Link Roundup: Hunger in America

WeCanEndThis.com has a contest launched from the CauseLab virtual brainstorm at South by Southwest conference (SXSW).  You can still submit your individual ideas and improve others’ ideas to qualify for the $1,000 cash prize for best original idea or $500 cash prize for best collaborator.

Too many people have to choose between healthcare, utilities, rent or other necessities and food.  Take a look at the Hunger In America 2010 Key Findings from Feeding America for more shocking results.

Funding is a continual issue for food banks. The North Texas Food Bank is making an appeal to meet a big shortfall.  Other organizations seem to be fairing better, Food Banks Beating the Fundraising Odds in a Tough Economy. The Chronicle of Philanthropy reports Online Giving Continues to Grow but at a Slower Pace.

This season of The Biggest Loser ended this week but the Pound for Pound Challenge benefiting Feeding America continues.

SXSW Interactive Monday: Twitter, biz start-ups and ending hunger

Today at SXSW I attended three very different sessions.  Here are some of my notes…

Twitter Talk with Evan Williams

The keynote with Twitter founder Evan Williams was totally packed.  I was in the actual exhibit hall but there were overflow rooms with a rebroadcast.  It wasn’t a keynote speech at all, but an interview. It was kind of like eavesdropping on a conversation, as if a thousand people were not watching.  They kind of rambled but there were some notable quotes:

“Whatever you assume when you start [a business] — you are wrong.”  Experiment, listen and correct.

Williams says Twitter is committed to reaching the “weakest signals.” In countries without good internet access they offer SMS.  Example…It helped disaster relief efforts after the earthquake in Chile.

That “anyone can publish on the web is still profound. We in this room take it for granted.”

Advice to entrepreneurs “Focus on one thing.” Great reminder.

Microsoft BizSpark Accelerator

This was cool…startups had 2 minutes to pitch their business to a panel of judges.  Kind of like Dragon’s Den or Shark Tank, except there was no offer at the end.  There are more pitches left and the finals will be tomorrow.  Thanks to Karen at Volunteer Spot for suggesting this session.

The Cause Lab: Ending Hunger

We came in late to this one and joined the discussion in progress.  I’ve never seen something like this at an internet conference. There were three discussion groups all talking about one aspect of how to tackle hunger in America.  In our group we discussed how to create hunger free communities – local level action.  There were a lot of great ideas from all three groups (each presented a summary at the end.)

Their website is WeCanEndThis.com also check out this movie: Hungry In America.

After the session I had a great conversation with two cool chicks from Participant Media, who produced the Academy Award nominated documentary Food Inc. If you have not seen it, rent, Netflix buy a copy ASAP.

Communities Helping Families Through Kids Cafe

Kids Cafe is a program that provides after school meals for children from low-income families.  It’s a partnership between local food banks and area partners.  Feeding America, the organization that helps many local/regional food banks, provides the basic framework for locals to start their own Kids Cafes. Here’s a great video from Austin via Texans Against Hunger.