Hunger is not a problem in my community

By Ed Nicholson

We recently spent a week traveling through Iowa with the rolling circus that is RAGBRAI  (I still have lots left to talk about there; more later).   The bicycle ride features 15,000 registered riders and thousands more who come along for the ride. Practically every state in the union is represented.

One of the things we did as part of that effort is a brief survey among participants to assess what people know about hunger and hunger organizations.

Questions 3 and 4 of the survey were specifically designed to gauge attitudes about how serious a problem people believed hunger to be in their own community.

From the more than 1350 respondents, more than 81% answered that hunger was either a “moderate” “low priority,” problem or  that there is “little or no hunger in my community.”

Only 19% believed hunger is either a critical or serious problem in their community.

53% believed that the majority of people affected by hunger could do something about it if they made adjustments in their lifestyle.

Is it possible our efforts to end hunger are being diluted because many believe it’s either not a problem in their own communities, or is a problem of the victims’ own making?

The Faces of Evil????

By Ed Nicholson

I monitor social media for what gets said about Tyson Foods. Yesterday there was a tweet from someone who said "Can’t wait to be done with this bag of [Tyson] chicken so I can move on to something from a company that isn’t so evil." 

I don’t know what prompted the comment (at least it appeared she was going to eat the chicken).    But I wish she could have been with me the last three days.

You see, "Tyson Foods" isn’t a cloistered few who control the puppet strings of shadowy empire.  It’s 117,000 people all around the world.  And since Sunday, I’ve been with some of the best in the world.  People from Tyson operations in Nebraska and Iowa who’ve volunteered their time to come out in the Iowa July heat to cook and sell food to riders in the annual RAGBRAI event. And donate the proceeds to hunger relief. Some were up ’til midnight in Storm Lake last night.  Others setting up in Varina at 4:00 a.m. today. In the past three days, more than six thousand meals have been fed to RAGBRAI riders. 

It’s a big healthy dose of Heartland heart and a work ethic that will wear you to the ground if you try to keep pace with it.  We try not to make this blog too self-centered, but every once in a while I have to brag on these folks. I’m proud of ’em.  

Thanks to the people who’ve worked the past three days and the ones who”ll work the next five.

You can see their photos below or on Flickr.  We’d also be honored if you’d follow Tyson Hunger Relief on Facebook. 



Dakota City/ Dakota Dunes



Storm Lake




Storm Lake




Dakota City/ Dakota Dunes






Back in Iowa–Look at all those bicycles…!

By Ed Nicholson

If you’ve followed this blog for more than a year, you know that this time each year, we have the distinct honor to join team members from our plants in Iowa (and one in Joslin, Illinois) in preparing and selling food along the route of the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI). Proceeds from the sale go to hunger relief efforts in the towns along the way, and to Share Our Strength, our great longtime partners who help administer the grants.

With 15,000 registered riders (and many who don’t register) from across the country, RAGBRAI is truly a unique event; a study in diversity.

For those of you who subscribe by email, please indulge us just this week.  We’ll be posting every day, mainly because we believe the more than 200 team members who come out and cheerfully work in the heat deserve the recognition the postings provide.

You can also see photos at our Flickr site and postings on our Facebook page.

We kicked off yesterday  at the ride’s Expo in Sioux City, with the great help of Team Members from the Tyson Dakota City plant and the Dakota Dunes.

Today we’re in Storm Lake.  If you happen to be on the ride, stop by and eat a sandwich with us.  It goes to a worthy cause.

The Tyson RAGBRAI ’09 Team–Final Day–Burlington

By Ed Nicholson

The name of the music clip (courtesy of Flipshare) I’ve been using on my little video vignettes all week is "A Perfect Saturday."  While nothing is perfect, today was darned close. Good weather, good people, and a good tired to end a great week. Again we had Tyson team members from the nearby Louisa County plant, working hard to make the day a success. 
It’s been an honor and a privelege to work around these folks all week. We’ll be tying up some loose ends from RAGBRAI here in the next few days, but for now, I’d like to extend humble thanks to all who came out and worked; to all who stopped by and bought a sandwich or an omelet; to all the communities who hosted our traveling troupe; to our group’s senior management who supported us all the way in this effort; and to everyone who played a role in feeding a few more hungry mouths in Iowa.
See you next year!

To see a collection of photos from this year’s Tyson RAGBRAI efforts, go to our Flickr pages.