"There is a tendency to think about hunger on Thanksgiving or Christmas but hunger exists every day," said John Tyson, chairman of the Springdale, Ark., food giant, an AWB member since 1981.
To help make a dent in the hunger problem and spark more community involvement, Tyson contributed 1 million pounds of meat this March to food banks and pantries in 23 states, the latest in a series of the company’s in-kind donations. In the last 10 years, Tyson has donated the equivalent of 312 million meals in the U.S.
Tyson’s donation was accepted with open arms by social service agencies.
“While we provide many different kinds of foods to the agencies we serve, meat and poultry are typically among the most requested, but least available, foods,” said Lynn Brantley, president and CEO of Washington, D.C.’s Capital Area Food Bank.
To put hunger on the front burner, Tyson teamed up with the Food Research and Action Center to commission a nationwide survey of 1,509 adults on hunger as part of his company's KNOW Hunger campaign. Hart Research Associates conducted the survey.
Thirty-five percent of respondents said they personally know someone who has experienced the problem of hunger in the past year. And the bad economy is making the problem even worse.
"There is a new face to hunger: people who have lost their jobs," said Tyson.
Additionally, 80 percent of respondents believed organizations and leaders in their local communities should play a major role in the effort to ensure that low-income families and children have the food and nutrition they need.
“The research shows that the vast majority of Americans believe that hunger is a problem for the country, and it also shows they are committed to the belief that no one should go hungry,” said Jim Weill, president of FRAC.
“As we’ve become involved in hunger relief over the past 10 years, engaging our employees, customers and communities, we’ve seen evidence of what this survey confirms,” said Tyson. “People do think hunger is a serious issue. They’re willing to become involved. But they also need to be shown how it directly impacts their own communities. We believe creating more awareness creates more involvement.”