A good day, with great partners.

iPh LUA Chiefs 13 blog photo
Almost ten years ago, I got a call from John Tyson, who said, “There’s a guy named Dave Hannah who’s going to call you.  He has some good ideas about maybe doing some food donations. At the time, we’d been involved in hunger relief for a while, and had already done some high profile donating.   I was getting quite a few calls from folks who had “good ideas” about food donations.   Quite often these were good people, long on vision, but short on being able to execute.  So when Dave called saying he thought he could get the Kansas City Chiefs and the Miami Dolphins involved in some donation events, I was, well, cautious.  But sure enough, within about three weeks, we had two donation events planned with those teams.   Dave knows how to get things done, and in the time that’s passed, he’s led the creation of Lift Up America, a group of influencers from around the country, focused on creating positive change. In that time, we’ve collaborated on more than a hundred truckload donations with pro and college sports teams all around the country.

We did another Lift Up America donation with the Chiefs yesterday; the tenth we’ve done with the team. More than 60 agencies of Harvesters Community Food Network picked up most of a 30,000 pound truckload of food within about 45 minutes at Arrowhead Stadium.  Dave’s first call after talking with us for the first time was to Clark Hunt, owner of the Chiefs, who graciously and enthusiastically agreed to be part of the donation.  We were honored to have Clark on hand yesterday to MC the donation event.   Also joining were Derrick Johnson, Akeem Jordan, Kendrick Lewis and Dontari Poe, members of the (undefeated!) Chiefs team.

As an added bonus, members of the (undefeated!) Fort Osage High School football team came out and moved a bunch of boxes.

We’re honored and priveleged to be able to associate with all of these folks, including, our own team from the Tyson Olathe, Kansas distribution facility.

KNOW Hunger Video–Spencer Tillman

We met Spencer Tillman through our friends at Lift Up America.  If you’re much of a college football fan, you know who Spencer is.  As lead studio analyst for CBS sports, he’s visible every autumn Saturday afternoon, wherever there’s a “big game,” moving into his current role after a distinguished career in college and pro football.   But when he’s not focused on football, Spencer does an amazing amount of great work to make the world a better place, traveling the country to speak and inspire.  He’s articulate and passionate about changing lives for the better. 

At the request of Lift Up America, Spencer agreed to tell his story as part of our KNOW Hunger video series, in which successful people talk about their own experiences to help educate and inform us about hunger. 

We look forward to seeing Spencer this Friday in his hometown of Tulsa as we do a food donation with Lift Up America and the University of Tulsa.  As you can see from the video, Spencer’s come a long way since graduating from high school there.  If you get a chance to talk with him, you get the feeling that with his boundless energy, intelligence and passsion, we’ll continue to see great things from him.  

Thanks, Spencer!

Good news

By Elise Mitchell

As Ed mentioned in his post earlier this week, the donation last Saturday to the Northwest Arkansas Food Bank received a lot of positive media coverage and helped bring to light the hard work of many volunteers.  We’ve posted some of those stories here from our local TV stations KFSM, KHOG and KNWA and appreciate their coverage of the event.

While sometimes it can be tough to get media attention for good news, we’ve actually found media to be very receptive to our outreach for Tyson’s donations to food banks around the country.  Our guess is that increasingly, hunger is newsworthy, which is both good and bad, of course.  Good because so many people are actively trying to help those in need; bad because the need continues to grow as a result of the economic stress people are enduring. 

Yes, we’ve been fortunate to earn our share of coverage, but our ultimate goal in doing this is to continue to shine the spotlight on the cause itself.  Hopefully, from greater awareness will come greater resources.  With all of us working together as well as greater attention brought to the fight against hunger, we can continue to make a difference.

Elise Mitchell is the President and CEO of Mitchell Communications.

Making some great plays off the field



UofA student athletes help distribute more than 40k lbs. of food to NW AR hunger relief agencies

By Ed Nicholson

When athletes make the news, it’s usually for one of two reasons: Either they’re excelling on the field or messing up in public. What a lot of people don’t realize–and what  doesn’t get reported often enough–is that most university athletic programs have student life involvement programs that regularly engage kids in worthy activities in their communities.
This past Saturday, on a cold, damp morning, perfect for sleeping in, more than 130 University of Arkansas athletes came out to assist in the delivery of 40,000 pounds of donated food to the Northwest Arkansas Food Bank.
It was the fourth year in a row Tyson Foods and the UofA had worked with national organization Lift Up America on the event, which works to engage student athletes in community service, donates food to the food bank, and creates awareness for hunger in our home community.  More than 50 of the food bank’s agencies came out to receive food.
All three of the local broadcast affiliates showed up, as well as two newspapers.  Lots of folks got fed and the athletes got some well-deserved positive attention for their off-the-field good works.
I’ll be posting more stuff from Saturday’s event in the next few days.


Lift Up America–Bringing Communities Together

By Ed Nicholson



Austin athletes unload a truckload of food to agencies of CAFB


One of the most fulfilling things about being involved in hunger relief is the opportunity to work with some fantastic partners.  We’ve talked a lot about our friends at  Share Our Strength and Feeding America
But one group that doesn’t get mentioned as much is Lift Up America.  Founded in 2004, by the visionary Dave Hannah and other business leaders, Lift Up America is a coalition of influential business and sports leaders, brought together by a common goal of addressing some of society’s most pressing challenges. 
In 2005, Tyson Foods began our partnership with them with food donations in cooperation with the Kansas City Chiefs and the Miami Dolphins.
Each year since then, a growing number of professional and college athletic teams have lent their support and their players’ time to events in which food is donated to their local communities, but more important, awareness for the issue of hunger is elevated.  Last year, we did donations in fourteen cities across the country.
The people who comprise Lift Up America have solved some tremendous business challenges.  Very successfully. They’ve competed at the highest levels on the field and off.  It’s a tribute to them that they are now applying their strategic skills to challenges our world faces.  
Last week, I had the privelege of being in Austin, joining a burgeoning local chapter of Lift Up America, led by highly-successful businessman, Michael Cress, in making a donation to the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas (another fabulous partner). We were joined at Southpark Meadows, who generously supplied the venue,  by members of the Austin Toros and the Austin Aztex, along with notable athletes, such as former UT football standout Will Matthews and KC Chiefs linebacker, Derrick Johnson
CAFB CEO, David Davenport said it well.  "Addressing hunger is a community challenge."
Thanks to Lift Up America for bringing the Austin community together for this event. 

 More photos of this event can be seen here.