News Roundup, May 23, 2016

Oklahoma City Dodgers Take a Swing at Hunger

The Oklahoma City Dodgers and The Salvation Army are stepping up to bat with Feed the Children and community organizations in the Oklahoma City area to help strike out hunger. On Wed., May 18, 400 families received food and essentials filling one Feed the Children semitruck at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. In Oklahoma City alone, nearly 17 percent of families live below the poverty line and are unsure of how they will provide their next meal.

Each pre-identified, participating family received a 25-pound box of food; a 10-pound box of much-needed essentials like shampoo, conditioner, lotion and personal-care items; and a box with assorted Avon products. Additional community organizations participated in the event by providing complimentary services and products to the families, including nutritional services provided by ONIE, financial literacy services provided by MidFirst Bank, career and family services, health screenings, and free haircuts provided by Fade N Up Barber Shop, Kompliments Hair Studio and Raylyn Taylor Salon.

13227726_10154147845423798_938997532661586256_oVolunteers from the OKC Dodgers, The Salvation Army and Feed the Children were on-site serving and assisting, as well as the OKC Dodgers President/General Manager, Michael Byrnes, The Salvation Army Associate Area Commander, Major Charlotte Gargis, and Feed the Children President and CEO, J.C. Watts, Jr.

“Feed the Children strives to provide hope and resources to those without life’s essentials,” said J.C. Watts, Jr., Feed the Children President and CEO. “We are honored to partner with the OKC Dodgers and The Salvation Army in the fight to end hunger here in our own backyard.”

With this event the OKC Dodgers and The Salvation Army are helping kick off Feed the Children’s FEED Caravan initiative. The FEED Caravan consists of Feed the Children semitrucks traveling across the state providing food and books to children in need during the summer months. One in four children in Oklahoma faces hunger, and the threat is even greater during the summer months when they don’t have access to their school lunch programs. The FEED Caravan will give these children an opportunity to receive the essentials they deserve. Breaking the cycle of hunger gives children the chance to enjoy their summer like every child should.

One Day without Shoes

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 4.54.53 PMOn Tues., May 10, Feed the Children’s longtime partner, TOMS, set a goal to donate 100,000 new pairs of shoes to children in need. Feed the Children employees helped raise awareness by spending the day without shoes. One way Feed the Children employees were able to do this was by symbolically sponsoring a child and then writing the child’s name on their feet.

With each use of the hashtag #withoutshoes on Instagram May 10, TOMS planned to donate a new pair of shoes to children in 10 countries. Feed the Children employees used their personal social-media channels in an effort to get others to join in on the fun.

Each year, TOMS designates one day without shoes to raise awareness for children’s health and education across the globe. TOMS’s dream is that one day, all children will have shoes. Feed the Children has been teaming up with TOMS since 2011, providing hope and resources to those without life’s essentials.

Feed the Children Reaches Out Following Tornado

One of Feed the Children’s primary activities is to help areas affected by natural disasters, whether around the world or in our own backyard. Just recently we took part in a Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) in Sulphur, Oklahoma following a tornado on May 9.

Capture1MARC events allow a variety of agencies to come together in a coordinated response to these disasters. This month’s event took place at the Crossway Baptist Church Recreation Center. Feed the Children contributed two pallets of disaster relief boxes, food and toiletries.

In Murray County alone, some fifty-five homes were destroyed, eleven sustained major damage, and seven others were affected in some way. Garvin, Johnston, Coal and several other counties also had reports of damage, but the bulk of the devastation took place in the Sulphur area. Other participating agencies included the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, United Methodist Disaster Response of Oklahoma, Catholic Charities, and Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma.

Feed the Children distributed more than $344 million in food, essentials, educational supplies, and medicine, impacting close to 9 million individuals in the U.S. and more than 4.9 million individuals internationally, for a total of 13.9 million individuals globally in fiscal year 2014.

Massachusetts Families Receive Help and Hope

Price Rite joined Feed the Children, PepsiCo and the Revival Time Evangelical Center to lend a hand to families in Springfield, Massachusetts last week. Some 800 families received a variety of items at Price Rite of West Springfield, where two Feed the Children semi-trucks’ worth of food and essentials were distributed. In Springfield, nearly 15 percent of families live below the poverty line.

All participating families were pre-identified based on need by the Revival Time Evangelical Center. Each family received a 25-pound box of food; a 10-pound box of much-needed essentials like shampoo, conditioner, lotion and personal-care items; and a box with assorted Avon products. Families also received an additional food donation from Price Rite. Volunteers were on-site to help distribute the items to families.

