Tyson Foods Inc has unveiled a special mobile feeding unit equipped to enhance the company’s disaster relief efforts. The 53-foot semi-trailer premiered in New York City during a recent live segment of the “Fox & Friends” televised morning news show.
The trailer will serve as a central supply unit at disaster sites to support feeding efforts of multiple Tyson “cook teams” that bring grills and volunteers to help feed those in need.
This trailer is outfitted with enough refrigerated space to store up to 20,000 pounds of chicken, beef, or pork; a 5,500-watt generator; and satellite communications. It also bears the new name of Tyson’s disaster relief feeding program, “Meals that Matter,” which reflects the company’s practice of feeding disaster survivors and relief workers.
“For decades we’ve responded to disasters in or near our plant communities in 26 states by doing what we do best: feeding people,” said John Tyson, chairman of the firm. “When disasters strike, our team members mobilize and bring in grills, food, and volunteers to help out—sometimes for multiple days or even weeks. Our new ‘Meals that Matter’ truck will help those teams by giving them all the supplies they need to make it easier to help.”
Except for a grill, the “Meals that Matter” unit has everything needed to set up and run a cooking site. This includes full refrigeration, tents and lights, sanitation equipment, cooking and serving supplies, a generator, hydraulic lift, and a Wi-Fi hot spot for Internet connections via satellite. Mobile grills will be supplied, as needed, by Tyson’s plant locations. More than 40 plant sites are capable of responding to disasters by sending grills and volunteers to cook food.
The firm will work with the American Red Cross during future disaster relief efforts. In February, Tyson signed a formal statement of collaboration with the Red Cross, agreeing to become a Disaster Responder Partner of the organization.
On average, the company is involved in responding to four to five major disasters each year. In recent years, the company has provided between $300,000 and $500,000 annually in food and financial support to disaster relief.
About 150 Tyson employees from seven states were deployed to northern Alabama in 2011 to help in the aftermath of tornadoes that moved through the region. They served 270,000 pounds of food, donated ice and water, and provided diesel fuel to poultry farmers who had to operate their farms with generators. When a tornado tore through Joplin MO in May 2011, killing more than 160 people, Tyson relief teams arrived on-site in less than 24 hours to provide more than 120,000 pounds of food to local survivors and relief workers.
Since 2000, the firm has donated 86 million pounds of protein to hundreds of food banks, food pantries, and relief agencies in 48 states. In 2011, it helped fund a comprehensive study on attitudes and perceptions of hunger. The study found that one in four Americans worry about having enough money to put food on the table.
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