By Lakeshia Artis
Sept. 6 marks the start of the Hunger Action Month "Go Orange" campaign by foodbanks here and nationwide. Orange is the color of hunger.
It is also the color of this publication's flag - Inside Business, The Hampton Roads Business Journal - for the Sept. 3 issue to help raise awareness about the month and activities that are planned.
Partnering with other organizations, the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank and the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore will promote events, activities and food drives to bring awareness to hunger.
"Forty-nine million Americans struggle with hunger," said Loretta Jones, chief philanthropy officer at the Peninsula foodbank. "The campaign is a way to unite the nation and bring a voice to those struggling with hunger.
"This is the American family," Jones said. "They are living in our communities. They're our neighbors, co-workers and friends."
The Go Orange campaign gives individuals and businesses fun, creative ways to display orange.
"We are asking people to wear orange, tie orange ribbons on their doors or light up their porches with orange lights," said Joanne Batson, CEO of the Southeastern Virginia foodbank and committee chair of Hunger Action Month for Feeding America, the national association of more than 200 foodbanks. "Companies can also tell employees if they wear orange, or donate food, they can dress down for a day."
Kiwanis Clubs of Division 13 will throw the "Shag at the Foodbank" on Sept. 27 at the Peninsula foodbank in Hampton. The event, at $35 a ticket, features a seafood buffet, live music and dancing.
"Kiwanis is all about helping children and the community," said board member Lorain Cosgrave. "A portion of the proceeds will go to the foodbank. We are doing an early-bird special for people coming an hour early. The cost is $10. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the special go to the foodbank."
Both foodbanks feature a "30 Ways in 30 Days" calendar on their websites that offers tips and ideas to bring attention to hunger.
"We've created a calendar that allows people an easier way to do stuff," Jones said. "It's suggestions and concepts that may work for them or spark some thought.
"The main thing we want for everyone to really understand about Hunger Action Month is that anyone can make a difference," she said.
Susan Mayo, chief marketing officer of the Southeastern Virginia foodbank, has been working in the community to bring awareness to the campaign.
"Currently we serve one in four people who are hungry through our foodbank programs and services," Mayo said. "My role is to inform the public about the issue and to mobilize our community to speak out against hunger. We have sent direct marketing messages, email and letters to our donors and corporate sponsors asking for their support of Hunger Action Month and to speak out against hunger.
"One of our newest events is our Tangerine Tango Fashion event, which will be held on Sept. 18 at the Cavalier Golf and Yacht Club," she said.
That same day, the foodbank will host Elected Officials Volunteer Day.
"We are going to invite elected officials in and let them see what we do and hold a panel discussion about what is going on about hunger in the areas they represent," Batson said. "Right now Washington is looking to cut the food stamp and emergency food programs. This will put a burden on foodbanks and hurt the economy.
"The numbers have skyrocketed over the past four years," Batson said. "With a down economy, the face of hunger has changed tremendously, especially with people losing their jobs."
Those who have lost their job to downsizing, Batson says, have gone through their savings to take care of their families.
"We are seeing people who never ever needed assistance from the foodbank in the past."
The Peninsula foodbank has seen a 25 to 30 percent increase in traffic.
"We are running out of food faster than ever," Jones said. "People typically start thinking of food donations around the early part of November. Our numbers are really low during the months July, August and September.
"We are asking people to take action in their community and join a bigger movement," she said. "If everyone just donated one can, we wouldn't have a food shortage. Every dollar donated provides four meals."
With the Go Orange campaign, foodbanks locally and across the nation hope to shed a light on the hunger epidemic.
"Hunger does not take a summer vacation," Mayo said. "Hunger knows no season. We need food 24/7 to help feed people in our community who are hungry."nib
30 ways in 30 days
September is Hunger Action Month and local foodbanks have put together events and ideas to help raise awareness, food and financial donations. Here's a list of some ideas for businesses and individuals.
* Organize a peanut butter drive: It's a
good source of protein, and kids love
* GO BOGO: Buy one, give one. Buy extra
cans of nonperishables to donate.
* Go orange: Wear orange or go
* Watch: Wipeout Hunger Telethon - ABC-TV 13, 8-10 p.m. Sept. 6.
* Remember your grandparents: Grandparents Day is Sept. 9. Send a donation to a foodbank in their
honor to help reduce senior hunger.
* Plan a food drive: Call one of the foodbanks to find out how easy it is and get started.
* Purchase a SHARE food value package
for $20, Visit hrfoodbank.org/SHARE
program for info.
* Sign up to be a monthly donor at a foodbank: Estimates are that $25 a month feeds one child.
* Donate food: Give 30 nonperishable food items to the foodbank.
* Organize a brown bag lunch: Get together with co-workers and donate your lunch money to a foodbank.
* Blog/tweet/post: Go on Facebook, Twitter and other social media to spread the word about Hunger Action Month.
* Donate a grocery store gift card: Purchase a card and give it to a foodbank.
* Create a coffee fund: Make coffee at home and donate what you would have spent to the foodbank.
Hunger Action Month events
VIRGINIA PENINSULA FOODBANK
Charity Golf Tournament by ROME on Sept. 21 at 12:30 p.m. at the Hamptons Golf Course in Hampton. Cost is $45. Beneficiary is Peninsula Foodbank. ROME is a contractor that supports NASA Langley. Contact Kay Corr at 224-7835.
