Party with a Purpose

‘Tis the season for numerous holiday celebrations! Regardless of your background or beliefs, you’ve probably received countless invitations and have taken part in a few winter festivities.

Urban League Young Professionals of Middle Tennessee and Tyson Foods Team Members from Shelbyville & Goodlettsville, TN locations

Urban League Young Professionals of Middle Tennessee and Tyson Foods Team Members from Shelbyville & Goodlettsville, TN locations

This past weekend, Santa’s reindeer took me back to Nashville, Tenn. to meet up with a few Team Members from our Shelbyville & Goodlettsville facilities for an evening of mix and mingling with up and coming community leaders–the mission: spread good cheer to inspire others to use their voice to talk about domestic hunger.

Every year, the Urban League of Middle Tennessee Young Professionals host an annual holiday party with a toy drive. This year we added a food drive and a little twist…

We challenged young professionals to use their voice on social media to talk about facts related to food insecurity with the hashtag, #KNOWHungerMT. “You know those young professionals, always on their phones,” one might say. So why not show the true value of 140 characters?

Our goal was simply to engage the young professionals, their networks (and really, everyone) in a conversation in hopes that we inspire future advocates to carry the torch in fighting hunger.

And, to make their tweets a part of immediate hunger relief, Tyson Foods promised to donate $5 for every #KNOWHungerMT tweet/retweet during the weekend up to $5K, to The Nashville Food Project (who also received the food items collected that evening).

We were excited to see the weekend Twitter conversation included nearly 300 mentions! While we could be technical with our calculations, we knew that the full $5,000 could go a long way for The Nashville Food Project and the communities they serve so we’re gifting the entire amount – ’tis the season to give!

Here’s the thing to remember: While the holidays come and go with joyous times for many, the sad reality is that hunger happens year-round. The good news is that there are little ways each of us can help to make a big difference.

Tell us, what are your plans to ‘party with a purpose’ this holiday season? How will you help fight hunger after the season as we head into a new year?

#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!

Nutrition Fairs Add to Growing Hunger Synergies for Mississippi

Two recent KNOW Hunger Nutrition Fairs conducted in Vicksburg and Jackson drew 40 local organizations and more than 800 participants. The events, part of the Urban League-Tyson Foods Hunger Project Mississippi, provided free food and health screenings, nutritious cooking and exercise demonstrations plus access to programs for the underserved. 

A donation of 34,000 pounds of food kicked off the fairs. It was given to the Mississippi Food Network from the Urban League of Greater Jackson, Jackson State University and Tyson Foods.

 There were a lot of great moments, and some of the highlights are available here. But it’s increasingly clear the most important gathering is ongoing.

 There has been a proliferation of organizations and resources aimed at curbing hunger for Mississippi, which leads the nation in food insecurity. Several groups have been at it awhile, and here are a few of the lead entities engaged at present:

There are others, including a growing number of efforts by political leaders. Lasting success will likely require a coalition of public and private entities working together.

 There will be at least two more opportunities this fall that can help lend traction. The Urban League-Tyson Foods Hunger Project will conduct a SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) Challenge on Nov. 13 in Jackson, and a day later The Mississippi Food Policy Council is holding a conference.

 Contact those organizations for more information, and also take a minute to visit all of these groups and see where your own effort might fit in. There’s plenty of room at the table for those who want to make a real difference.

http://bit.ly/ClarionLedgercoverage

http://bit.ly/WJTVcov

http://bit.ly/WAPTcov

http://bit.ly/WLBTcov

http://bit.ly/MissLink1

http://bit.ly/JackAdv

 

Tyson Donates 193,000 Pounds of Protein to Nationwide Food Banks

Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League, receives a Tyson donation by Ray Ables, complex manager of Forest, Miss., and Donnie Smith, president and CEO of Tyson Foods in Jackson, Miss., in June.

Tyson Foods, Inc. has completed a 10-city string of food donations, marking the end of a campaign in which the company donated 193,000 total pounds of protein to food banks across the southeast.

As part of its 2012 “Show Us Your Nugget Face” promotion (www.ShowUsYourNuggetFace.com), where the public voted on their favorite children pictured with Tyson Chicken Nuggets, Tyson Foods pledged to donate 1 million pounds of food to hunger relief organizations across America.

