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A family to feed and only $100 for the week – that’s the challenge millions of Americans in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) face.
More than one in seven Americans, or about 46 million people, receive SNAP benefits. The program currently provides low-income people an average of $25 per person per week. However, for some families, the money is often not enough, forcing them to turn to local food pantries and soup kitchens.
Tyson Foods and animal health company Elanco held a SNAP Challenge, a hunger-awareness event with teams from both companies given $100 each to shop for a week’s worth of food for a family of four. The teams included Tyson President and CEO Donnie Smith and Elanco President Jeff Simmons.
After shopping, the teams returned to Tyson’s Springdale, Ark., headquarters, where they presented their food purchases to a panel that judged them on criteria such as effective use of funds, nutritional value and culinary creativity. The food was subsequently donated to the Northwest Arkansas Food Bank.
“The SNAP Challenge brought us face to face with the real-life difficulties too many Americans have feeding their families each week,” Smith said. “It’s just another reason why our company is so committed to fighting hunger and generating more public awareness of hunger in our country.”
Because of the effectiveness of the SNAP Challenge, the two companies are considering repeating the exercise in some of their other plant communities.
“This exercise reaffirms our belief that no matter who you are, or where you are, you deserve access to safe, nutritious and affordable food every day,” Simmons said. “We believe it’s important for more people to join the fight against hunger and continue utilizing existing technologies and new innovations to help feed a growing population.”
Since 2000, Tyson has donated 86 million pounds of protein to hundreds of food banks, food pantries and relief agencies in 48 states. Tyson last year helped fund the largest and most comprehensive study ever conducted on attitudes and perceptions of hunger, which found that one in four Americans worried about having enough money to put food on the table in 2011.
Tyson Foods Inc. is one of the world’s largest processors and marketers of chicken, beef and pork.