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Smithfield Foods takes a bite out of hunger this season

Firm donates over 32,000 pounds of protein to Northern Illinois Food Bank, distributes free "Hams for the Holidays" in Virginia.

December 26, 2023

4 Min Read
Smithfield Foods

Smithfield Foods donated more than 32,000 pounds of protein, the equivalent of 130,000 servings, to the Northern Illinois Food Bank. The donation of pork products will help fight hunger and provide nutritionally important protein for Illinois families this holiday season.

"Hunger does not take a holiday break and neither do we," said Jonathan Toms, senior manager of community development for Smithfield Foods. "Together, with our more than 2,000 Illinois team members, Smithfield Foods is proud to give back in the best way that we know how this holiday season, by providing essential protein to our neighbors in need. The holiday season should be spent celebrating with loved ones, not worrying about finding food to put on the table."

Following the food donation, team members from Smithfield's St. Charles location volunteered at the food bank, sorting and packing meals for their neighbors in need.

"We are so grateful for our longstanding partners at Smithfield Foods," said Jacob Lamplough, donor development manager for Northern Illinois Food Bank. "The enduring collaboration has allowed us to strengthen our communities together. Today's generous protein donation will significantly contribute to addressing the increasing needs in our communities. As we witness a growing need, focusing on protein in our distributions becomes paramount. This support from Smithfield Foods exemplifies the power of partnerships in creating positive impacts and nourishing those who need it most."

The Northern Illinois Food Bank provides 250,000 meals per day across 13 Illinois counties by partnering with more than 900 food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, and youth and senior feeding programs through the Feeding America Network.

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The company also distributed 1,000 spiral sliced hams to families and individuals in the Hampton Roads, Virginia, area to help fight hunger during the holiday season.

A food distribution event was held on Dec. 16 in Smithfield, Virginia, where more than 50 Smithfield Foods volunteers distributed 1,000 Smithfield Hickory Smoked Spiral Sliced Hams and holiday sides to neighbors facing hunger in the local community.

Smithfield worked with the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank, Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore, and their networks of local partner agencies, to invite individuals and families at risk of food insecurity to pick up a free holiday meal.

Kroger joined Smithfield in the "Hams for the Holidays" food distribution, providing 1,000 grocery bags with holiday sides to compliment the 1,000 spiral sliced hams Smithfield distributed at the event.

"I grew up in Smithfield and have lived in this area nearly all my life, and I've seen the positive impacts Smithfield Foods has made in this community in the 30-plus years of my career here," said Keller Watts, chief business officer for Smithfield Foods. "We're grateful to have the opportunity to share with our neighbors in need to assure they have a delicious Smithfield Spiral Sliced Ham for their holiday meal. We especially appreciate our friends at Kroger for providing the side dishes to round out the holiday dinner plate."

"Kroger is pleased to support the efforts of our local food bank partners, who do so much to fight hunger in the community," said James Menees, corporate affairs manager for Kroger. "Thanks to Smithfield, together we'll provide holiday meals this season for families all across Hampton Roads."

"Smithfield Foods continues to be a cherished partner of ours through their dedication to supporting our neighbors who are in need of healthy meals and hope," said Karen Joyner, chief executive officer of Virginia Peninsula Foodbank. "Their collaboration with Kroger on the Hams for the Holiday event during a challenging holiday season for numerous families visibly illuminates their philanthropic priorities of strengthening local communities and fighting hunger. We are tremendously grateful for their investment and support."

"This event exemplifies the spirit of compassion and generosity that defines the holiday season and Smithfield Foods' commitment to their hometown community," said Christopher Tan, president and CEO of the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore. "Hams for the Holidays not only provides nourishment to our neighbors in need during this festive time but also symbolizes the partnership between our local food banks, Smithfield, and Kroger, reinforcing the vital role collaborative efforts play in creating a hunger-free community."

Since 2008, Smithfield's signature hunger relief program, Helping Hungry Homes, has provided hundreds of millions of servings of protein all 50 U.S. states, as well as in Poland, Romania and Mexico. In 2022, Smithfield donated nearly 25 million servings of protein to food banks, disaster relief efforts and community outreach programs across the U.S. To reflect its continued commitment to fighting food insecurity, Smithfield has pledged to donate 200 million servings of protein by 2025.

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