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Tyson Foods, Chicago Urban League partner on hunger awareness program

A partnership announced Thursday between Tyson Foods, the Chicago Urban League and the Greater Chicago Food Depository will work to combat food insecurity, which presents a daily challenge to thousands of Chicagoans.

KNOW Hunger Chicago is a one-year campaign that “aims to raise awareness about hunger and nutrition through large scale protein donations, thought leadership exercises, community engagement events and hunger education opportunities,” a news release from Tyson and the Urban League stated on Wednesday. Tyson donated 33,000 pounds of protein and $150,000 to fund the program in Chicago.

Tyson, a food conglomerate based in Arkansas, partnered with the National Urban League in 2012 to start its KNOW Hunger initiative in Mississippi. The program then moved to Nashville, Tenn. for two years before coming to Chicago, according to the news release.

Nearly 812,000 Chicagoans, about 1 in 6, receive assistance from the Greater Chicago Food Depository, the release noted, and nearly 20 percent of children in Illinois live in food insecure households. The KNOW program, according to Tyson, educates community members and elected officials about hunger issues and helps communities secure resources to address those issues.

“We hear all too often from our partners in the community that hunger is a barrier to success and we're proud to be a part of an initiative that is focused on tackling this issue,” said Shari Runner, president and CEO of the Chicago Urban League, according to Wednesday’s release.

Tyson said one of the reasons it chose Chicago for the initiative is because the city employs about 1,000 people in area production facilities. Those employees will have the opportunity to volunteer for the effort.