Do You KNOW Hunger?

KnowHunger logo 11-14

Lots of folks don’t know. We have the research to prove it.
Three years ago, we embarked on a research project with the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), in which we measured public knowledge and attitudes about hunger in the U.S., particularly in their own communities.

It all began when we heard our own team mates say, “We really don’t have a problem with hunger in our community.” As it turns out, no matter where you live, that’s just not true. Food insecurity is in every single community in the United States. North to South. East to West.  Affluent or at risk.

Our 2011 research showed that two-thirds of Americans believed that hunger was not a severe problem in their communities. In August of this year, we repeated the research, with similar results.
If folks don’t believe hunger is a problem where they live, what kind of urgency will they have in solving it?

That’s why we created the KNOW Hunger campaign. Since 2011, a big part of our hunger relief outreach, in addition to donating millions of pounds of food, and supporting local and national hunger relief organizations, has been creating awareness that no matter where you live, hunger is a serious challenge.

One heartening result of the research is that people are indeed aware that hunger is a big problem nationally, and they believe we should be applying resources to fix the problem.
Are you aware of how hunger affects your own community? Are you involved in hunger relief activities? We’d love to how you’re making a difference in the fight against hunger.

There are other very interesting findings in the 2014 KNOW Hunger Survey. To find out more, go here.

Chef Aaron McCargo, Jr. KNOW Hunger Video

Growing up in a family of eight in Camden, New Jersey, Aaron McCargo got to see a lot of life, including lots of hungry kids.  Now a successful Food Network personality (better known as “Big Daddy”), he’s generous with his time and energy to help make the world a better place.  Not only has he traveled far and wide as an ambassador for hunger relief, he established and participates in his own youth leadership and character development organizastion in Camden, Play to Win

 Here he shares his testimony in a KNOW Hunger video, talking about the nature and scope of hunger, and what people can do to get involved.

Facebook poll–help us decide on a donation–3 days left

Click here to cast your vote.

You have until Friday at midnight to cast your vote in the Facebook poll for the foodbank from the list you think should receive a truckload of food from Tyson Foods.   The three top vote getters will each receive a truckload of food within the next month to six weeks. We’ve had some great participation in the polls, with over 20,000 votes cast as of this writing.    We’ve also had some very good questions about how and why we’re doing this.  For example:

Q.  How were the foodbanks selected, and why is my foodbank not on the list–we have a lot of hungry people in our community?
A.  The foodbanks are from among U.S communities with the highest rates of per capita food insecurity in the country. Feeding America’s research staff helped us identify them.  The management of the food banks selected also agreed to be part of this poll.  We know there are a lot of communities in need. We wish we could eliminate that need, but are glad there are people like you involved.

Q.  Why do you have to have winners and losers?  Why can’t you just donate to all of them?
A.  Though we have donated to all of them at one time or another (and will again), at this time, we only have three truckloads to work with.  Part of the goal is to get people involved with the foodbanks in their own communities (which supports our overall KNOW Hunger objectives). Maybe you’ve never been involved with your local foodbank before.  If you take a minute to vote for your foodbank, maybe you’ll take a another minute to find out a little more about them and hunger in your community.  Maybe that connection will be the start of a relationship that keeps you involved with fighting hunger.  So even if your foodbank doesn’t win the food, it wins new champions like you.  

Q.  What do you mean by “protein?” 
A.  There’s about a 99% chance it will be frozen chicken.

Q.  Will you be doing this again?
A.  Perhaps.  We’d appreciate any feedback you might offer. 

Click here to vote in the poll. 

This is all being done in conjunction with Feeding America’s Hunger Action Month.  Another thing we’re doing in support is encouraging everyone to go to Feeding America’s Hunger Action Center, and sign up to be a Hunger Champion.  Get involved.  KNOW Hunger in your community.

Ways you can get involved in the fight against hunger

Interested in enlisting in the fight against hunger?  Here are just a few ways you can start. 
KNOW Hunger.
In the recent FRAC/Tyson poll,    the majority of people said they understood hunger as a national problem, but believed it wasn’t as significant in their hometowns.  You can find out more about how serious this issue is by connecting with hunger relief organizations in your community.  

For a look at the raw statistics, check out Feeding America’s excellent Map the Meal Gap, which will tell you of the level of food insecurity in your own county.  

The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC),  has a very informative weekly e-newsletter about hunger issues.  Subscribe here.

 Get involved.
Volunteer at your local food bank, food pantry, feeding site or after school feeding program.  You can start with the Feeding America food bank in your area.  Find it here.    Each food bank has a network of agencies distributed across a broad service area, so there’s likely one in your town to which you could be referred.  This will give you a firsthand view of the people served and the groups serving. 

Share Our Strength has designed some great ways to get involved with their No Kid Hungry program.  You can start by taking their No Kid Hungry Pledge.  Then take a look at all of the ways they suggest getting engaged. 

Become a hunger advocate. Work to help create awareness and engagement.  Lobby your elected representatives for support of anti-hunger programs.   Visit Feeding America’s Hunger Action Center.  (disclaimer: Tyson is a sponsor) or FRAC’s website. 

There are all sorts of ways you can get directly involved:  Plant an extra row in your garden and donate the food to your local emergency feeder.  Ask people to make donations to a hunger organization, rather than give you birthday presents.  Go talk to a school or civic club about  hunger to  help spread awareness.  If you have a favorite tactic, list it in the comments below.

Donate. Fundraise. 
Money is the lifeblood of any non-profit organization.   They can’t do their work without it.  So it’s always appreciated. 
Conduct a virtual food drive for Feeding America

Have a bake sale (or any other fundraiser) to support Share Our Strength’s Great American Bake Sale

Donate directly to any of the major national hunger relief organizations.  Here’s a list with which to start. 

Of course, your local anti-hunger organization also provides a great way to see the effects of your generosity at work in your own community.  They’ll be grateful for any support you can provide.    

OK.   My list is just a beginning.  If I left out your favorite way of fighting hunger, it’s now your turn.  Comment here to let others know of ways anyone in America can get involved.

“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.