The most digitally-connected hunger conference I’ve ever attended

Amanda Hite--photo courtesy of No Kid Hungry

Amanda Hite–photo courtesy of No Kid Hungry

When I went to my first Share our Strength Conference of Leaders in the fall of 2000, I was amazed by the vibrant, passionate community of people the organization had put together to address the issue of hunger.

As a relatively early adopter of social media around 2006, I  became really excited about the idea of that community bringing that energy, enthusiasm and spirited conversation online.  I waxed enthusiastically in blog posts here.

We brought the incredible Beth Kanter to the Conference of Leaders in 2008, to try to jump start the social media discussion. Maybe a bit before its time.  John Haydon came in the following year. Another great presentation, but still the online community was limited to a few of us.  Amanda Hite led the social media discussion in 2011, after which she was part of a great group of folks who created the No Kid Hungry Social  Council.

As a result of all the hard work that group has done, this year’s conference last week, was the very first major hunger gathering I’ve attended, where social media happened right. It happened mostly on Twitter.  Two large screens ran the Twitter feed in the plenary sessions. Amanda kicked it off with another great session.  Events saw tremendous traffic with #nokidhungry trending on Twitter at one point. People recognized great content.  High-profile attendees like The Food Network’s Ted Allen and Marc Murphy, and WNBA star Ruth Riley interacted online with attendees. People shared!!!!   The community truly came together.  Now it’s time to keep that momentum going.

Online communities thrive because of real-life  connections. We can have stimulating, compelling online conversations. We can share with each other; educate each other. But the real bonding occurs when we finally see each other face-to-face.  Sometimes it occurs the other way around:  We meet each other at an event, and that initial meeting can set up an online conversation that evolves into genuine friendship.  A lot of both occurred at this year’s conference.

Kudos to No Kid Hungry Online Community Director, Clay Dunn, Amanda Hite, and the No Kid Hungry Social Council and all of the folks who’ve been working to energize and connect the online tribe.  I believe you’ve done it. You’ve set the bar for every hunger organization that might want to mobilize stakeholders online.

One more thing:  the No Kid Hungry folks have put together two cool apps to further the cause:  Their No Kid Hungry app, which integrates gamification to engage people in various program activities.  And an app that features recipes from their Cooking Matters program (Tyson Foods is donating $1 for each of the first 5000 downloads of this app, so get on in to the iTunes Store and check it out).
BTW–Big shoutout to early adopters in this community, like Michael Farver, Bill Shore, Tim Cipriano Joni Doolin (and others whom I’ve no doubt omitted, but can be seen on this Twitter list of hunger advocates we’ve been putting together for the past few years).

Connections

I’ve been two days in anti-hunger conferences in DC: Saturday at the National Hunger Free Communities Summit sponsored by the Alliance to End Hunger, and Sunday at the FRAC/Feeding America National Anti-Hunger Policy Conference.

I love coming to these things, not just because they’re engergizing and educational, but also because they generate connections, many of which turn into steadfast friendships. The discussion is stimulating, informed and passionate. It’s the kind of interaction that should be occuring among the issue’s most serious advocates every single day. You know, there’s technology now that allows that kind of thing.

Three years ago, all full of (perhaps naive) enthusiasm for the community-building potential of social media tools, I posed the question in this blog post, “Where’s the online discussion about hunger,” generally assuming that somewhere people were carrying on these discussions in online communities. At the time I was personally connected to online communities talking about about PR, social media, even guitar collecting (a personal hobby). So I assumed as smart and talkative as this hunger bunch was, they’d be gathering online somewhere. They weren’t. And that’s a shame.

Because this is a tremendous community. We should be connected. And I’m glad to say that in the past year or so, there have been some great strides made. Lots of passionate hunger fighters like Tim Cipriano  from New Haven, Lisa Sherrill from the Bay Area, ConAgra’s Steff Childs, and the folks Share Our Strength  (just to name a few) are connected with each other. Retweeting. Commenting. Sharing Content. Supporting the COMMUNITY, not just using the channels to push spam messages out.

I attended the social media session at the Hunger Policy Conference and was it was really cool to see that there’s a real interest in knowing how to use these online tools. Many out there already in the game, just looking for ways to do it better.

Can I make one suggestion: Let’s support each other. I may not be able to use my bandwidth to talk about your foodbank’s Saturday night event or things that basically have local interest. But if you have a story to tell; if you want to editorialize on one of the big issues; if you have a best practice that might be of interest to you peers around the country; by all means email me, @ me or send me a Facebook message. I’ll do my best to use the channels I have to get you heard.

