Tyson Foods has contributed more than $60 million for hunger relief in four years and it's honoring Meals that Matter Heroes and Hunger Heroes.
In 2015, the company pledged $50 million in cash and product donations by 2020 to fight hunger. The company’s contributions consist of hunger relief grants to nonprofit organizations and more than 5 million pounds of protein donated to food banks, community pantries and disaster relief efforts.
In honor of achieving and exceeding its 50 in 5 goal, the company is honoring three Meals that Matter Heroes, individuals who are dedicated to fighting hunger in a variety of ways. The company is also honoring 21 Homegrown Hunger Heroes that were nominated by Tyson Foods team members.
“Part of our company culture is doing what we say we will do,” said John R. Tyson, chief sustainability officer, Tyson Foods. “By setting this goal and achieving it in just four years, we’ve followed through on our commitment in a way that has impacted lives across the country.”
Meals that Matter Heroes
The three Meals that Matter Heroes were awarded a total of $160,000 to further their hunger relief missions.
“After meeting our three heroes, I was inspired by their passion, creativity and determination to address hunger,” said Tyson. “All three saw a challenge, took action and are making a difference in their communities and across the country. We’re honored to support their work.”
The first Meals that Matter Hero is Jonathan Lawler, a produce farmer in Greenfield, Indiana, who established Brandywine Creek Farms as a nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting hunger in Central Indiana. Lawler is also focused on creating urban farms in Indianapolis, educating the community on agriculture and providing fresh produce to the city’s food deserts.
Brandywine Creek Farms has donated approximately 2.1 million pounds of produce in Central Indiana since 2016.
Tyson Foods awarded Lawler $100,000 to expand the farm’s operations and ensure its mission remains sustainable for the near future.
“Like many farmers throughout the country, the spring flooding caused delays in planting and ultimately a smaller harvest,” said Lawler. “But more importantly, it meant those who struggle with hunger weren’t receiving the produce we would typically be donating. This investment by Tyson Foods helped save our season and will make a difference in thousands of lives in Indiana.”
Lawler is opening a small grocery store in Indianapolis with the goal of bringing fresh, affordable food to one of the city’s largest food deserts. Lawler will also use the space to establish a pay-what-you-can café, a model for hunger relief he became interested in after meeting Maggie Kane, the second hero Tyson Foods honored.
Kane is the founder and executive director of A Place at the Table, the first pay-what-you-can café in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina. Kane was inspired to open the restaurant after spending six years advocating for those in Raleigh struggling with homelessness and hunger. The café opened in 2018 and has served thousands of people a meal regardless of means. The café’s model allows patrons to pay the suggested price for their meal, pay what they can, or volunteer in the café in exchange for their meal.
Tyson Foods awarded Kane a $30,000 grant to help build a new commercial kitchen that will allow them to provide more meals.
“While we have served over 10,000 meals since opening in January 2018, the addition of a professional kitchen will help us realize our full potential of how A Place at the Table can serve the Raleigh, N.C. community,” said Kane.
Jasmine Crowe, founder and CEO of Goodr, a company that addresses food waste by leveraging blockchain technology to recover food and ensure delivery to nonprofits and those in need, is the third honoree. Crowe was inspired to launch Goodr after years of feeding people from her own kitchen and realizing hunger isn’t a scarcity issue, it’s a logistics issue.
Tyson Foods awarded Crowe $30,000 to help establish the company’s charitable giving arm.
“Our foundation will focus on strengthening our communities through our beloved nonprofit partners," Crowe said. "We’ll provide microgrants for kitchen equipment and organics recycling programs to truly close the loop on food waste. We’ll also offer free ServeSafe training to nonprofit chefs, healthy cooking demos and host our pop-up grocery stores in new markets as we launch across the nation.”
Homegrown Hunger Heroes
The Homegrown Hunger Heroes were awarded $2,500 each for their individual hunger relief projects in their communities. Tyson invested $52,500 to 21 different hunger relief projects being led by the Homegrown Hunger Heroes. The Hunger Heroes:
- Rosa Rosario-Amaro – Pantry Organizer, New Holland, Pa.
- Barbara Aument – Backpack Ministries, Monroe, N.C.
- Michael Bolin - Pantry Organizer, Green Forest, Ark.
- Cindy Bosley – Community Meal Program, Storm Lake, Iowa
- Stephanie Brown – Food Bank of Reno County, Hutchinson, Kan.
- Moises Chan – Tyson Foods Chaplain, Springdale, Ark.
- Danielle Duggan – Arkansas Tech University, Russellville, Ark.
- Victor Espinoza – Pantry Organizer, Logansport, Ind.
- Lisa Hamerlinck and Betsey Wanderscheid, North High School Food Pantry, Sioux City, Iowa
- Ray Haught – Tyson Foods Chaplain, Monett, Mo.
- Tony Holland – Pantry Organizer, Albertville, Ala.
- Raymond Holt – Second Baptist Compassion Center, Clarksville, Ark.
- Valeria Hyde – Trudy’s Kids Café, Union City, Tenn.
- Chuck and Pattie Jarrett, Cup of Love Food Pantry, Eureka Springs, Ark.
- David Santillan – Breaking Bread, Robards, Ky.
- Pam Sarnat – St. Paul’s Episcopal Community Meal Program, Fayetteville, Ark.
- Kate Schaumberg – Our Kids Program, Seymour, Wis.
- Alexandria Severs – Backpack Program, Monett, Mo.
- Megan Trout – Homeless Shelter, Chicago, Ill.
- Michael Wennekamp – Two Rivers YMCA, Boys & Girls Club, Joslin, Ill.
- Ken Willis – Pantry Organizer, Glen Allen, Va.