Community Grants to Address Food Insecurity through Mobile Pantries, Backpack Programs and Increased Capacity Building
As part of Tyson Foods' ongoing efforts to address food insecurity in its communities, the company announced last month $1.8 million in new hunger relief grants. Twenty Feeding America member food banks and other community hunger relief agencies in 14 states were awarded grants to enhance access to nutritious food and combat hunger. The investments represent approximately five million pounds of food or the equivalent of 20 million servings.
Tyson Foods is a long-standing partner of Feeding America and supports its nationwide network of food banks with financial contributions, product donations of much needed protein, disaster relief assistance and volunteer efforts.
"Feeding America is thankful to Tyson Foods for its commitment to fighting hunger in communities across the country and for helping to build capacity of local food banks," said Nancy Curby, senior vice president, corporate partnerships at Feeding America. "One in eight people face hunger in America, including more than 12 million children. Through our partnership, we are able to help provide more food to people who face hunger."
Today's announcement also marks a significant step toward reaching the company's 50-in-5 commitment, an effort to address hunger in Tyson Foods communities by donating $50 million in cash and in-kind donations by 2020.
The grants were awarded in response to requests for proposals by food banks and hunger relief organizations seeking to improve the efficiency of their operations or provide support for urgent feeding programs. The grants are focused in three strategic areas:
Food Bank Capacity
The company is donating almost $800,000 to seven Feeding America member food banks to increase capacity and improve their ability to operate more effectively and efficiently. Grants will fund projects for enhanced distribution to local food pantries, improved warehouse operations and more effective transportation systems.
The company's efforts to support its communities include $150,000 to the Food Bank of Iowa in Des Moines to support purchase of a refrigerated truck, refrigerated van, and improvements to fork lifts and pallet jacks.
"Tyson Foods' generous support shows they understand that food banks are as much about logistics as they are food," said Michelle Book, President and CEO of the Food Bank of Iowa. "This grant will help us ensure that we have the reliable, modern equipment we need to serve children and hardworking food insecure Iowans across 30,000 square miles of our state."
Almost $610,000 was awarded to 14 Feeding America member food banks to increase capacity or establish mobile food pantries in 11 states. Each organization awarded grant funds will strive to distribute food to a minimum of 250 individuals every month for 12 months. Providing nutritious food is also a focus of these investments. Grantees will ensure that at least 75% of the food provided is vegetables, fruits and protein.
Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee in Nashville, Tennessee, was awarded $74,000 and plans to deliver approximately 480,000 pounds of food to 500 households a month as a result of the grant.
"Since Tyson Foods began supporting our Mobile Pantry program in July 2018, we have provided more than 180,000 pounds of fresh, nutritious food to nearly 1,800 households living in the Shelbyville community where a Tyson Foods plant is located," said Jaynee Day, president and CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee. "This partnership will allow this amazing work to continue and these new funds will allow us to feed an additional community in South Nashville."
The company is also donating $378,000 to two Feeding America member food banks and five community hunger relief organizations to support backpack programs for food insecure children. The grants will underwrite the cost of food, assembly, delivery and distribution of backpacks.
The Community Services Clearinghouse in Fort Smith, Arkansas, was awarded $100,000 to deliver over 50,000 backpacks of nutritious food to at-risk students in 142 public schools in the 7 counties it serves. These weekend bags of food help food insecure students with much needed food for time spent away from school and be better prepared to learn come Monday morning.
"This generous grant from Tyson Foods will enable us to provide thousands of weekend backpacks with nutritious foods to at-risk students in the counties we serve," said Chuck Goux, executive director, Community Services Clearinghouse. "Our 30-year-old Meals for Kids Back Pack program is now stabilized for the foreseeable future and we have the food items necessary to complete this current school year and beyond."