Let’s connect.

photo: Flickr Creative Commons by Acustance

Hunger Twitterers

Twitter

We started this Twitter list almost three years ago with names of people who have been active (online or offline) in the discussion of hunger. Since then it’s grown as more and more people and organizations find Twitter a valid way to bring the community online.   From time to time, I’ll re-tweet the URL to this post. If you’d like your name added to this list, comment here with your Twittername, send Twitter reply to  @TysonFoods, or email me at ed.nicholson@Tyson dot com   I probably won’t add you unless you ask me, so if you want to be added (some folks would prefer their names not be on the list), just ask!

There’s also a comprehensive hunger twitterers list at http://twitter.com/TysonFoods/hunger-communityh to  which you can subscribe with one click.

Now. You all go follow each other and talk amongst yourselves.

http://twitter.com/sharestrength  SOS primary account
http://twitter.com/FeedingAmerica  Feeding America
http://twitter.com/billshore Billy Shore, founder of Share Our Strength
http://twitter.com/dpmichel Dan Michel–social media for Feeding America
http://twitter.com/ellendamaschino Ellen Damaschino SOS OFL Hall of Fame Chef and blogger
http://twitter.com/hungeractions Take Action on Hunger
http://twitter.com/rockforhunger  Rock for Hunger
http://twitter.com/FTWM Feed Them With Music
http://twitter.com/Ddavenport  David Davenport
http://twitter.com/lisa_goddard    Lisa Goddard, Online Marketing Director, CAFB
http://twitter.com/Karlacantu  Karla Cantu, Senior Director of Agency Relations, CAFB
http://twitter.com/kimberwillis Kim Willis, Communications Manager, CAFB
http://twitter.com/molls2009 Molly Robbins, Community Events Manager, CAFB
http://twitter.com/pastelmagick   Emily Babb, Donor Services Manager, CAFB
http://twitter.com/jelyon John Lyon, Faith-Based Capacity Building-VISTA, CAFB
http://twitter.com/jcdwyer JC Dwyer, Texas Food Bank Network, Statewide Advocacy Director,
http://twitter.com/clarknwark Michael Clark, Mitchell Communications
http://elisemitch  Elise Mitchell, Mitchell Communications
http://twitter.com/EricaBenavides San Antonio Food Bank Community Relations Manager
http://twitter.com/EndChildHunger  Michael Farver
http://twitter.com/susanapics Susan Adcock Photoblogger
http://twitter.com/ederdn Ed Nicholson, personal account
http://twitter.com/azganjar   A. Zganjar, Share Our Strength
http://twitter.com/SuzyTwohig Suzy Twohig, Share Our Strength
http://twitter.com/TSARedKettle The Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign
http://twitter.com/teamlivefeed Tom Robinson, Live Feed (Music for hunger relief, St. Louis)
http://twitter.com/FriendsofWFP Friends of the World Food Program
http://twitter.com/cookingwithamy Cooking With Amy– Hunger Challenge Blogger
http://twitter.com/egratto Genie Gratto– Hunger Challenge Blogger
http://twitter.com/marianiles Maria Niles–Hunger Challenge Blogger
http://twitter.com/TexansVsHunger  Texas Food Bank Network
http://twitter.com/whatscooking  Michelle Stern
http://twitter.com/foodbankccs Food Bank of ContraCosta and Solano Counties
http://twitter.com/pdxmission Portland Rescue Mission, Portland, Oregon
http://twitter.com/ftmyerssoupktch Judy–Ft. Myers Soup Kitchen
http://twitter.com/aafb  Association of Arizona Food Banks
http://twitter.com/new_community  New Community Mobile Food Pantry, Naperville, IL
http://twitter.com/markarnoldy Mark Arnoldy-focuses on international malnutrition
http://twitter.com/SchoolLunch Healthful meals & nutrition education for children
http://twitter.com/suzannenlee Suzanne Lee, Dir. of Communications & Mktg.   Care & Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado
http://twitter.com/Deca_Dietician  DeCA Dietician Ft. Lee, VA
http://twitter.com/homewatchnwa Homewatch Northwest Arkansas
http://twitter.com/CWS_Crop    Church World Service
http://twitter.com/GPCAH Greater Philadephia Coalition Against Hunger
http://twitter.com/SecondHelpings  Second Helpings, Indianapolis   
http://twitter.com/miriamskitchen Miriam’s Kitchen–serving homeless in DC
http://twitter.com/BreadfortheCity Bread for the City, Washington, DC
http://twitter.com/enklings   Tim Blair, hunger activist
http://twitter.com/poppypembroke Poppy Pembroke Communications Mgr.,Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties
http://twitter.com/heifer  Heifer International
