The second stop of my mini-tour last week was in Bloomfield, Connecticut, where Scott Henderson and I visited Foodshare foodbank to help fulfill the donation brought about by lots of Connecticut people engaging in the WeCanEndThis.com digital can drive. We were also privileged to see Darryl Ohrt, whose company Humongo played a big role in the success of WeCanEnd This.
As I’ve mentioned before, visiting foodbanks is always inspiring, especially when the leadership takes the time to visit with us, as Foodshare President and CEO, Gloria McAdam did. Here’s a bit of an interview I did with Gloria in which she describes the landscape of the issue of hunger in her area, plus the work of the foodbank.
It was a great trip in many ways: Traveling with my friend Scott Henderson; getting to see Tim Cipriano, passionate hunger fighter and Share Our Strength supporter, who also runs what might be the most progressive school lunch program in the nation for the New Haven School District; meeting great folks like Nancy Carrington, Gladys Alcedo and all the folks at CFB, and Gloria McAdam, Amanda Renna and all the folks at Foodshare; going to Wednesday evening’s Taste of the Nation New Haven event at Yale’s Woolsey Hall (wow!).
One of the most inspiring things about visiting foodbanks is meeting and talking with the people who make it happen every day for hunger in their communities. I try to get interviews with foodbank E.D./CEOs when I go out. Which brings me to the title of this post.
Nancy Carrington, who’s been with the Connecticut Food Bank for 26 years, was particularly articulate about the work of the food bank, hunger in her community and misplaced stereotypes of hungry people. She related a story about a single mom she’d met at a soup kitchen, who provides a great example for us of how hunger is affecting people in our own neighborhoods. The story starts right before the 3 minute mark in the video above.
Do you have any stories like this? I’d like to hear them.
By Ed Nicholson
On Monday, I had the privilege of sitting in on the first WeCanEndThis Cause Lab, a day-long think tank at the annual South by Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin, focused on arriving at new solutions to the problem of hunger in the U.S. Big vision guy, Scott Henderson conceived the event, and assembled it with with CauseShift partners Anne Bertelsen and Brian Reich, along with an all-star cast of non-profit and corporate partners (full-disclosure: Tyson Foods was a partner).
Altogether, the event drew a couple hundred participants throughout the day: a diverse bunch that included not only professional hunger fighters, but social good advocates from outside the cause, and socially-minded techsters. A full overview of who, what and how can be found at WeCanEndThis.com so I won’t go into detail here. Go check it out; it was a very interesting day.
Here’s why I think the event was a worthwhile investment of all of the participants’ time and resources:
If hunger is to be "solved," (and I think all of us in the game hold great hope that’s something that can occur), it won’t happen because one organization makes it happen. And it won’t happen if all of us keep a singleminded focus on our own organizational objectives (as worthy as they might be). It’s going to take a collaborative effort among every single person and group now out there working on the cause. It’s going to take competitors working together. That happened here, with Share Our Strength and Feeding America coming to the table, as well as Tyson and ConAgra, and others in the consulting, tech and social services sectors who might otherwise compete for resources or share of mind. I think a lot of smart people have come to that realization, and you’re beginning to see more collaboration than ever before.
The solution (or more likely, solutions) to hunger won’t come solely from those currently leading the fight. It’s going to take more people; intelligent, innovative people; people totally unencumbered by a "been there, done that, won’t work" mindset. It’s going to take more and more people who, in studying the problem, arrive at the gut check that hunger is in every community, and in some way, affects every single one of us. In this one place, on this one day, I hope there were some new converts, who will stay involved as WeCanEndThis embarks upon the rest of a year-long noble experiment.
Today, Tyson Foods joins a great cast of partners in the launch of WeCanEndThis.com, a yearlong initiative to spark innovation and a broader engagement in the movement to end hunger in America. Please go to WeCanEndThis.com to learn more about this bold effort.
While you’re there, you can take the first step to secure a truckload of food to be donated into your state from Tyson Foods. When you promise to help end hunger, we will give you a digital can of food to donate to the state of your choice. On March 18 at 5pm ET, we will tally the digital cans and the top ten states will each win a truckload of Tyson Products to be donated to a Feeding America Food Bank in their state in the next few months.
15 days. 1.5 million meals. 10 states. Be a part of it.