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.

Update on Share Our Strength Activities–July 08

Got a message from Billy Shore regarding news about the Share Our  Strength community, including:

Wynton Marsalis agreed to be honored guest and speaker at the Autumn Harvest dinner hosted by Danny Meyer and the Union Square Hospitality Group in NY.

McCormick & Schmick’s committed their restaurants to Share Our Strength’s Great American Dine Out this September, bringing our total participating restaurants to 3045!

Cleveland chef and restaurant owner Michael Symon, who won the Food Network’s “The Next Iron Chef” competition, hosted A Tasteful Pursuit dinner in Cleveland with 8 female chefs from around the country.

The New York Times reported that the number of American children who are under 18 and live below the poverty line increased by almost 9% between 2000 and 2006.

The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation (EMCF) announced that, along with co-investors,  it would be investing $120 million in three nonprofits: Youth Villages,  Nurse-Family Partnership, and Citizen Schools.  The investment is comprised of $39 million from Edna McConnell Clark Foundation and $81 million from 19 co-investors.    It is nearly unprecedented in philanthropic circles to see this amount of capital pooled on behalf of such a select number of nonprofits.  It signals an  important new approach in philanthropy.


A Message From Vicki Escarra, President and CEO, America’s Second Harvest




Vicki Escarra, President and CEO, America’s Second Harvest

As we all read in the news, times are difficult for families all across America. The economic climate is forcing men, women, and families to cut back on spending, and often forcing them to sacrifice important essentials-including food. 

The America’s Second Harvest network of food banks is seeing demand increasing at an unprecedented rate. In a recent survey of our members, 99 percent of our members reported that more clients are asking for support-with average increases in demand ranging from 15 to 20 percent. Nearly all cited the rising costs of food and fuel as the reason more and more Americans need to turn to their local charitable feeding agency for help. 
In these tough times, our partners-including Tyson-donate food and funds that help to meet this increasing demand. But to truly respond to those in need, we’re asking individuals across the country to step up to the plate and help fight hunger in their community and across the country. You can visit to find your nearest food bank and to make a donation to our nationwide efforts. 


Non-profits–What are you doing to weather the storm?

Times are tough. Businesses are cutting back.  Donations to non-profits are down at a time resources are being taxed harder than ever.  What are you as a non-profit, doing to counter the “squeeze?”

Cash is becoming more precious for those on the for-profit, as well as the non-profit side. 

Do you give in-kind donors the same “love” you give cash donors?  Do you give them prominent sponsorship recognition?  Should you?

Do you aggressively seek in-kind support for a broad range of services?  IT, accounting, facilities and transportation maintenance, organizational and marketing strategy, legal services?

What are you doing to innovatively weather the storm? Comments welcome.

More Social Media Stuff–Twitter


By Ed Nicholson
Another in a series about social media and how those engaged in the issue of hunger might use them to build community.  If you’re already using these tools, this will be elementary stuff.  If you’re not, I encourage you to try them out.

Twitter is a social media tool that’s seen explosive growth recently. Kind of a cross between instant messaging and blogging (sometimes called “micro-blogging”) Twitter allows you to send updates—“Tweets”—of 140 characters or less to a network of “followers”  Tweets can be received either via the Web or an instant-messaging device. 

Twitter is used to inform, promote, stimulate discussion, build networks, and communicate among friends.  Its most effective adherents use it for all of these.

I won’t go into much detail about how to effectively use Twitter.  Too many have already done a great job of that, and some links are posted below.

There are a number of other Twitter-like applications—Pownce, Plurk, and others, but Twitter is the most widely-used.

Twitter is definitely an acquired taste. I can almost assure you, you won’t “get it” when you first sign up for it.  In order to understand its potential, you’ll need to begin following several people. A recommended “starter list” is included below.  It’s also important that you send updates of your own.

I believe you will be using Twitter, or a Twitter-like application someday.  Might as well start now.  Go to and sign up (it’s free).  You’re welcome to “follow” me.  Do that by going to and clicking the little "follow" button under my name.  Then send an update that includes @ederdn, and I’ll follow you back. Let me know that you read this message.  Let’s see if we can build a group of Twitter users within this community.

A few randomly selected articles on twitter (there are hundreds–Google "basic twitter" if you want more)

Twitter for Beginners

9 Ways to Find People to Follow on Twitter

Power Tweeting: 101 Everyday Uses for Twitter

Get into Twitter or Get Outta Public Relations–Todd Defren

These are good people to follow as you start out. Don’t be shy. Go to these links and hit the "follow" button.  Chris Brogan  Beth Kanter (blogs about social media and non-profits) Jeremiah Owyang Steve Rubel David Neff–social media guru for American Cancer Society see also: How a national non-profit reaches Twittering stakeholders Michael Clark me

You might also try putting your geographic location in Twitter’s search bar to see who in your area is using Twitter.

If you have a good instant messaging plan, I recommend turning the "device update" on for one or two of those you follow.

Good luck and let me know how it goes.