http://twitter.com/heiferportland  Heifer Portland
http://twitter.com/kidsfoodbasket  Kids Food Basket.  Grand Rapids, Michigan
http://twitter.com/BreadHolly Holly Hight–Bread for the World
http://twitter.com/hungerthon  WHY  whyhunger.org
http://twitter.com/fighthunger  World Food Programme
http://twitter.com/WorldFoodPrize World Food Prize
http://twitter.com/StopHunger MAZON–hunger relief organization 
http://twitter.com/EndChildHunger  End Child Hunger, Michael Farver
http://twitter.com/firstthebasics First the Basics (helping people find hot meals)
http://twitter.com/URMission Union Rescue Mission, Little Rock
http://twitter.com/walkforhunger  Kristin–Project Bread–The Walk for Hunger
http://twitter.com/phxmission Phoenix Rescue Mission 
http://twitter.com/creativelyme Sarah Hall
http://twitter.com/FeedINsHungry Emily Bryant
http://twitter.com/WalkandKnock Mary Chant  Walk and Knock-annual food drive
http://twitter.com/swong7   Stacy Wong , Greater Boston Food Bank
http://twitter.com/HandsOnHartford    Hands on Hartford
http://twitter.com/ChicagoShares Chicago Shares
http://twitter.com/localfooddude Timothy Cipriano, New Haven School Systems and Local Food Dude
http://twitter.com/MOWFeedMore Meals on Wheels Serving Central Virginia
http://twitter.com/AJoyFULLHoliday A  Joyfull Holiday 
http://twitter.com/dipaolamomma Lara DiPaola
http://twitter.com/1millionmeals Jeffrey Strain, Penny Experiment
http://twitter.com/foodhunger  The Volunteer Way
http://twitter.com/Harvest4Hunger Harvest for Hunger
http://twitter.com/pghfoodbank Pittsburgh Food Bank
http://twitter.com/breadjennifer Jennifer Stapleton, Bread for the World
http://twitter.com/bread4theworld Bread for the World
http://twitter.com/CCSTB  Community Center of St. Bernard
http://twitter.com/thelastshow The Last Show–Karen
http://twitter.com/rjtbaum   Robert J. Teitelbaum
http://www.twitter.com/dinnergarden  The Dinner Garden
http://twitter.com/HartfordFoodSys Hartford Food System
http://twitter.com/2harvest Second Harvest Heartland
http://twitter.com/2harvestCFL Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, Orlando
http://twitter.com/2ndharvest  2nd Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara & San Mateo Counties
http://twitter.com/ACFB Atlanta Community Food Bank
http://twitter.com/arfoodbank   Arkansas Foodbank Network
http://twitter.com/BayAreaFoodBank Bay Area Food Bank
http://twitter.com/brfoodbank    Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank
http://twitter.com/CAFB Capital Area Food Bank of Texas, Inc.
http://twitter.com/CareandShareFB  Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado
http://twitter.com/CentralILFoodbk   Central IL Foodbank
http://twitter.com/centralpafb Central Pennsylvania Food Bank
http://twitter.com/CFBFresno  Community Food Bank, Fresno, CA
http://twitter.com/chattfood Chattanooga Area Food Bank
http://twitter.com/CityHarvest   City Harvest   New York,NY
http://twitter.com/CleveFoodbank Cleveland Foodbank, Inc.
http://twitter.com/CommFoodBankNJ Community Food Bank of New Jersey
http://twitter.com/CTFoodBank Connecticut Food Bank
http://twitter.com/CVFBFeedMore Central Virginia Foodbank, Inc.
http://twitter.com/FeedingSFL,  Feeding South Florida, Miami
http://twitter.com/eifoodbank Eastern Illinois Foodbank, Urbana
http://twitter.com/FeedAmericaWI America’s Second Harvest of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
http://twitter.com/feedingwestmich Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank
http://twitter.com/FoodBank4NYC Food Bank For New York City
http://twitter.com/foodbankccs Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano
http://twitter.com/FoodBankCENC Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina, Raleigh
http://twitter.com/FoodBankNENY Regional Food Bank Northeastern New York
http://twitter.com/FoodBankofCC Food Bank of Corpus Christi
http://twitter.com/FoodBankofDE Food Bank of Delaware, Newark
http://twitter.com/foodbankrgv Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley, Inc.
http://twitter.com/foodbankrockies Food Bank of the Rockies, Denver
http://twitter.com/FoodbankSBC Foodbank of Santa Barbara County
http://twitter.com/foodbanksj       Food Bank of South Jersey
http://twitter.com/FoodBankSTier Food Bank of the Southern Tier, Elmira, NY
http://twitter.com/FoodBkNIndiana Food Bank of Northern Indiana
