teamworks provides message development, and media relations strategy and execution for this Mesa, Ariz. food bank that serves the hungry throughout its 19,500-square-mile service area.
Each year, Feeding America and its member food banks, including United Food Bank, designate September as Hunger Action Month to educate the public about the nature of hunger in each local community, as well as the ways in which residents can act to alleviate hunger. teamworks works to encourage volunteers for and donations to United Food Bank through a variety of strategies, including:
- CEO television interviews on “Arizona Horizon (PBS)” and “Sonoran Living (ABC).”
- Op-eds and columns by the CEO in the East Valley Tribune and the Phoenix Business Journal.
- Successful placements in the Valley editions of the Arizona Republic and in Arizona Health & Living.
- A Chef Challenge, with local chefs creating meals using only the food available to clients through the food bank’s emergency food boxes and “Help Yourself” fresh and frozen foods programs. The recipes were featured on azcentral.com.
- A Helping Hands promotion on 94.5 KOOL-FM.
- Securing the Downtown Tempe Authority interactive chalkboard cube for the month, using United Food Bank graphics and asking passersby to answer a fill-in-the-blank, “I can’t ______ on an empty stomach.”
When the compressor at United Food Bank’s main warehouse freezer broke down, it qualified as a catastrophe. The organization not only incurred an unexpected $10,000 repair bill, it also lost more than 21,000 pounds of vital frozen foods valued in excess of $38,000. Those foods also equated to about three weeks of food assistance to people in need throughout the East Valley and eastern Arizona.
teamworks helped turn this crisis into an opportunity to rally community support by:
- Developing message points and prepping spokespersons
- Alerting local TV, radio and print outlets, about the situation, its impact and how their audiences could help. The story was covered in multiple newscasts that included on-site interviews with the President and CEO of United Food Bank and live reports from the warehouse site.
- Following up with the media the next week to let them know that enough donations had come in to handle the repair, but the agency needed additional help from the community to accomplish the task. The media responded with follow-up reports encouraging viewers, listeners and readers to help “fill the freezer” through their donations.
Ultimately, United Food Bank reached its goal and within two weeks of the breakdown, had restocked the freezer to meet the needs of its 220+ partner agencies.
Sometimes good news can be overwhelming. This was the case in October 2018 when United Food Bank learned they’d be receiving an abundance of USDA bonus food and food from trade mitigation from U.S. trade battles. United Food Bank needed to raise $350,000 to pay for additional transportation costs to get this extra food to their partner agencies and the people who needed it. teamworks jumped at the opportunity to craft a story pitch tying a local need to a national and international storyline. Our work resulted in:
- An Arizona Republic article that then re-ran in the national USA Today, the Arizona Business Gazette and in other Gannett papers across the country.
- This story was seen by a reporter with China Daily News, resulting in a news story that was placed on their website and their Facebook page, which has 56 million followers.
- A KJZZ (NPR) story that ran locally and then was re-edited for national broadcast on NPR’s Marketplace.
Donations have started coming in to Help Deliver Meals from these additional deliveries. Work is ongoing to continue to raise awareness of the need and encourage additional donations.
Hiring teamworks was one of the best decisions we have ever made. The great media and communications services they provide has ensured that our story of what we do at the food bank is handled with professionalism and expertise. What really sets teamworks apart is the wonderful, friendly staff – always ready to go the extra mile, and making sure that we are treated as more than just clients!