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2010 Feeding Dreams™ Community Champions Honored at Glorious Grand Finale in Atlanta

Tuesday, December 14, 2010   (0 Comments)
Posted by: jennifer punch
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General Mills Awards Lorenda Cheeks $10,000 as Jackson, MS Community Rallies with most Online Votes for Hometown Hero

MINNEAPOLIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--An inspirational program filled with magical moments and enthusiastic celebration filled Atlanta’s historic Ebenezer Baptist Church last Saturday evening when 10 Feeding Dreams™ Community Champions were honored as some of the brightest stars in the Black community.

The evening’s excitement culminated when Champion Lorenda Cheeks of Jackson, MS, who garnered the most online votes at, was named Grand Champion and received a $10,000 grant from General Mills for the Girl Scouts of Greater Mississippi, troop numbers 5037, 5040, 5047, 5051 and 5817. The online voting phase of the grassroots Feeding Dreams program ran from August through October 31, 2010.

In all, 10 everyday heroes―recognized through the General Mills Feeding Dreams community relations initiative―received resounding applause for selflessly giving of their time, talents, energy and enthusiasm to improve the day-to-day lives of their neighbors and fellow citizens. The Community Champions traveled to celebrate in Atlanta from their respective Southeastern cities – from Miami and Memphis to New Orleans and Norfolk.

"These men and women are giving great gifts of love and support to the many people in communities struggling along the margins and trying to find their footing,” said event co-host Susan L. Taylor, Feeding Dreams National Champion, editor-in-chief emeritus of Essence Magazine and founder of the National CARES Mentoring Movement. "We are very proud of each Community Champion, and we honor their daily resilience and unwavering commitment to keep teaching, creating, nurturing, mentoring, healing and inspiring others. For all that you do, we celebrate you on this glorious night.”
Nine More Community Champions Take The Spotlight:

In addition to Cheeks, these nine Feeding Dreams Community Champions were honored: Second place winner Joyce Gilliam Brown, from Norfolk, VA, received a $5,000 grant for the organization of her choice; Third place winner Vanetta Keyes, from Atlanta, received a $3,000 grant for the organization of her choice; Community Champions Merline Barton (Miami), Loretta Harris-Caldwell (Charlotte), Dr. Sandra Ford (Birmingham), Dr. Stuart Hamilton (Columbia, S.C.), Donald O’Conner (Memphis), Pepper Peete (Jacksonville), and Jerome Smith (New Orleans) were each recognized and awarded a $2,000 grant for the organizations of their choice.

"All of our 10 Feeding Dreams Community Champions are winners in our eyes, in the eyes of their communities and in the hearts of people whose lives they touch,” said Anton Vincent, event co-host and vice-president of the General Mills Baking Division. "We received thousands of votes at over the last several months, which just goes to show how many cheering fans these Community Champions have living in their midst – and around the globe.”

A Joyous and Jubilant Event
More than a thousand people joined in the festivities at the free Feeding Dreams gala. Co-hosted by Taylor and Vincent, guests were treated to the moving musical performances of gospel’s Sounds of Blackness, Dr. Dorinda Clark Cole and Myron Williams. Inspirational music from the Hunter Hill Baptist Mass Choir led part of the program with more than 40 talented members. Their voices filled the air and sparked inspiration and admiration in the highly anticipated ceremony planned for the Community Champions.

Feeding Dreams – Year 3
The third annual Feeding Dreams campaign launched in August with the announcement of this year’s 10 Community Champions and an online voting campaign at Original photographs and compelling stories of the Community Champions’ efforts are still highlighted on the site. Champions from 2009 and 2008 are also featured.
In addition to the community relations initiative, the integrated multicultural marketing campaign includes digital, public relations, event sampling, in-market advertising and retail visibility. Favorite General Mills brands supporting Feeding Dreams include: Honey Nut Cheerios, Yoplait Yogurt, Grands! Biscuits, Betty Crocker Brownies, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Nature Valley Sweet & Salty, and Hamburger Helper®.

2010 Feeding Dreams Community Champion Ms. Lorenda Cheeks
For many members of the Jackson, MS community, Cheeks is known as "Miss Girl Scout Lady” and a community advocate for at-risk youth in Jackson. Through Girl Scouts of Greater Mississippi, Cheeks facilitates a program called "It’s Hip to Be Fit” with as many as five Girl Scout troops she volunteers.
The program teaches girls the importance of eating a variety of healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables, drinking water and milk, and engaging in physical activity. As a Girl Scout volunteer, Cheeks encourages her troops to participate in outreach initiatives throughout Jackson. Cheeks has also been instrumental in affording at-risk children the opportunity to engage in experiences they would otherwise not partake—archery, canoeing and forums about social etiquette.

About Feeding Dreams
Feeding Dreams, General Mills multicultural platform to support African-American consumers, recognizes and celebrates local heroes who have devoted their lives to: helping others; nurturing their communities; and charting a better future. In its third year, Feeding Dreams taps top minority-owned businesses to help create and implement the campaign. Visit for complete details.

About General Mills
One of the world’s leading food companies, General Mills operates in more than 100 countries and markets more than 100 consumer brands, including Cheerios, Häagen-Dazs, Nature Valley, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Green Giant, Old El Paso, Progresso, Yoplait, Cascadian Farm, Muir Glen, and more. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, General Mills had fiscal 2010 global net sales of US $16 billion, including the company’s $1.2 billion proportionate share of joint venture net sales.
Feeding Dreams, Honey Nut Cheerios, Grands!, Nature Valley & Betty Crocker are trademarks of General Mills.

YOPLAIT is a registered trademark of YOPLAIT Marques Internationales SAS, France, used under license.

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