http://twitter.com/FoodDepository Greater Chicago Food Depository
http://twitter.com/FoodLinkNY   Foodlink Food Bank, Rochester, NY
http://twitter.com/FoodShuttle Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, Raleigh, NC
http://twitter.com/FreestoreFB Freestore FoodBank, Cincinnati
http://twitter.com/Gleaners Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan
http://twitter.com/GleanersFBIndy Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana, Inc.
http://twitter.com/Gr8BosFoodBank The Greater Boston Food Bank
http://twitter.com/growthefoodbank Capital Area Food Bank, DC
http://twitter.com/HarvestersORG Harvesters – The Community Food Network, Kansas City
http://twitter.com/HoustonFoodBank Houston Food Bank
http://twitter.com/hpfoodbank High Plains Food Bank, Amarillo
http://twitter.com/lafoodbank Los Angeles Regional Foodbank
http://twitter.com/LCFBFoodFIght Lowcountry Food Bank, Charleston, SC
http://twitter.com/MANNAFoodBank MANNA FoodBank, Ashville NC
http://twitter.com/mfbn Montana Food Bank Network
http://twitter.com/Mid_OHFoodbank Mid-Ohio FoodBank
http://twitter.com/missingmeals  Second Harvest Heartland
http://twitter.com/NEILB Northern Illinois Food Bank
http://twitter.com/NNFoodBank Food Bank of Northern Nevada
http://twitter.com/northernlakesfb Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank
http://twitter.com/ntfb North Texas Food Bank
http://twitter.com/nwncfoodbank   Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina
http://twitter.com/onecanonedollar  Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina
http://twitter.com/OreFoodBankFA Oregon Food Bank
http://twitter.com/ozksfoodharvest Ozarks Food Harvest, Springfield, MO
http://twitter.com/PghFoodBank Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank
http://twitter.com/refb Redwood Empire Food Bank, Santa Rosa, CA
http://twitter.com/rfbo Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma (OKC)
http://twitter.com/RIFoodBank Rhode Island Community Food Bank, Providence
http://twitter.com/safoodbank San Antonio Food Bank
http://twitter.com/SecondHarvestOH   Second Harvest Ohio
http://twitter.com/semofoodbank  Southeast Missouri Food Bank
http://twitter.com/sffoodbank San Francisco Food Bank
http://twitter.com/SHFBofMidTN Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee
http://twitter.com/SoTxFoodBank South Texas Food Bank, Laredo
http://twitter.com/SPFB South Plains Food Bank, Lubbock
http://twitter.com/stlfoodbank St. Louis Area Foodbank
http://twitter.com/StMarysFoodBank St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance, Phoenix
http://twitter.com/TAFoodbank Tarrant Area Food Bank, Ft. Worth
http://twitter.com/threesquareLV Three Square Food Bank, Las Vegas
http://twitter.com/UnitedFoodBank United Food Bank, Mesa AZ
http://twitter.com/utahfoodbank Utah Food Bank Services, Salt Lake City
http://twitter.com/VermontFoodbank Vermont Foodbank, Inc., South Barre
http://twitter.com/WeldFoodBank Weld Food Bank, Greeley, CO
http://twitter.com/WestOhioFB West Ohio Food Bank
http://twitter.com/culinarschmooze Culinary Schmooze
http://twitter.com/schoolsserve The National School Food Drive
http://twitter.com/famtofamily Family to Family
http://twitter.com/AggregateND   The Online Carpool for Produce
http://twitter.com/FoodBanking Global FoodBanking Network
http://twitter.com/IowaFBA Iowa Food Bank Association
http://twitter.com/northernlakesfb  Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank, Duluth
http://twitter.com/FeedingMaine  Good Shepherd Food Bank, Maine
http://twitter.com/KimDoyleWille  Kim Doyle Wille 
http://twitter.com/MarlitaH  Marlita H
http://twitter.com/angelfrmcanada  Robin and Craig
http://twitter.com/MargaretChoSac  Jeffrey Goldade
http://www.twitter.com/gransome Gary Ransome
http://www.twitter.com/breadrobin Robin Stephenson, Bread for the World
https://twitter.com/communityserv  Community Servings, Massachusetts
https://twitter.com/novusint  Jeremy Lutgen,  Novis International
https://twitter.com/HeresLife  Here’s Life Inner City
https://twitter.com/paladinette  Paladinette
https://twitter.com/MetroCareRing Metro CareRing, Denver
http://twitter.com/aarpwi  AARP Wisconsin
http://twitter.com/onelessmeal  One Less Meal–Double D Diner
Twitter Lists–Hunger Relief (one click following)
http://twitter.com/sharestrength/lists Share Our Strength (@ShareStrength) is doing a wonderful job of categorizing and

