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

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

McDonald’s Supports Hunger Relief

The festivities have begun for McDonald's Supplier of the Year day at Tyson Foods

$500K Grant Will Provide Meals to Children in Need

Thursday the corporate campus at Tyson Foods celebrated being named McDonald’s USA’s 2010 Supplier of the Year. But there’s something even more important to cheer about.
The honor was primarily earned by the enhanced cost savings, increased sustainable supply and food safety standards that our food service group is delivering.
As a McDonald’s supplier for nearly 30 years, we’re proud to help McDonald’s serve its 26 million customers daily with wholesome food and quality service. Even though yesterday was about celebrating this great partnership, we’d be remiss to not also recognize the incredible work this trusted restaurant brand does through its Ronald McDonald House Charities.
Just this March, RMHC donated $500,000 to Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization. The funds are being used to help provide nutritious food, groceries and meals to children living at risk of hunger. Feeding America’s BackPack Program, Kids Cafe, Afterschool Nutrition Program and School Pantries are all benefitting.
We learned with the March release of our hunger perceptions study that one in four Americans worry they won’t be able to put food on the table sometime this year. The study, conducted with the Food Research and Action Center, also found a significant number of children under the age of 18 live in households affected by food insecurity.
RMHC, a non-profit corporation, focuses on improving the health and well being of children directly through its own core programs. But we’re especially proud to see our great partner make such a significant impact for America’s food banks.
Thanks for your generosity McDonald’s. We’re Lovin’ It!

“Like” Arvest For Hunger Relief

It’s tremendous to see a community-centric lender like Arvest Bank launch a hunger relief campaign this week aimed right where help is needed – at the local level.
The Fayetteville-chartered bank started its “1 Million Meals” effort Monday. It’s an incredible pledge to leverage funds and food during the next two months to create one million meals for the needy across the 90 communities Arvest serves in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri.
It’s a large and worthy footprint. All four states rate among the Top 11 on the USDA’s food insecurity list.
One of the key findings of a recent hunger-perceptions study commissioned by the Food Research and Action Center and Tyson Foods was that most Americans believe hunger is a problem – just not in their own communities. Yet, one in four Americans worried they would be able to put food on the table for the rest of 2011.
The study was done in conjunction with Tyson Foods’ year-long KNOW Hunger campaign.
Arvest will donate $1 for every “Like” posting on their 1 Million Meals Facebook page. Each $1 will result in five meals.
Arvest will use bank donations, in-branch fundraisers and non-perishable foods drives to fuel donations to food banks and other local organizations.
There are several ways to get involved:
• Customers can donate $1 or more by calling (855) 553-4056, and each dollar donated will help create five donated meals.
• Purchasing a paper plate for $1 at Arvest’s branch locations will support local food partners. Each plate will fund five meals.
• Dropping off non-perishable food items at Arvest branches. They will be delivered to the appropriate local food partner for distribution.
Arvest has also partnered with the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, the AA-baseball affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. For each donation made at an Arvest branch, the donor will receive $1 off a Naturals game ticket. Donations will also be collected at Arvest Ballpark during the campaign.