Smithfield Foods Helping Hungry Homes program delivers much needed protein donation

Christine T. Nguyen—The North State Journal
From left

Smithfield Foods’ Helping Hungry Homes initiative rolled into North Carolina this week to mark National Hunger Action Month in a big way. The company brought 80,000 pounds of protein to donate to the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina and the Second Harvest Food Bank of Southeast North Carolina at a series of donation events in Raleigh, Fayetteville, Wilmington, and Greenville.”Geographically this is an area we wanted to be in, so working with these four cities was natural.” said Dennis Pittman, Senior Director of Hunger Relief with Smithfield Foods. “This gives us a chance to give back in the communities in which we work and live, but it is larger than that. Along with the Smithfield donation of protein, our employees are donating non-perishable items as well.” Employees have been supplementing the donations with canned goods and non-perishables at Smithfield facilities and there was a community food drive at The Muscadine Festival on September 23-24.Before the unloading of the truck in Raleigh at the Food Bank of CENC, Pittman emphasized the importance of North Carolina to Smithfield Foods. “We have farmers here, we have workers that work in the processing plants, we have truckers that haul. We have over 10,000 employees that are contributing to the economy of this state—all of us want to be a part of the solution to ending hunger.”The Helping Hungry Homes program started in 2008 with a single truck load donation of food. On the impact the donations make, Peter Werbicki, President and CEO of the Food Bank of CENC said “We serve more than 50 million meals to members of our community living in food insecure homes, and we are very thankful for Smithfield’s Helping Hungry Homes donation of wholesome protein. It will provide support for our neighbors who are facing hunger.”To date, Helping Hungry Homes has provided more than 65 million servings of protein to food banks across America. “This year we’re going to deliver over 30 loads of product going to food banks, and next year our goal is 50 loads going all across the country.” Pittman said at the Food Bank of CENC on Wednesday, September 21 for the first delivery of the week. “The question has been asked several times why we do this. We do this because we are a food company and we are in the business of feeding people.”