Monday, April 11, 2011

Let's Get Hunger Under Control

We are fortunate to be working with one of Ohio's most respected non-profits - Mid-Ohio Foodbank. Its been a humbling experience thus far, as we have done a lot of research on the issue of hunger in Ohio and across our country. So please read about hunger, particularly how it affects children (below) and help the Mid-Ohio Foodbank, or the foodbank in your community, to get hunger under control in our state.

Someone You Know is Experiencing Food Insecurity

Food insecurity is essentially the politically correct way to describe hunger. The USDA defines food insecurity as follows:

“Limited or uncertain access to nutritious, safe foods necessary to lead a healthy lifestyle; households that experience food insecurity have reduced quality or variety of meals and may have irregular food intake.

In Ohio, one of six people is at risk of hunger. This is a staggering statistic. It means someone in your neighborhood is suffering from hunger - a child in your kid’s class, a co-worker, a family at your church, a kid on your soccer team, the family down the street. It’s such a private problem for the ones suffering – who wants to publicly admit to needing help with providing food to your family? But it’s such a profound problem in our society, one that we all need to take responsibility for by helping our neighbors.

Children Who Are Hungry

As shocking as the hunger statistic is for Ohio, the number of children who are facing food insecurity is even more troubling. More than one in five children in the U.S. is at risk of hunger according to Feeding America. 1 in 5!

Children experiencing food insecurity also experience a multitude of other issues.

  • Problems in Learning
    Lower math achievement and other achievement gains in kindergarteners
    Lower math and reading gains from kindergarten to third grade
    Lower arithmetic scores

  • Problems with Health
    Poorer overall health of children – more stomach aches, headaches, and colds among children
    Higher numbers of chronic health conditions in children
    Higher hospitalization rates of young children
    Lower physical function in children ages 3 to 8
    Iron deficiency anemia in young children
  • Problems with Social Skills
    Children aren’t as social if they’re hungry

    More anxiety and depression in school‐age children

We need to do better for our children! Kids should not suffer from hunger.

How You and Your Foodbanks Help

There are twelve (12) major Feeding America food banks in Ohio. These food banks act as distributors of food to thousands of food agencies across our state – pantries, soup kitchens, other feeding sites, etc. The food banks are able to provide services due to the generosity of the food industry, federal & state governments and the general community (both businesses and individuals). The Mid-Ohio Foodbank distributes food to over 500 agencies throughout Central and Eastern Ohio. They are able to provide 51,000 meals each day through their partner agencies.

But generosity is the operative word…we simply cannot make the kind of impact necessary without the help of people within the community. So please show your support by visiting to make a donation to Mid-Ohio Foodbank’s Operation Feed campaign. If you don’t live in the Central or Eastern Ohio areas, visit and click on “Find a Food Bank” to find the organization that services your area.

It’s time we got hunger under control.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Did Chrysler's Super Bowl Spot Do Well for Detroit?

Did Chrysler's Super Bowl ad do well for the city of Detroit? On the surface, it seems like it did. But I wonder whether the message of the spot is aligned appropriately with Detroit's rebuilding effort.

I love Detroit. I spent almost 12-years in Metro-Detroit. I represent a minority of people that actually think the city is pretty great. For me, it was the first major city I had lived in. It was the first time I was settled in a city that had professional sports, good theater options, diverse cultures, top-notch music concerts, terrific festivals, etc. Having grown up in Columbus - which has evolved to become quite a phenomenal city in-and-of itself - we just didn't have the kinds of options that bigger cities had. Of-course, that's all changed for Columbus, but during the 70s and 80s, Columbus was a small town trying to find its niche.

While Chrysler's "Imported from Detroit" spot grabbed at the emotional strings within me and millions of others, from what I know about Detroit and how it's dealing with today's economic turmoil, I believe the spot was mis-aligned with the
message that the city is trying to project. Sure, the filming was great, and it shined a positive light on a city that has been more-often-than-not exposed as a city of blight. But I wonder whether people noticed the lack of consistency between what Chrysler expressed in its spot, and what the goals of the city are.

Detroit doesn't want to be the Motor City. It wants the automobile to be a
part of its personality, but it doesn't want to be defined as the Motor City anymore. As the spot begins, the city has been "through hell and back", and that's largely due to its reliance on the automotive industry. Today, Detroit is trying to position itself as something else - the alternative energy capital of America, a creative hotbed, Midwest's cultural center, Hockeytown...the list goes on.

So while Chrysler should be appreciated for its positive depiction of the city, I argue that the company didn't do its homework in aligning it's business goals - to sell cars - with the community's goals - to shed its legacy of being the automotive manufacturing center.

Did Chrysler sit down with the city's economic development staff to understand their vision for the city? Did it meet with the city's chamber of commerce? Did they sit down with the
Dan Gilberts and Peter Karmanoses of Detroit to talk about why they felt it was so important to relocate their companies' headquarters in the heart of the city? Did they meet with the ex-automotive suppliers who have now transformed their businesses to make parts for wind turbines instead of cars?

I don't know the answer to this, of-course, but my guess would be "no". Had they done their due diligence, they may have created a spot that was less about manufacturing (check out the shots of workers on the assembly lines) and more about how the the city is striving to be relevant in the 21st Century. The city is looking forward - beyond its automotive legacy. Chrysler would have done well for itself, and the city, had it aligned its message with the goals of the community.
Chrysler should certainly position itself as a part of the solution for a town that needs one. It just needs to recognize the goals of the town, and determine how Chrysler fits in with these goals before producing a beautiful commercial.