listing its stakeholders involved in hunger relief on the Twitter List tool. 
http://twitter.com/TysonFoods/hunger-communityh

Where’s the best online discussion of hunger

 

 

By Ed Nicholson

Shortly after we started this blog in 2007, I posed the question, "Where’s the Online Discussion of Hunger?"   At the time, there simply wasn’t much of a discussion occurring.

Pretty much the same when I asked the question again in May of 2009.

I still hold firmly to the belief that among the greatest potential benefits of social networking tools are their capabilities to build community and host online discourse.  And I’m now hopeful that is  occurring. 

More and more hunger organizations, some of which are listed below,  are using online channels to engage new stakeholders in the issue.    While some still cling tightly to the "broadcast the message" mentality, many are out there opening up two-way communications, stimulating, hosting and participating in discussions about how the problem of hunger is going to be solved.  These discussions occur offline.  Why can’t they be just as vibrant online?

Below are some places you’ll see thought-provoking content, with comment features enabled.  Where are some more?   Please comment.  I’ll be glad to add them to the "Helpful Links" on the righthand side of the page here. 

 

Share Our Strength Blog–In my opinion, Share Our Strength does absolutely the best job of all the national hunger relief organizations in using social networking tools–almost of of them–to engage stakeholders, not simply broadcast messages

Capital Area Food Bank Blog–Early to the game, and still one of the best social media communications programs of all the food banks.

Other food banks with good blogs     

North Texas Food Bank

Food Bank For New York City

Texas Food Bank Network

Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida

 

Here’s an interesting Facebook group, with some discussion starting to happen:   Food ThINC–Think About Feeding 9 Billion People

  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Hunger-Solutions/141466027063?ref=ts A Statewide partnershp fighting Hunger in Minnesota–Facebook group.

 

Next time: What’s a happening on Twitter. 

 

from a comment from Jon:

http://nyccoalitionagainsthunger.wordpress.com/ – Joel Berg and the folks at NYCCAH are worth reading and discussing

http://breadforthecity.blogspot.com/ – the folks from Bread for the City in DC run a great blog

FRAC also has a newish blog focused on the pledge to end childhood hunger by 2015: http://frac.org/blog/ 

Hunger isn’t their target issue but as we can all testify hunger is an issue with a lot of streams flowing into it so I always recommend Parke Wilde and the folks from Tufts’s food policy blog: http://usfoodpolicy.blogspot.com/

Along those same lines, but even broader and more diverse, I’d also recommend following Change.Org’s Poverty in America blog: http://uspoverty.change.org/

As We’re Thankful

Many of us will join family and friends for a big meal tomorrow. Certainly most will be thankful for blessings received throughout the year.

Many won’t have that luxury. According to this release from the Food Research and Action Center, more than 36 million people lived in households struggling against hunger in 2007.  Though the numbers aren’t in, it must be worse in 2008.

The people at Tyson Foods would like to extend our gratitude for the hundreds of food banks, the thousands of agencies, and the hundreds of thousands of people who put their time, their energy, their money and talents into helping feed those who are struggling.  We know that often it’s a job that doesn’t receive the thanks it truly deserves.

On this Thanksgiving, we offer the prayer that a day will come when your resources won’t need to be focused on feeding hungry people.  Meanwhile, we’re grateful–every day–that they are.