I learned only yesterday of the Facebook voting campaign to direct 30,000 pounds of food from Tyson's Food to one of ten US Food Banks. Food Bank of the Albemarle, an eastern North Carolina organization, was in the running, and I promoted it on this blog.
When I went to bed last night I fully expected our local Food Bank to "win." It looks now as if the Yuma Food Bank will receive the gift. Regardless of the outcome, I have a few comments.
"Congratulations" does not seem like the appropriate response to the "winner" of this campaign. In fact, the entire promotion initially reminded me of that old 1950s TV show, Queen For a Day. The studio audience listened to pitiful stories of poverty and misfortune from a number of women, then voted on which homemaker was most unfortunate, and therefore should receive gifts of cash and appliances. Many people agreed that this was both emotionally exploitative and a poor way to help people in need.
On further reflection, the Tyson's Food/Food Bank voting campaign seemed more like a personality contest. The area that had the most fans was most likely to receive the prize.
All in all, this campaign does not appear to me to be a very appropriate method of distributing food to needy areas. Why did the donors not simply decide (based on research and statistics) where and how to distribute the food?
I have no objection to corporations or individuals gaining recognition for good deeds, but this campaign seems as much about enlisting Facebook and Facebook members to promote Tyson's Food as about feeding the hungry. When we consider that Tyson's Food has also come under attack for cruelty to animals the entire affair is unsettling.
Next time I don't believe I will be so hasty in promoting something I haven't researched and thought about more carefully.