Raising the world’s expectations for how much good food can do extends to sharing our products with communities in need.
More than 41 million Americans live in food-insecure households, according to Feeding America. Hunger exists in every state, city and community in our country. We are deeply committed to relieving hunger in the U.S. and lending a helping hand to communities affected by food insecurity.
We formalized that commitment in 2015 by pledging “50 in 5”: to give $50 million in cash or in-kind donations over five years to fight hunger. And in FY2019, we were thrilled to meet our goal one year early, donating nearly $60 million, amounting to almost 51,000,000 pounds of food.
How We Reached “50 in 5”
We achieved this goal through a combination of efforts that attacked the problem of hunger on multiple levels. The majority of our contributions came in the form of product donations. Donating food products allows us to feed those in need while reducing excess product in our business. In FY2019, we donated more food than ever before.
In addition to product donations, we awarded $2.9 million in hunger relief grants to roughly 80 projects. These included grants for “urgent feeding” programs that enhance access to nutritious foods for those who struggle with food insecurity. In FY2019, Tyson Foods made approximately 30 awards totaling $1 million to fund mobile pantries and backpack programs that help stabilize individuals’ food needs during periods of episodic hunger.
Tyson Foods invested in capacity-building: helping food banks build their physical infrastructure to store, refrigerate and deliver food throughout a region. Grants supported specific needs such as storage, equipment and vehicles. At the local level, our Community Pantry Initiative has a best-in-class model for community food pantries. Pantries in Tyson Foods communities that are selected as partners must adopt these practices. In return, we are able to donate more product to them and increase the provision of high-quality protein and other foods in the community while enhancing the pantries’ capacity to provide food and decreasing costs to secure it. Increasing community pantry capacity enables us to donate product more directly to people facing food insecurity in our communities. It also serves to decrease costs associated with transporting excess product greater distances to regional food bank locations. In FY2019, we invested in 12 pantries located in Tyson Foods communities, donating more than 400,000 pounds of protein to these organizations.
When considering pantries for the Community Pantry Program, we evaluate the following criteria:
- Estimated storage capacity and ability to receive product, including chilled and frozen product.
- Ability of the pantry to handle large-volume donations in terms of staffing, equipment and operating hours.
- Whether the pantry owns or leases their building, to determine whether capital investments have longevity.
- Current operating hours and/or willingness to change operating hours to accommodate community demand.
- Operating budget and ability to sustain facility for a three-year period.
- Sustainability of staffing plan and reliance on volunteers.
- Alignment of pantry’s service area with communities near Tyson Foods plants.
Team Member Support
Tyson Foods team members are important contributors to our hunger relief efforts. Their commitment and enthusiasm helped us elevate those working to alleviate hunger in our communities and reach our “50 in 5” goal.
Miles that Matter
Our Miles that Matter program encourages team members to walk, run or cycle for charity. For every mile logged, we donate a pound of food to a local food bank. In FY2019, we expanded the program to 25 chapters that donated 345,000 pounds of food to 14 feeding agencies. We also held an expo at Tyson Foods headquarters in Springdale where team members could learn about nearby events they could participate in.
Hometown Hunger Heroes
To help celebrate our “50 in 5” achievement, we sent out a call to team members for nominations of people in Tyson Foods communities (not necessarily team members themselves) who are going above and beyond to provide hunger relief. We received dozens of nominations, and out of that pool selected 21 “Homegrown Hunger Heroes.” Each received a $2,500 grant to apply to his or her hunger relief organization of choice. We also selected three national Hunger Heroes to honor people who are making a difference on a larger scale. Two of these heroes received grants of $30,000 each, while our overall national winner received a grant of $100,000.