"Shag at the Foodbank: Dance, Dine, Donate" presented by Kiwanis Clubs of Division 13 on Sept. 27 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Foodbank of the Virginia Peninsula, 2401 Aluminum Ave., Hampton. Live music by Bill Deal's Original Rhondels and all-you-can-eat seafood buffet. Tickets are $35. Early bird special: Pay an additional $10 at gate and get in at 4:30. Peanut butter food drive will be held. Purchase tickets at http://www.shagatthefoodbank.com
Hampton Roads H.O.G. Chapter will support the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank for Hunger Month. Gifts of $1 or more and/or canned food donations will be accepted at all September chapter rides, and during the September chapter meeting, a raffle ticket will be given for every $1 or canned food donation, entering the donor in a raffle for a prize.
FOODBANK OF SOUTHEASTERN VIRGINIA
Governor's Mansion Go Orange/Media Event - Gov. Bob McDonnell will host a media event at 1:30 p.m. on Sept. 4 on the front steps of the governor's mansion. In attendance will be Joanne Batson, CEO of the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and chair of the Feeding America Network Committee for National Hunger Action Month. Everybody will be wearing orange and the mansion will be decorated in the same. Later that evening its exterior will be lighted orange. The governor will encourage everyone to support Hunger Action Month and to donate to their local foodbanks.
Old Dominion University goes orange - On Sept. 6 ODU will promote Hunger Action Month by making a presentation in orange throughout campus. Students will be encouraged to wear orange.
Go Orange Day on "The Hampton Roads Show" - Foodbank staff and friends will be in the WAVY-TV 10 studio audience on Sept. 6 for the show, at 11 a.m.
Go Orange Day at Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia - The foodbank, at 800 Tidewater Drive in Norfolk, will have a competition at 3 p.m. on Sept. 6 to see which department can present the most creative and most orange work area. A panel of judges will determine a winner who will receive - what else? - an orange award. Each Friday in September will be official Go Orange Day. All volunteers and employees will wear orange.
Old Dominion University " Empty Bowls" event - In preparation for the game against Campbell University on Sept. 13, soup will be sold to help feed the hungry and to encourage the football team to "Eat up Campbell." Cost has yet to be determined.
Farm Fresh Food & Pharmacy donation - The company plans to make a special monetary donation to the foodbank for sometime during the month.
Brad Paisley Concert Food and Fund Drive - Those attending the Sept. 13 concert at Farm Bureau Live amphitheater in Virginia Beach as well as others can bring food items or donate money from 2 to 7 p.m. Each donation will be converted to the number of meals it will generate. The donor with the most meals donated by 7 p.m. will receive a personal meet-and-greet with Brad Paisley and two premium seats for the concert.
Light Up Orange - S. L. Nusbaum Realty Co. will support Hunger Action Month by lighting the top of Wells Fargo Building in downtown Norfolk orange from Sept. 4 to 11.
Elected Officials Volunteer Day - On Sept. 18, elected officials from Southside Hampton Roads area will meet at the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia from 8 to 9:15 a.m. Statistics will be presented, broken down by voting districts, followed by volunteer opportunities for the participants. Register at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tangerine Tango Fashion Show - Speak Out Against Hunger - Presented by Kim Wadsworth of VOW Magazine, Robin Simmons of Inside Business and Tracey Stern of Understudies, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Cavalier Golf and Yacht Club, 1052 Cardinal Road, Virginia Beach. Local vendors will give a fashion presentation and fashion-oriented silent auction. Tickets will include admission, bites, libations, entertainment and silent auction. Cost $40 in advice. To purchase, visit http://foodbank.ticketbud.com/tangerine-tango-fashion-show or call 627-6599.
Peanut Butter Festival - Hosted by the Cheesecake Factory of Virginia Beach and Farm Fresh Food & Pharmacy Sept. 22 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Kings Grant Farm Fresh, 2868 Virginia Beach Blvd., Virginia Beach. The goal is to collect and to display the largest amount of peanut butter jars to enter the Guinness Book of Records. Farm Fresh will offer a special price on peanut butter for shoppers to purchase and add to the display. Food and activities will be available for children. Details can be found at www.foodbankonline.org under Hunger Action Month Events. All peanut butter will be donated to the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia.
Inside Business Food and Fund Drive - The Sept. 17 issue of Inside Business will include information on how to donate funds to purchase food and provide food services. The Sept. 24 issue will include a special grocery bag to fill with nonperishable items to deliver to a local Farm Fresh for the foodbank to pick up.
Beach Dental Charity Golf Classic - The golf classic will take place on Sept. 26 at Heron Ridge Golf Club in Virginia Beach with 10:30 a.m. player registration and a shotgun start at 12:30 p.m. Box lunch and beverages provided. A post tournament barbecue and award ceremony will follow. Proceeds will benefit the foodbank. Call Denise Middleton at 496-0993.
Foodbank Agencies Go Orange - During the month more than 300 Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia agency partners will help build awareness about hunger.. They'll wear orange T-shirts, display posters, hand out stickers thanking food donors and volunteers. During the annual meeting from 9 a.m. until noon on Sept. 15, they will gather in a room decorated in orange, sample some orange delights and share the success of their work during the past year.
AARP Food Drive - The organization plans a statewide food drive from Sept. 9 through Sept. 14 with special grocery bags being distributed. Visit www.createthegood.org/va and enter a zip code or dial 2-1-1 on a phone to find a drop site.
Cheesecake Factory Peanut Butter Food Drive - All Cheesecake Factory restaurants throughout the nation will conduct a food drive starting Sept. 1 to see who will collect the most pounds of peanut butter. The Virginia Beach Cheesecake Factory at 265 Central Park Ave. has been a leader in the drive and has won national recognition over the past three years.