The Power of Giving

 

 

Students from the ’09 Las Vegas Student Food Drive

By Susan Brockway

At Tyson Foods, we recently wrapped up our third year of sponsorship of the Student Food Drive.  For food banks and families at risk, it is now time to evaluate if this was a success or a program that did not meet expectations.  My job is to assemble the numbers, look at the investment, measure the outcomes and see if in fact this was a good investment of resources over the past three years. 
I would be the person grant writers hate. 
As I took calculator in one hand and pen in the other, my unbiased evaluation was tempered by one memorable experience:  A sixteen year old young woman came and talked to me in Las Vegas and told me a story about a family’s kids who had only one certain meal a day, and that was at school.  Often, the family split up at friends’ homes for dinner.  Most of the time everyone got something to hold them over until the next day. The family was hers.Yet this young woman brought in one case of canned fruit and said her contribution would help another family. My heart hurt for her, not out of sympathy but out of pride. Never underestimate the power of our children.  In the end, they understand more than their years. 
It was an honor to meet the hundreds of young people who will change how we look at hunger.  Support them on their journey. 
 

Where’s the next generation of hunger fighters going to come from?

 

 

High School Students in Las Vegas Fighting Hunger for Three Square Food Bank

By Ed Nicholson

Take a look around food banks, food pantries and hunger relief organizations, and you’ll see some phenomenal volunteers; engaged, dedicated, selfless, energetic, intelligent, passionate. 

Problem is, a whole lot of these volunteers are, shall we say, of "a certain age." (And I can use the categorization because I’m every bit of "a certain age" myself).  Not as many younger folks. 

So what’s going to happen when those in our generation retire from volunteering? 

For the past three years, at Tyson Foods, we’ve been piloting The Student Food Drive with selected Feeding America food banks across the country.  This effort engages high school students in raising funds and food for their local food bank. It requires a coordinated effort among schools, food banks, and local sponsors, but done right, the results are phenomenal:  Students become aware of hunger in their own community, while developing leadership skills.  If the food bank makes the effective connections, they have stakeholders for life. 

In 2009, these food banks/ communities are joining others who have come on board to do Student Food Drives in the past three years:

Southeast Missouri Food Bank   Cape Girardeau, Missouri
Lowcountry Food Bank     Charleston, South Carolina
Mountaineer Food Bank    Gassaway, West Virginia
Channel One Food Bank    Rochester, Minnesota
Second Harvest Food Bank of East Central Indiana     Muncie, Indiana
Three Square Food Bank       Las Vegas, Nevada

So what are you doing in your community to "rejuvenate" the pool of enaged hunger fighters?

 

Six Student Food Drives Kick Off

 

 

 

               

 

Above—Students from St. Paul, Arkansas, at the kickoff of the Northwest Arkanas  Student Food Drive

 Tyson product donations accompanied the kickoff celebrations of six Student Food Drives across the U.S.  This year, Student Food Drives will be benefiting America’s Second Harvest Food Banks in Moline, Illinois; Amarillo, Texas; Memphis,  Tennessee; Northest Arkansas; Waterloo, Iowa; and Phoenix, Arizona. 
 Tyson donated a truckload of food for each event, with product totalling more than 212,000 pounds. The donations will be divided among student teams to account for their totals in the food drives. 
 The students will be blogging about their experience in the Student Food Drive at www.studentfooddrive.org.