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.

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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.”