Groups come together to fight hunger in Mississippi

Tyson Foods announced today a partnership with the National Urban League to establish a grassroots, community-based hunger awareness and relief program that will provide resources to Mississippi citizens impacted by food insecurity.

Dubbed the Urban League –Tyson Foods Hunger Project Mississippi, Tyson and the National Urban League are targeting the state because it has the highest percentage of food insecurity in the U.S. according to Feeding America. Launching in Jackson, this collaborative project will provide education and hunger relief statewide. The project will provide assistance to the estimated 19,000 people who are food insecure in Adams and Warren counties.

During the year-long pilot, Tyson Foods, the Urban League of Greater Jackson and the Mississippi Food Network (MFN) will work to improve access to food for people facing hunger by increasing the number of MFN member agencies distributing food in some of the most underserved areas of Mississippi. They will also host a pair of community fairs in Jackson and Vicksburg that will raise awareness through food preparation demonstrations, couponing workshops, education about food agency resources, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) registration, and nutritional, health and wellness education.

“Tyson Foods is honored to partner with an organization like the National Urban League that has a rich history of elevating the standard of living in historically underserved urban communities,” said Donnie Smith, president and CEO, Tyson Foods, Inc. “Both Tyson Foods and the National Urban League have facilities in Mississippi, so we’ll be going straight into our own communities to begin to alleviate the problem of hunger. We want to show America what can happen when a corporation and non-profit organization come together to fight hunger.”

“Nearly 25 percent of African-American households face hunger every day1 and Adams and Warren counties have been impacted by the sharp rise in food and fuel costs and cuts made to federal assistance programs,” said Marc H. Morial, president and CEO, National Urban League. “This partnership enables and empowers the people of Jackson by providing valuable resources and necessary access to quality food.”

To commemorate the alliance, Tyson Foods today announced the donation of 30,400 pounds of protein, which will be distributed through the Mississippi Food Network. The announcement was made as part of the kick-off event held at The Art Garden at the Mississippi Museum of Art.

Since 2000, Tyson has donated 86 million pounds of much-needed protein to hundreds of food banks, food pantries and relief agencies in 48 states. In 2011, Tyson helped fund one of the largest and most comprehensive studies ever conducted on attitudes and perceptions of hunger. The study found that one-in-four Americans worry about having enough money to put food on the table.

In order to receive assistance from the SNAP, individuals must live below 130 percent of poverty level. For a family of four, that means an income of less than $2,389 per month. In Adams County, 61 percent of the population lives below 130 percent of the poverty line and in Warren County that number falls to 51 percent.

For more information about the Urban League–Tyson Foods Hunger Project Mississippi, visit www.tysonhungerrelief.com