounds, up to a 35,000 pound truckload.

Gleaners, a Feeding America food bank, provides food to 100,000 people each week in Southeastern Michigan.

Share Your KNOWledge is a part of Tyson Foods’ KNOW Hunger campaign, which strives to help everyone understand the scope and nature of hunger in their community.  For this effort, we’ll be donating up to ten truckloads of food to deserving Feeding America food banks in April.
You can help any of the food banks below, simply by clicking and sharing their information.
Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, Orlando
Feeding America West Michigan, Comstock, MI
Houston Food Bank
City Harvest New York City
Food Bank for New York City
Capital Area Food Bank of Texas Austin
Los Angeles Regional Food Bank
Gleaners Community Food Bank, Detroit
Feeding America South Florida Miami

Our Hunger Action Month Initiative

We’re doing a little experiment this month.  As part of Hunger Action Month we’re using Facebook to ask the public to cast votes for food banks located in ten areas rated among the highest with food insecurity.  The three food banks earning the most votes will receive a 30,000 pound truckload of protein each. 

You can begin voting for your food bank of choice on today by going to the Tyson Foods’ Hunger Relief Facebook page:    The winning food banks will be announced shortly after the voting period ends on Sept. 30.

The social media initiative is part of the Tyson Foods’ sponsorship of Feeding America’s effort to encourage more people to become Advocacy Champions for hunger relief.  People who want to join the fight are asked to register with Feeding America’s Hunger Action Center . 

The ten food banks in the voting are:

Montgomery Area Food Bank, Inc.;   Montgomery, AL
Yuma Community Food Bank;    Yuma,AZ
Feeding the Valley Food Bank;    Columbus, GA
Second Harvest of South Georgia, Inc.;     Valdosta, GA
Food Bank of Northeast Louisiana;     Monroe, LA
Mississippi Food Network;     Jackson, MS
Mid-South Food Bank;     Memphis, TN
Food Bank of the Albemarle;     Elizabeth City, NC
Lowcountry Food Bank;     Charleston, SC
Central Virginia Food Bank;     Richmond, VA

There IS hunger in your community

The Tyson KNOW Hunger campaign, launched a couple of weeks ago, is based on our own experience–and a nationwide survey we conducted with FRAC–that indicates often people see hunger as a national problem, but not so much in their own communities.

This week Feeding America launched a phenomenal new tool to illustrate the face of hunger in the U.S.  Their Map the Meal Gap project, launched in partnership with the Howard Buffett Foundation and the Nielsen Company, is the result of a painstaking amount of data collection, channelled into an interactive tool that provides quick, easy access to levels of food insecurity and factors contributing to the challenges in every single county in the country.

I could describe it here, but you really should go there and look at it yourself.   See what’s happening in your state and your community.  Then share it with your friends and family.