Smithfield Foods and Kroger joined forces to donate nearly 33,000 pounds of protein to the Mid-South community in Memphis. Equivalent to more than 130,000 servings, the donation supported more than 1,000 local veterans at a Thanksgiving food drive event. Following the event, remaining servings will continue to benefit those in need through the Mid-South Food Bank's 31-county service area. The donation was part of Smithfield's Helping Hungry Homes initiative, a program focused on alleviating hunger and helping Americans become more food secure.
"Protein, an important part to a balanced diet, is a resource that is difficult for food banks and so many of our neighbors in need to acquire," said Estella Mayhue-Greer, president and CEO of Mid-South Food Bank. "We are thankful for Smithfield's considerable donation, that will help us to serve nutrient-rich meals to thousands in our community for weeks to come."
Smithfield presented the donation at a Thanksgiving food drive for local veterans at Liberty Bowl Stadium, in Memphis. The food drive was hosted by Kroger, the City of Memphis and Alpha Omega Veterans Services. The event provided Thanksgiving care packages to more than 1,000 local veterans, and raised awareness of hunger's impact in the Mid-South community. During the event, Mayor Jim Strickland, Smithfield and Kroger discussed the significance of protein donations in helping to support 20 percent of Mid-South community members who face food insecurity each day.
"At Kroger, we're honored to give back to the communities we call home," said Scot Hendricks, president of Kroger Delta Division and Mid-South Food Bank board member. "This season is a time to give thanks, and we're incredibly thankful for great partners like Smithfield, who help make our purpose to Feed the Human Spirit possible."
Throughout its 2017 Helping Hungry Homes tour, Smithfield will make large-scale protein donations to more than 60 food banks across the country. Since 2011, Smithfield has provided more than 80 million servings of protein to hunger relief organizations through this initiative. Smithfield's donation to the Mid-South community also aligns with the company's philanthropic efforts, which include supporting hunger-relief and veterans' causes among other areas of focus.
"As a global food company, we value our responsibility to provide hunger relief for those who otherwise may not know where their next meal will come from," said Dennis Pittman, senior director of hunger relief for Smithfield Foods. "We hope this contribution to the community will inspire others to support their neighbors in need during the holidays, when donations are especially impactful, and year-round."