#GivingTuesday: It’s not about your turkey leftovers!

GivingTuesday-Tyson+NoKidHungry2013
#GivingTuesday is not for “giving away” your Thanksgiving turkey leftovers. Nope, it’s about you and I joining the masses of kind-hearted folks giving together online! Think of it as global crowdsourced kindness.

Originally, the Gates Foundation created Giving Tuesday as a response to Cyber Monday and Black Friday. I like this new holiday as it shifts the primary focus of our spending from our own needs towards the needs of others. So, Giving Tuesday is a special day where you and I can join forces and change the world by donating online to our favorite charities.

Think of all the money spent over #BlackFriday and #CyberMonday and how much good we can do together if we instead collect our “savings” and donate it to our favorite charities like Share Our Strength‘s #NoKidHungry initiative, which does a wonderful job of raising awareness and fighting childhood hunger.

This year Tyson Foods is the proud sponsor of the #NoKidHungry Holiday Give-A-Thon and will match your donations, dollar for dollar, up to $25,000 USD. How cool is that?! So now your #GivingTuesday donation dollars go farther: double in fact!

1 in 5 children in America go to bed hungry. We can CHANGE that stat ASAP.

Who:     YOU, your friends and me!

What:    Support #NoKidHungry on #GivingTuesday!
1.  Join the #ThunderClap
2.  Donate to No Kid Hungry!

              Every dollar you donate will be matched by Tyson Foods, up to $25,000! 

When:  #GivingTuesday is all day on Tuesday, December 3, 2013.
The Thunderclap event is at 12:00 p.m. EST, tomorrow, 12/3.

Where:   Online http://nokidhungry.org/givingtuesday

Why:       Today is our day to make a difference in the lives of young children that are hungry, right here in America. Do your part and join with us to eradicate hunger this holiday!

Thank you!

Double-take on a familiar face: My reintroduction to Tyson Foods

I am now in my fifth month of my internship with Tyson Foods. To be completely honest the only thing I knew about Tyson when I began this internship was that Tyson produced chicken and that Tyson was a great employment provider for many people I knew growing up. Many of my own family members worked their first jobs in the chicken production plants.

Tyson Team Members with LULAC PresidentIn the four months I been here I have learned so much more about Tyson Foods and quite honestly I was blown away by all the work Tyson puts into giving back to the community. I personally never experienced hunger, but like many families in a tough economy, at times money gets tight and we all have to cut back on spending. Thankfully my parents were always working hard to make sure we always had meat on the table, not just bread but meat. My father in his early years was a butcher and his father before him was a butcher too; the importance of protein as a part of a daily meal was always very clear to them.

On my very first week of my internship with Tyson Foods I was sent to Las Vegas. There the company had paired up with LULAC  (League of United Latin American Citizens) and was making a donation of protein to the local food bank.  The donation was of 38,400 pounds of protein! This donation was to feed more than 100,000 Nevadans fighting hunger.

When I came back to work, the Tyson team was gearing up for yet another donation and more work around creating awareness about food insecurity, and also continuing to giving more help to Moore, Oklahoma. Little by little I discovered a new face of Tyson, the human, caring face of Tyson Foods.

My parents have always inculcated the values of being a good neighbor and giving back. To me giving back is a much greater gift. When you give back to the community you are making a change, a visible, tangible, change. Through this internship I have learned that Tyson Foods isn’t just about chicken, or beef or pork for that matter; it’s about people.

Where’s the online discussion of hunger? Year five.

Hunger DiscussionFive years ago, excited about the possibilities social channels offered to fostering a healthy national discussion about hunger, I posted a piece in this blog entitled “Where’s the Online Discussion About Hunger?”    

There’s a tremendous hunger community in this country.   I’ve learned so much from them over the past thirteen years, and am always interested in being part of the stimulating discussion that can occur when two or more get together.

But that discussion just doesn’t seem to be happening online.

I learned a lot of what I know about PR from the CompuServe PR forum.  It was a great community of folks, always involved in rich discussion, moderated by people who truly knew the business.

I’m a musician.  I love to talk about music, musical equipment, production techniques and such.   I’ve spent countless hours and learned a ton in a community created in The Gear Page forum.

Want to learn about Toyota 4-Runners ?    Soccer?    Bodybuilding?   There’s a vibrant discussion going on somewhere about almost anything you can think about.

Hunger?  Maybe not so much.

Isn’t hunger as important as all these things?  Where’s the discussion/community?     If there isn’t one, why the heck not?   Hunger folks are intelligent and passionate.   Normally not afraid to express their opinions. I ask again: Is this discussion occurring somewhere of which I’m not aware?

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.

Teenage Role Model

Jackie Price

Jackie Price, left, has raised more than $15,000 for the Great American Bake Sale

Jackie Price plans to be a chef someday. For now, she’s just a hero.
A senior at Magruder High School in Rockville, Md., Price started her own Great American Bake Sale effort at the age of 13. Four years later, she’s raised nearly $15,000 and is a four-time nominee for Share Our Strength’s GABS Leadership Award.
If those efforts weren’t enough, Price is an online advocate for hunger relief via her blog www.forgoodnessbakes.webs.com. The site offers a variety of resources including a menu of treats that may be purchased to benefit SOS.
We met her at this year’s SOS Conference of Leaders in Baltimore and knew Price is truly a Tyson Foods Hunger All-Star.
She learned about Share Our Strength while watching a public service announcement on her favorite channel – The Food Network. Price said hunger advocacy was a natural progression since cooking is her calling and she was looking for outlets to volunteer.
The first year she scored a free booth at Rockville’s Hometown Holidays, a Memorial Day weekend celebration that features cultural and culinary fare. Price sold out on day one that first year racking up more than $800 in sales. By the second day’s end, she had sold out again and pushed her tally to more than $1,700.
“Over time we got smarter about how much to bake,” Price said. “I really got excited about the cause, and after I realized how much money we would really raise, I just knew this is what I wanted to do.”
Eventually she wrote Duncan Hines about helping sponsor her GABS efforts. The company came through donating frosting and cake mix and even some fund matching through a partnership with SOS.
Although the majority of Price’s fundraising is done through sugary treats, she said emphasizing healthy eating choices for kids is equally important. She writes about the latter at www.healthyteenfoodie.blogspot.com.

Jackie Price’s Tips for Having
A Successful Great American Bake Sale
Here are a few tips for high school students or others who might like to start their own Great American Bake Sale campaign:
1) Latch on to a festival or other community event. The increased foot-traffic will do wonders.
2) Use Share Our Strength’s Great American Bake Sale resource page. There are posters and other materials that will give you more confidence in how to run your sale
3) Keep it simple by preparing traditional recipes. Chocolate chip cookies, for instance, sell faster
4) Have fun