The National Urban League and Tyson Foods, Inc. are expanding their partnership in the fight against hunger. The announcement, made today at the 2013 National Urban League Annual Conference in Philadelphia, will involve a two-year hunger relief and healthawareness project in Tennessee.
Last year, the National Urban League and Tyson Foods teamed up to address hunger in Mississippi, the most food insecure state in the nation. They worked with the Urban League of Greater Jackson to donate 115,000 pounds of food, host nutrition and wellness fairs in Jackson and Vicksburg and help the Mississippi Food Network increase the number of agencies distributing food to some of the state’s most underserved areas.
Because of the success of this one-year pilot project, the National Urban League and Tyson Foods have decided to proceed with a similar initiative in Tennessee, where one in four children is considered food insecure. The Urban League of Middle Tennessee will spearhead local efforts to bring awareness to food resources and SNAP services in addition to the promotion of healthy eating and decreasing health disparities in Tennessee. Some of the more than 4,000 people Tyson Foods employs in Tennessee will also be involved in volunteer efforts along with assistance from local Urban League affiliate Guild and Young Professional auxiliary members.
“We’re always looking to make a difference and we believe one of the ways to do that is by working with groups like the National Urban League,” said Donnie Smith, president and CEO of Tyson Foods. “We saw that our work in Mississippi made a real difference, either by a food donation or a community awareness event. We’re excited to take what we started in Mississippi to my home state of Tennessee.”
Smith talked today about the project, as well as jobs, leadership and hunger awareness to almost 2,000 people at a business luncheon during the National Urban League Annual Conference. The presentation was moderated by CNN reporter T.J. Holmes.
“The issues facing many of our communities across America – whether unemployment, education disparities, poverty or hunger – require a concerted collaborative effort to solve,” said Marc H. Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League. “The National Urban League and Tyson Foods represent the kind of partnerships that are needed to meaningfully address the challenge of food insecurity in communities of greatest need, and we look forward to expanding the scope of our impact.”
Tyson Foods is one of the world’s largest food companies and has a customer base that includes restaurants, grocery stores and school districts in urban areas. The company has been active in hunger relief more many years, donating more than donated 92 million pounds of protein to food banks other relief agencies since 2000. As part of its KNOW Hunger campaign, Tyson Foods helped fund one of the largest and most comprehensive studies ever conducted on attitudes and perceptions of hunger, discovering that one-in-four Americans worry about having enough money to put food on the table.