Recently a group of bloggers who had participated in the San Francisco Food Bank's Hunger Challenge gathered to share what we learned from living on a $3 a day food budget for a week.
Contributing Editor Alanna Kellogg introduced the BlogHer community to the hunger challenge which is how I learned of it and decided to participate. Contributing Editor Beth Kanter shared her experiences using social media to fight hunger. Our blogger meeting with the food bank illustrates a way in which bloggers can share the knowledge they gain online when using social media tools.
Bloggers at our meeting included Gayle Keck of Been There Ate That, Amy Sherman of Cooking With Amy, Genie Gratto of The Inadvertent Gardener, Vanessa Barrington, Faith J. Kramer of Blog Appetit and me.
In addition to the recipes the food bloggers who took the challenge contributed and our collective blogging, we were able to describe more in depth the experience of taking the challenge including shopping, food preparation, family issues and our personal experience. We could answer questions that perhaps we hadn't thought of covering and share what we learned from reader comments. And beyond fund and awareness raising we could more fully assist the food bank in helping them best serve their clients.
A key lesson I took away from our meeting is that in addition to figuring out how we can create blog action events or participate in them, bloggers can bring back their learning and expertise and share them with organizations we support (As Beth Kanter did here). Fund raising and raising awareness of issues is crucial but bloggers are at the leading edge of changing the way we tackle a multitude of problems. Let's take it a step further and share what we discover out there on the edge.
The lessons are not just for the organizations bloggers seek to help, however. One lesson that came out of this challenge was an opportunity to learn how to better serve blog readers. For instance, developing tasty and lower cost healthy recipes is content that is certainly in demand these days. For my blog, since I'm not a food blogger and focus often on politics and policy, I have a better sense of issues such as the lack of grocery stores in parts of the community and can discuss those social justice aspects. An example of this is a couple, both teachers, who challenged themselves to eat on $1 a day with a focus on these aspects of hunger.
Another follow up from the Hunger Challenge was that Tyson Foods learned of the effort (from a tweet by Amy Sherman) and set up a blog comment challenge. The result was a 300,000+ pound donation to bay area food banks.
Here is a slide show of the delivery to the SF Food Bank featuring Faith and Amy:
Cross posted at BlogHer