Staff Photo: Heather Darenberg. United Way employees Tracy Christian, left, and Debbie McMinn place three bags of Tyson boneless chicken in a plastic bag to prepare the meat for distribution to families. Tyson donated 29,000 pounds of chicken to the United Way, which will work with partner organizations in Gwinnett to distribute the food.
NORCROSS -- Tyson Foods donated 29,000 pounds of frozen boneless chicken Friday to the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta in Gwinnett County as part of an effort to feed people in need and promote public awareness of hunger in America.
The donation was part of the kickoff of a yearlong KNOW Hunger campaign to eradicate hunger, said Scott Jacobsen, a regional sales manager for Tyson. In the next two weeks, the company plans to donate a million pounds of protein nationwide.
The donation is worth between $75,000 and $80,000, Jacobsen said.
"There are millions of hard-working adults, children and seniors who simply cannot make ends meet and are faced with the realities of hunger and malnourishment," said John Tyson, chairman of Tyson Foods. "We are trying to make a difference in their lives by providing nutrient-rich protein and by increasing understanding of hunger in our country."
Meat and poultry are nutrient-dense foods and, according to health experts, can be especially helpful to people who need more protein, including growing children, pregnant women, the elderly and anyone undergoing severe stress, disease or disability. At food banks nationwide, meat is the most requested and least available food.
Demetrius Jordan, area director of the United Way, said the organization will work with 50 of its partners in Gwinnett County to distribute vouchers to families in need. Each voucher will claim three bags, or about six pounds, of chicken.
United Way was chosen as the recipient of the donation by Gwinnett County Public Schools. Tyson Foods contacted the school system to select the recipient.
Although the school system will not receive any direct benefits from the donation, Ken Yant, the director of the school nutrition program, said the district was "proud to bring these two organizations together to fight hunger."
"We do know that our students and their families will benefit from the generosity of Tyson," he said.