The event is one of many Feed the Children has planned across the country to help feed bodies, minds and futures. “Price Rite is proud to join Feed the Children in its efforts to help local families in need,” said Jim Dorey, executive vice president for Price Rite. “As a food company, alleviating hunger and food insecurity in the communities served by our Price Rite stores has always been a focus of our charitable giving. By partnering with Feed the Children, we can help ease the stress on struggling families by supplying them with basic but important items for their homes.”

The supermarket chain contributes approximately $400,000 annually to local food banks and food pantries to benefit local families in need within the communities it serves. Heading into the second year of its partnership with Feed the Children, Price Rite will host eight to ten events with the charity organization during 2016, donating more than 40,000 pounds of food and other essentials per event as part of the program.


Don’t Wait for ‘Someday’ to Do Your Part: North Carolina Man to Run Fifty Miles for Feed the Children

Ask someone who works two demanding jobs what they do in their free time, and you may get one of these responses:
a) Sleep.
b) Chill out with some TV.
c) Free time? What free time?

But if you’re Thomas VonCannon of Raleigh, NC, there’s another option:
d) train for a fifty mile race and raise money for Feed the Children in the process.

Thomas VonCannon, raising funds for Feed the Children
Thomas VonCannon with his cheering section

“My wife will be the first to tell you, I’ve always been a little insane,” VonCannon says. He’s dreamed of taking on “off the wall races” such as the Black Hills 100, a grueling hundred-mile race in South Dakota in which only 35% finish. But to get there, he says, you need a fifty miler under your belt. So he registered for the North Face Endurance Challenge April 18-19, which runs along the Potomac River near Washington DC on a series of rocky and hilly trails.

VonCannon is not a lifelong runner—he was a self-described “marching band nerd” in school who ran his first race in his 20s when a buddy challenged him to do so. Since that first 5K, he’s done a handful of half marathons, marathons and triathlons. But this is his first fifty-miler, and his first race in about six years. “Before signing up for North Face, I’d try to get out there once a week for maybe three to five miles,” VonCannon says. “I hadn’t run more than ten miles in a long time, until I started training for this.”

VonCannon knew from the start that his race experience should have a greater purpose. “I wanted to do something for a charity. I believe we should be ‘light in the world,’ and back up what we believe with action, not just words.” So VonCannon turned to his employer, hotel chain Concord Hospitality, for suggestions on a worthy cause to support.

Concord Share Day 2014 Tampa
Concord Share Day 2014 in Tampa

Concord has partnered with Feed the Children for six years through its Share Day event. This past year, some 200 hotel employees across the country raised funds to bring Feed the Children’s “truckloads of hope” to the communities in which Concord hotels are located. These trucks are stuffed with care packages containing food and hygiene items, and 235,200 packages were delivered in 2014 alone.

Thomas chose Feed the Children based on this long-standing relationship with Concord. “I cannot say enough about how supportive and amazing Concord has been,” he says. VonCannon has already raised much of his $1000 goal thanks to friends, family and work associates, but he’d love to surpass that goal in the few weeks he has left.

VonCannon works a night shift for Concord 3-4 nights a week. That’s in addition to his other job as a General Manager for a sports bar, a job that has him working six days a week. Still, he says the training’s going well. “This week I worked Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, so I had to hit the training hard early in the week.” That meant thirteen miles one day, fifteen the next, followed by “easy” four and five mile runs. Because he’s in uncharted territory, he isn’t sure how long these fifty miles will take, but he’d be “ecstatic” to finish in less than ten hours. “I’m not built for speed,” he says, though his 3:50 marathon time finishes put him in respectable company among recreational runners.

In addition to training, VonCannon knows that a race like this is largely mental. “It’s important to keep things in perspective,” he says. “There are people fighting for our country right now; there are hungry children around the world… and I’m running a silly race.”

Concord Share Day 2014 Tampa
Concord Share Day 2014 in Tampa

But VonCannon also realizes that it’s up to each of us to do what we can to make a difference. In addition to his two jobs, VonCannon stays busy with two young children as well as church activities. Still, he says, “I got tired of talking about doing something ‘one day.’ There’s always going to be something to prevent you from doing that thing you really want to do.”

“Some people wait for change… some people work for change.”

To contribute to VonCannon’s effort, visit his Crowdrise page.