Our next “Faces of Hunger Relief” goes hand in hand with summertime. For the last 13 years, THV 11’s Tom Brannon has been the catalyst of one of the biggest food drives in the state to provide healthy breakfast options for children and families in central and southern Arkansas who would otherwise go without the most important meal of the day – breakfast.
“The Summer Cereal Drive began in 2000 when Phyllis Haynes approached our morning show about starting a food drive and collecting breakfast cereal for hungry Arkansas kids,” said Brannon. “There are a number of children that depend on the free or reduced meals at schools, and when summer hits, that source of food and nutrition isn’t available until school begins again.”
Over the years, local businesses, schools, churches, groups, and people like you have helped Tom collect MILLIONS of boxes of cereal for the Arkansas Foodbank. This helps tremendously toward feeding the more than ONE in FOUR children in our state who are hungry.
“The ‘need’ is why I became more involved. When you have an opportunity to visit local schools, whether through school visits or weather talks or even “Breakfast with Tom”, all you really have to do is step back and observe,” said Brannon. “With the Summer Cereal Drive we are able to get more organizations involved in a friendly yet competitive way to collect breakfast cereal for kids and families. The more the better is how I see it. However most “cereal” collected will be gone in a matter of weeks from area pantries.”
Tom Brannon’s dedication to helping those around Arkansas hasn’t gone unnoticed. This past year he was recognized by Treatment Homes, Inc. with the “Make a Difference Award,” for his effort with the Summer Cereal Drive and Stuff the Sleigh, a toy drive to collect Christmas gifts for foster children. Brannon was also a finalist for Gannett Broadcasting’s “Greater Good Award.”
Being a meteorologist is no easy gig, especially when severe weather rolls through Arkansas, but Brannon believes his role in helping others goes above and beyond just giving them their forecast.
“I firmly believe a television news station has a greater responsibility than just news or weather. We need to do a better job of serving our local communities through advocating entities like food and toy drives. There are some that think we should just do news or weather because that’s what a news station does. However, we should be more than just a ‘news station’ and should strive to be the eyes, ears and voice of the communities we serve.”
On behalf of the Arkansas Foodbank, thank you Tom Brannon for being a face of hunger relief in our state.