Who are the hungry people? (you can help with a comment)

By Gayle Keck
San Francisco Food Bank

In San Francisco, they’re all around you. 150,000 San Franciscans face the risk of hunger every day – that’s 1 in every 5 adults and 1 in every 4 children. Yes, a shocking 25% of the city’s children don’t have enough food to learn and grow properly.

Who are the hungry people?

They are parents, like Janie, giving up their own food so their children can eat. Here’s Janie’s story, in her own words:

I’ve been working since I was 12 – started out with a paper route, and I did a youth program and then I worked in delis and restaurants, but then I got injured. Now I’m disabled. People don’t come onto this earth thinking they’re going to be poor.

I have a son, a sophomore in high school. This is a growing kid who’s constantly eating, wants something to eat all the time. And, sad to say, a lot of times it’s like, “Mom, there’s nothing to eat.” And that’s the worst thing. When your child is hungry and he can’t just go into the refrigerator or cabinet and get something to eat when he wants it. And a lot of times, I eat less and sometimes don’t even eat, just so he can have something. Even if he gets lunch at school he comes home and he is just hungry.

Who are the hungry people?

• 40% of the households the San Francisco Food Bank serves have at least one working adult.

• 84% of San Francisco Food Bank client families with children had at least one person who lost their job, received a pay cut or had work hours cut back in 2009.

• The number of San Franciscans on food stamps has grown by some 52 percent since 2008 – but still, only 39.5 percent of those who are eligible participate in the food stamp program.

• 24,000 households in San Francisco count on the food bank for groceries to feed their families.

What can you do to help?

• Leave a comment below, and Tyson will add 100 pounds of chicken to a truck headed for the San Francisco Food Bank – up to 30,000 pounds. Protein is the most-needed item for food bank clients – and the most difficult to obtain. (we promise we will not use your email address for marketing purposes)

• Make a donation. For every $1 donated, the food bank can distribute $6 worth of food.

• Volunteer. Help sort, re-pack and clean food that’s headed to the 200+ grocery pantries in San Francisco and Marin County.
• Look around you and remember: In a city overflowing with good food, every 5th person is hungry.

The Youngest Tyson Hunger All-Star Yet

When we got involved in hunger ten years ago, we began hearing some incredible stories.  The most unlikely people in the most unlikely places doing tremendous work on the frontlines of fighting hunger.
That’s why when we put this blog up in 2007, we made a place for people to tell those stories themselves in the Hunger All-Star section.

This week, we honor one of most unlikely Hunger All-Stars yet.  5-year old Phoebe Russell, from San Francisco, after seeing a homeless man begging for food, decided she would raise $1000 by collecting cans to donate so people wouldn’t have to go hungry. She didn’t even know what $1000 was, but started calling relatives to help her out.

The phenomenal thing: Phoebe’s efforts raised more than $3700!!!

Her story came to our attention via Toan Lam, frequent contributor to the Huffington Post, and founder of the organization, GoInspireGo, which uses social networking to inspire social change.  His group created the video above.  You should check out their site.  Truly inspiring stories about phenomenal people.

We’re proud to present a truckload of food in Phoebe’s honor to the San Francisco Food  Bank.

Keep it up, Phoebe!!!  With you leading a future generation, we know there’s hope for an end to hunger.

I love it when a community comes together.



The Tyson Truck arrives at the food bank


By Ed Nicholson

 On Monday, we announced a collaborative effort, including Tyson Foods and the Social Media Club for the San Francisco Food Bank’s Hunger Challenge, part of their Hunger Action Month activities.
That support included Tyson donating 100 pounds of food to the food bank for every hunger fact in this post, up to a total donation of 100,000 pounds.
Though we’ve not added up all the tweets, it appears we–no, you–blew the roof off the 1000 tweets it would take to reach the 100,000 pound donation.  But you also did much more than that.
You leveraged your community to create desperately-needed awareness about the issue of hunger.  And awareness is something this issue needs as much as needs emergency food. 

Today, thanks to what you did, the first of three semi truckloads of Tyson products was delivered to the food bank.

On behalf of Tyson Foods, the Social Media Club and the San Francisco Food Bank, thank you for taking your time to contribute to this effort.

It’s time for another Hunger Challenge–You can help feed people in need

Last year, we had the opportunity to work with the San Francisco Food Bank and a great group of  bloggers to help raise awareness for hunger in the Bay Area during Hunger Action Month. It was a successful effort in which we asked for–and received–your assistance.   More than 2100 comments were submitted to this post, resulting in five truckoads of food being donated to Bay Area Food Banks.

We’re going to try something similar this year, with the help of the Hunger Challenge bloggers and the Social Media Club of San Francisco.

The whole idea is to use social media tools to increase awareness of the issue of hunger.  We won’t try to bribe you to become a Facebook fan. You don’t have to buy any products.  Here’s all you have to do:

There’s a list of hunger facts below.  All Tweetable.  Tweet  or retweet any of them with the hashtag  #HChal and Tyson Foods will make a 100 pound donation (up to a total of 100,000 pounds) to the San Francisco Food Bank.  Blog about this effort and we’ll donate 500 pounds.  Or comment to this post with your own verifiable fact (not opinion)  about hunger and we’ll donate 100 pounds.   That’s all you have to do. Let’s see how far and fast we can spread these facts out there in Twittervillle. If you’d like to make reference to this post, here’s a shortened URL:  http://bit.ly/sBE9x

Tweetable Facts About Hunger

More than 35 mil. people in the U.S. are on food stamps–up 3 million since Jan.  #HChal

App. 40% of families now on food stamps have "earned income"–up from just 25% 2 years ago.  #HChal #hungeraction

For every $1 donated @SFFoodBank can distribute $9 worth of groceries. #HChal #hungeraction

In San Francisco, 150K people are unsure where their next meal is coming from. #HChal #hungeraction

1 in 4 San Francisco children lack reg.access to food they need to learn, grow, & have a healthy start in life. #HChal

1 in 5 San Francisco adults can’t count on daily meals they need to lead healthy, productive lives. #HChal

1 in 4 San Francisco seniors lack the nourishment need to control chronic health problems. #HChal

@SFFoodBank distributed over 33.5 million pounds of food in the past year–nearly 8% more than the year before. #HChal

60% of the clients @SFFoodBank served last year come from working families.  #HChal

In CA, the average food stamp recicipient gets $4 a day to spend on food.  #HChal #hungeraction

In CA, a single person can get food stamps only if their yearly gross income is $14,079 or less. #HChal

5.3 mil. Californians are living below the federal poverty line ($21,834 for a family of 4) #HChal

The number of households participating in @SFFoodbank’s grocery pantry program is up 24% over last year. #HChal

You can help alleviate hunger with a single tweet this week:  http://bit.ly/sBE9x (no purchase or FB signup nec.) #HChal

Amy Sherman and Gayle Keck–Talk about the Hunger Challenge

Gayle Keck of the San Francisco Food Bank, and Amy Sherman, who does the Cooking With Amy blog, disucss how the Hunger Challenge was put together and executed.  Several Bay Area bloggers documented their experiences of living on $21 a week (a typical Food Stamp allotment)

It’s a great example of how social media can be put to good use creating much-needed awareness for the issue.