Once a year, Blog Action Day unites bloggers around the world to focus on an important global issue and to create a dialogue that transcends international borders. This year, Blog Action Day’s focus is FOOD as it coincides with World Food Day that aims to increase awareness, understanding and fuel year-around action to alleviate hunger.
The stats on world hunger are staggering:
- According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, close to one billion people are chronically hungry.
- Hunger is the world’s No. 1 health risk and kills more people every year that AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.
- There are more hungry people in the world than the combined populations of the US, Canada, and the European Union.
The stats on how many Americans are hungry and undernourished are equally troubling given our abundant resources:
- According to the Department of Agriculture 15 percent of Americans go hungry or specifically are “food insecure” meaning they can’t afford to eat right or eat enough.
Taking a closer look at a particular region of the US, hunger affects close to 1 million individuals throughout the Delaware Valley (area surrounding Philadelphia). That’s the service area for Philabundance, an amazing Convio client that provides food to approximately 65,000 people per week through direct services and network of 500 member agencies. The organization serves low income residents at risk of hunger and malnutrition, of which 23 percent are children and 16 percent are senior citizens. As a small contribution to Blog Action Day and World Food Day, I would like to recognize the achievements of Philabundance in helping to reduce hunger in their service area and highlight an innovative campaign that has increased awareness, raised funds and helped to grow their body of supporters.
About the Campaign
For the past two years, Philabundance has promoted the Spread the Love campaign as a two week virtual food drive that matches every new fan on Facebook with a jar of peanut butter or jelly donation from the org’s food industry partner, Wakefern/ShopRite. The concept of ‘spreading the love’ was inspired by the PB&J (a staple item that is in high demand by the community due to its richness in protein and affordability), the viral nature of the campaign, and the Valentine’s Day time frame, February 1-14.
The launch of the campaign was an immediate success resulting in ShopRite donating a total of 3,800 pounds of PB&J to the community and Philabundance increased online donations by 100 percent. They also added and mobilized 2,265 Facebook fans during a 14 day period — 155 percent increase from start of campaign. In 2011, the results keep getting better! ShopRite donated 4,750 pounds of PB&J, increased online donations 111 percent over 2010 and in the first few days alone, and they were able to beat last year’s Facebook fan growth by nearly 114 percent.
Philabundance along with so many other food banks are helping reduce the level of hunger and food insecurity in the US. The ‘Spread the Love’ campaign is just one of the great programs that Philabundance offers throughout the year, and is a true reflection of the power of paying it forward and establishing supporter momentum that has helped build their online community and overall supporter network.
Take Action Against Hunger
- Live in the Delaware Valley or just want to stay tuned into the amazing work of Philabundance? Become a part of their community.
- Here are five ways to act against global hunger from the ONE campaign
- Learn about Oxfam America’s GROW campaign a celebration of food with daily blogs, photo roundups, competitions and loads of ways to get involved and take action.
- Whether you blog, host an event, Tweet about #BAD11 and World Food Day continue to participate in the discussion on October 16, 2011 and beyond