Food banks included the Atlanta Community Food Bank, the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia, the Food Bank of Iowa, Feeding America Tampa Bay, Second Harvest of South Georgia, the Food bank of Contra Costa & Solano, the Lowcountry Food Bank in Charleston, S.C., the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina, the Central Virginia Food Bank and Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina. Each food bank received more than 30,000 pounds of protein.

Last year Tyson launched the “KNOW Hunger” campaign to raise hunger awareness. As part of the campaign, the company released the results of a survey which found that one in four Americans is worried about having enough money to put food on the table and that many Americans are unaware of how serious hunger is in their own communities. Raising awareness that hunger exists in every community in the country reinforces the campaign’s imperative that “We should all KNOW Hunger.”

Coins for Kids Blends Service, Learning

Aleta Greer's elementary school class in Alpine, Calif., started Coins for Kids.

Share Our Strength will debut a new curriculum for its Coins for Kids program in March that may “make change” in the way students learn about money.
Aleta Greer, an elementary school teacher with the Alpine (Calif.) School District near San Diego, created the program last winter. The idea was to mesh identifying coins with the community service requirement of California’s educational standards. Students brought in spare change to fill plastic tubs, and the money was charted weekly before eventually being donated to SOS’ No Kid Hungry program.
Some of Greer’s students summed up the program with this cute video.
It was only supposed to be a two-week, service-learning project, but the results kept adding up. Coins for Kids eventually grew into a fourth-month campaign that raised $1,522 and the eyebrows of SOS’ program leaders.
The initiative was so smart and successful that the hunger-relief organization included it as a fundraising idea on its youth-action Web site No Kid Hungry2.
Now the nonprofit has charged Greer with developing a formal curriculum that teachers across the nation may implement to make learning – and giving – fun.
“The kids just wanted to keep going,” Greer said. “They made and sold music makers, we had a school-wide fundraising contest between classes and they just really looked forward to graphing their progress on Fridays.
“We started by asking them if they’ve ever been hungry and what that feels like. They had a very strong response.”
Greer got inspired last year while watching “Larry King Live.” Academy Award-winning actor Jeff Bridges was on the show advocating for No Kid Hungry. Greer loved the vision, but saw an opportunity to add the component of kids helping kids.
A 34-year veteran of education, Greer said although it’s hard to know what jobs there will be in 20 years certainly teaching students to think more globally will be important. Coins for Kids teaches a number of skills, she said, including how to be good critical thinkers and collaborators.
Several local businesses got on board as well.
Manana’s, a family restaurant in Alpine, hosted a day where about 25 percent of their proceeds were donated for the cause. The Mission Federal Credit Union also let Greer’s class count its 80 pounds of coins without the standard 10 percent fee.
“We have even bigger plans to involve more businesses this year,” Greer said. “We’re also going to have an ice cream social, a wear orange day and several other things. It’s a lot of fun to see the kids do something selfless and realize the intrinsic job of what it means to help someone else.”
There were a number of inspirational takeaways, Greer said, including a “thank you” video from SOS co-founder Billy Shore. He promised that the money would go to feed as many hungry children as possible. He also urged the children to stay involved in their community.
“In our video you see several students, some of whom are very shy,” Greer said. “There’s also one boy who stutters, but none of them hesitated to participate because it meant so much to them. We had several goals when we started, and No. 1 was helping hungry kids.”
To learn more about starting a Coins for Kids initiative at your school, visit the No Kid Hungry2 Web site and click through “Leaders Tackle Hunger” to the “Fundraise” hyperlink. Also look for the curriculum update in March.

 

Child Hunger Facts:
• More than 16 million kids in America struggle with hunger. (Source: USDA Household Food Security in the United States). That’s one in five kids or over 21% of all kids.
• 10.6 million kids who are eligible for free or reduced-price school breakfast do not get it. (Source: Food Research and Action Center, School Breakfast Scorecard)
• 19 million kids get a free or reduced-price school lunch on an average school day. (Source: Food Research and Action Center, School Breakfast Scorecard)
• Five out of six eligible kids do not get free summer meals. (Source: Food Research and Action Center, “Hunger Doesn’t Take a Vacation: Summer Nutrition Status Report”
• 40.3 million people in America got help through SNAP (food stamps) in 2010; half of them (20.1 million) were children. (Source: USDA Food and Nutrition Services)
• 15.5 million children in America live in poverty. (Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Reports).
Source: Share Our Strength