Today, Thursday, July 16, 2015, hunger in North Carolina is the focal point at WRAL-TV. As part of the weeklong HungerFreeNC movement created by WRAL-TV and Radio One Raleigh, the 2nd annual MEDIAthon will take over the airwaves. The unprecedented daylong TV, radio, web and social MEDIAthon raised $112,000 for the Inter-Fait h Food Shuttle (IFFS) last year.
For 2015, WRAL-TV and Radio One are expanding the HungerFreeNC coalition to include five additional non-profits to benefit from the MEDIAthon alongside the IFFS: Farmer Foodshare, Action Pathways, Transplanting Traditions, Hawkeye Indian Cultural Center and Conetoe Family Life Center.
“Hunger in North Carolina really is the invisible crisis,” said WRAL-TV Director of Local Production Phyllis Parish. She is producing the daylong MEDIAthon. “Most of us are so far removed from the root causes of hunger…it’s hard to imagine families who cannot get to a grocery store to buy nutritious food. They live in what’s called a food desert. But when you hear the stats and learn 1 in 4 children and 1 in 5 adults…over 500,000 of WRAL’ s viewers do not get enough to eat, you get really fired up about our HungerFreeNC campaign!”
Creating MEDIAthon requires communication with every department at WRAL, plus our Radio One Raleigh partner, including stations Foxy 107/104, 103.9 The Light and K97.5, and the six nonprofits who make up our HungerFreeNC Coalition.
“It requires juggling a ton of details!” explained Parish. “It can only be accomplished with teamwork and we have an amazing HungerFreeNC team! We design and build a MEDIAthon set; we organize and set up 25 phone lines so viewers can call in with donations. We schedule live interviews with individuals in our community who can tell us about the hunger issue. News reporters and my Local Production team produce impactful stories with our Coalition members. These stories show the innovative solutions going on to in our local communities. There are scripts to write, graphics to create to support those scripts, pledge incentives and check presentations to schedule, the list is endless.”
The team puts in big effort for the big event in hopes of a big result.
“But all the work is for one goal – to raise big money for those hardworking, grassroots Coalition members who are tackling the root causes of hunger each day and striving for the same mission – to create a sustainable, nutritious food system for everyone,” said Parish. “Yes, that’s a big goal. But we can accomplish it with the outstanding WRAL-TV and Radio One Raleigh team working with our Coalition partners who provide exceptional education and support for our neighbors who are currently struggling to feed their families a nutritious meal each day.”
Many staffers at WRAL work together to make the MEDIAthon and the entire week of HungerFreeNC special programming and web presence work. They are happy to be a part of something that can make a big, positive impact on our community.
“Before volunteering as a Board Associate with the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, I really didn’t know how big our hunger issue was,” said WRAL Creative Director Shelly Leslie, a major coordinator of WRAL’s participation the HungerFreeNC events. “This project marries my desire to help my community with the power of the TV station. I’m happy to use my creative gifts for something of this magnitude, where we have a real chance to cause meaningful change. One of my favorite things about working for Capitol is our commitment to use our media power for good. When we ask our viewers for help, they answer!”
WRAL-TV Anchor/Reporter Bill Leslie will be of the personalities working on-air during the MEDIAthon. He shares his co-workers’ passion for the project.
“Ever since I produced a radio documentary called ‘The Five Faces of Poverty’ I have been deeply interested in the issue of hunger in North Carolina,” said Bill Leslie. “More recently I have done multiple ‘Good Things’ reports on volunteers, young and old, who raise money to buy food for the disadvantaged and deliver food to where it can do a lot of good.”
The daylong fundraiser will run from 6am – 8pm on TV, radio, web and social media to help fund the innovative programs of the HungerFreeNC Coalition.
“I am thrilled to do what I can during the MEDIAthon to bring more awareness to the hunger problem and more food to the people who need it,” said Leslie.
Learn more about the movement: www.hungerfreenc.org
The conversation is already alive on social media using #HungerFreeNC. The stations are using the technology of Tagboard to curate social media posts from twitter, facebook, instagram and vine.