Once a month, my kids' school holds a school spirit day which includes a school-wide community service project. The younger kids are asked to bring an item in that is donated to a local community group in need. For October, the school is requesting donations of canned food for the local food pantry.
"With living costs soaring, many local families are struggling to makes ends meet, and nowhere can it be seen with more clarity than on the lengthening lists of people being helped by the local food pantry."
Hunger is not only local issue, but also a global one. So, while we were in the grocery store picking up some extra canned goods, I was thinking about the different hunger awareness campaigns that have come across my email this past week or two - and wondering how I might creatively take some personal action myself (beyond buying a few extra canned goods during our weekly grocery trip).
Then I remembered the invitation to participate in the Weight Watchers Lose for Good, a campaign created to empower people to get healthier while also giving back to others in need. The program addresses two global epidemics – obesity and chronic hunger and malnutrition.
For every pound lost with Weight Watchers during a six-week period, beginning September 7 and ending October 18, Weight Watchers will donate the cost of one pound of food -- up to one million dollars. The funds will go to two hunger-fighting organizations: Share Our Strength, which works to make sure no child in America grows up hungry, and Action Against Hunger, which provides immediate and long-term solutions for hunger to people around the world.
So, I thought - why not drop that ten pounds that I've been meaning to lose and help some other folks too? I signed up.
I also kept thinking about the inspiring social media infused fund raising that Connie Reece, David Neff, and Mike Chapman (through the local Austin Social Media Club and 501 Tech Club) have been doing for the Austin Foodbank. I also wondered if there were some ways that I could support this issue that were more immediate than losing ten pounds? I also kept thinking about strategies to keep in me on track to lose for good.
So, here's what else I did:
1. Set Up A Campaign at ThePoint
I set up a campaign over at ThePoint. If I lose ten pounds, the Austin Foodbank will receive a donation. What's cool is that you can pledge a donation too, but you don't have to pay unless I lose the ten pounds. I figure that ought to give me some will power.
2. Social Actions TwitterFeed
I've set up a the Social Actions Twitterfeed to search and post for hunger related campaigns and actions. The Social Actions Twitterfeed will search through 24 platforms for hunger related campaigns and automatically post them to my automated twitter account. (I have two Twitter accounts - one for relationship building and one where I will post automated feeds. I'm mostly doing this to test out what the Twitterfeed can do.
3. I left A Comment To Help With Tyson Foods Hunger Relief in California
This was soooo much easier than resisting chocolate. All I had to do was leave a comment on this post. For every comment on the post receives, Tyson Foods will donate 100 pounds of high-quality protein (up to a total of 200,000 pounds) to the six Bay Area food banks. So, leave a comment and let them know that Beth sent you.
4. Signed up for Blog Action Day
Blog Action Day is an annual nonprofit event that aims to unite the world’s bloggers, podcasters and videocasters, to post about the same issue on the same day. The goal is to raise awareness and trigger a global discussion. The focus is on poverty reduction and certainly hunger awareness is part of that theme.
How else would you take action against local or global hunger issues? What are the best examples of hunger organizations using social media to raise awareness or dollars for this cause?