Red Nose Day 2019: Fight To End Child Poverty

Red Nose Day in the United States is today, May 23rd, and as I have done each year here on this blog, I wanted to try to spread awareness of this very important fundraising event to end child poverty.

Red Nose Day is run by Comic Relief USA in conjunction with major relief aid partners and national sponsors. The national sponsors again for the 2019 Red Nose Day event are: Walgreens, Mars Confectionary Company, Comcast NBCUniversal, and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Since the first Red Nose Day event in the US in 2015, about $150 million has been raised to help fight child poverty. These funds have helped 16 million children in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Latin America, Africa, and Asia. The funding has brought education to about 1 million children, essential medical services to 13 million children, and has helped 75,000 homeless children.

In addition, the funds raised by this event have provided 36 million meals to American children living in poverty, a major issue that is often overlooked because of the perception of our country’s wealth. In 2018, the Red Nose Day programs and events raised $47 million in the United States.

NBC is back as the main broadcast partner and will dedicate three hours of primetime television air time tonight to the Red Nose Day fundraising effort. The special program begins at 8 PM Eastern tonight with Kelly Clarkson and Blake Shelton among other stars that will highlight a two- hour block of coverage dedicated to raising awareness of childhood poverty. This includes a short film comedy sketch routine, and an appeals film by Milo Ventimiglia from “This Is Us”.

The network will close out the night from 10 PM to 11 PM Eastern with a special edition of “Hollywood Game Night” for Red Nose Day. Please tune in tonight to NBC for this important event.

Walgreens returns as a key sponsor of this event and the drugstore chain has sold 40 million of the iconic red noses since 2015 across their over 9,000 US locations. The healthcare retailer has made Red Nose Day a major event through store signage and advertising campaigns.

Mars Confectionary Company and their ubiquitous American brand, M&Ms have again donated $1 million to Red Nose Day in 2019. The company also raises additional money and support for the program through a month of events across their corporate locations aimed at raising awareness, funds, and volunteer hours across several communities in America.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is among the most well known in the world. Their mission is focused on children, and they provide funding and programming support for the donations raised from the event and how they are utilized to provide the maximum benefit to children in poverty.

We live in the wealthiest nation in the world. We all can do something within our means to help support Red Nose Day. The amount of children living in poverty in America is staggering 15 million, or 21% of all children in our country live in poverty according to various census related sources. The need is great both here and in underdeveloped areas of our world in Latin America, Asia, and Africa.

We can help children, who cannot help themselves, to have their basic needs met. Please support this important event today by going to and by following @RedNoseDayUSA on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Please share this with your friends and family.
The eradication of childhood poverty is the goal of Comic Relief USA and is shared by the sponsors of this event. I think we all need to share that goal, and each do our part to help this important event to succeed. Thank you all for your support of Red Nose Day 2019 and may God bless you for your efforts to help children in need.

(Background information courtesy of,,, and the 2010 US Government Census Department)

Outsourcing Our Food Supply

The lockout of workers at the Kellogg’s cereal production facility in Memphis is just the latest episode of a large American company trying to cut costs to maximize profits. Kellogg is also under scrutiny for its production of cereal in Mexico and other countries, a move designed to slash production costs even further.


This profit driven behavior has earned them a hash tag on the social media site, Twitter, labeled “Kellogg Greed”.  This whole situation of outsourcing the production of food has become the standard practice rather than the exception. America is supposed to be the “bread basket” for the world, and huge U.S. owned conglomerates are shifting production of basic products, such as cereal, to other countries.


This shift in production has caused two main issues to come to the forefront of the national debate on our food supply:

  1. The potential food safety issues of a supply chain stretched across multiple countries and the cleanliness standards of production facilities outside the U.S.
  2. Renewed fervor toward products being “Made in the USA” and from wholesome and trusted ingredient supply lines.


Lightning Fast


While those two issues are very important, I have observed another negative scenario that has been the result of these production outsourcing decisions: negative publicity and the negative public perception of the company involved.

In today’s age of social media, and the lightning fast delivery of news content, the perception of a company, even one as iconic as Kellogg, can go sideways very quickly. I mentioned earlier that Kellogg has their own Twitter hashtag with a huge thread of “tweets”: communications by average Americans, many of whom are also their customer base, regarding how greed driven their behavior is with the situation in Memphis.


I do not understand why some companies, in this case Kellogg, would inflict so much damage on their public perception over a group of full time workers at one production plant. The labor dispute there, which has now attracted the involvement of the National Labor Relations Board, coupled with the news of the outsourcing of cereal production has made their company look badly.


The public perception of Kellogg is that they are pushing around these average American workers because they can do so, over a small amount of money relative to the profits they have raked in over the years. That negative perception could potentially hurt Kellogg’s overall product sales.


The only rationale myself and other Americans are left with in order to understand the actions of Kellogg in this situation is that it is greed for additional profits. That desire for profit outweighs any negative publicity, let alone the impact it will have on the workers and their families.


The Correct Way


A few years ago, when another iconic American brand, Budweiser, was sold when their parent company, A.B. merged with InBev, a foreign owned brewing company; the American public grew concerned that the new ownership was going to outsource the production of these traditionally American beers.


In fact, the opposite occurred, InBev kept the production facilities in the U.S. and allocated a huge advertising expenditure to tout that Budweiser was made in America. They ran television commercial advertisements touting the locations of the breweries and the freshness of the product. Many Americans were concerned that the quality of the products or the taste profiles will change, and they did not change at all.


InBev executed a very smart public relations campaign because they understood what Budweiser and some of the other A.B. branded products meant to Americans, and they were not going to lose any market share by moving the production of these products to Mexico or South America.


Riding the Wave


Mars Inc., the American confectionary giant, is riding the wave of positive public relations with the announcement of their opening of a new manufacturing facility outside of Topeka, Kansas. It is the first new plant built by Mars in North America in 35 years, but it will provide 200 new jobs and the company has donated $200,000 towards the development of downtown Topeka.


The plant will be able to manufacture 14 million Snickers bars each day, and the reaction of the public has been proof of the power of the “Made in the USA” movement. The company has received nothing but shining media coverage: for keeping jobs in the U.S., from not outsourcing the production of some of America’s favorite candy brands such as M&M’s and Snickers, and for pursuing “Gold” certification for environmental sustainability of their new facility.



Food Labeling


In my food industry experience, I know that food labeling is a very important part of the process in designing a particular product. The ingredients sourced and the process taken from a concept to a finished good is rather complicated.


The cost factor plays a role in the design of a food product, and that is where food labeling and the outsourcing of the U.S. food supply is going to be the next big challenge for government regulation. We have begun to see evidence of that with the food industry groups fighting the passage of regulatory policies towards the disclosure of the country of origin on a variety of products.


The U.S. government remained steadfast in upholding the disclosure of the country of origin of certain ground beef and meat products this week, despite the heavy opposition of certain food industry lobbying and interest groups.


The outsourcing of American jobs and products is not a new concept. However, Kellogg found out this week that it is a concept that Americans have grown weary of, and have the public forums to voice that displeasure. In the end Kellogg will find out that greed always backfires.