November 7, 2008
Smithfield Foods’ Helping Hungry Homes(TM) Initiative and Celebrity Cook Paula Deen Aid D.C.-Area Families With 25,000-Pound Food Donation to Help Offset Growing Need
WASHINGTON, Nov. 7 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Smithfield Foods and celebrity cook Paula Deen, eager to help offset the needs of families at risk of hunger during these uncertain economic times, delivered a 25,000-pound meat donation to the Capital Area Food Bank today as part of the Smithfield Foods Helping Hungry Homes(TM) initiative. The donation equates to 100,000 servings of much-needed protein for hungry families.
Already challenged with the highest poverty rate in the nation for school-age children, the Capital Area Food Bank has experienced a drastic 248 percent increase in calls to its Hunger Lifeline, an emergency food referral line, in the last six months versus the same time period last year.
When added to a similar donation Smithfield Foods made last spring, Helping Hungry Homes has now donated 55,000 pounds of meat to the Capital Area Food Bank this year. The donations equate to approximately 220,000 servings for those facing food insecurity in the Washington, D.C. area.
"During tight economic times, those who have the least suffer the most," said C. Larry Pope, president and chief executive officer of Smithfield Foods. "We welcome this opportunity to renew our commitment to feeding families with this Helping Hungry Homes donation."
Deen, best-selling author and host of Paula's Home Cooking and Paula's Party on the Food Network, helped Smithfield Foods launch Helping Hungry Homes last spring with a 10-city tour that distributed enough food to serve a million people. Deen, along with Smithfield Foods' employees and Capital Area Food Bank staff and volunteers, helped unload today's meat donation.
"We want to do whatever we can to make things better for families who are experiencing tough times," Deen said. "At some point in our lives, we've either needed some help or known others who need help. This is the chance for all of us to join together to help those in need, particularly our children. It breaks my heart to think of kids going to bed hungry every night. All of us have to do something about it. That's why we're here."
According to the Capital Area Food Bank, the poverty rate for school children ages five to 17 in D.C. is 51.3 percent. That translates into one in every two children in the metropolitan area who is at risk of hunger.
"Smithfield Foods is a wonderful example of how corporate partners can make a significant impact in the struggle to end hunger," said Lynn Brantley, president and chief executive officer of the Capital Area Food Bank. "Not only does this donation help the thousands of families who face empty cupboards and suffer quietly, it also shines a spotlight on the escalating issue of hunger during these troubling economic times. We appreciate Smithfield Foods' commitment to addressing hunger."
The 25,000-pound donation included sliced sandwich meats, pork ribs and Paula Deen's Crunchy Honey Glazed Spiral Sliced Hams. Smithfield's Gwaltney(R) and Esskay product brands can be found in Washington, D.C.-area stores.
Smithfield Foods' Helping Hungry Homes initiative was established to help ensure that American families in need do not go hungry. Smithfield Foods and its independent operating companies have a long history of stocking food banks, supporting after-school nutrition programs and community-based groups that support local families in need, and providing food relief in the wake of natural disasters.
The Capital Area Food Bank is the largest public, nonprofit hunger and nutrition education resource in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. Each year the food bank distributes 20 million pounds of food, including 6 million pounds of fresh produce, to more than 700 partner agencies. The Capital Area Food Bank was founded on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday, January 15, in 1980.
Smithfield Foods is a global food company with operations in 13 countries through wholly owned subsidiaries and joint ventures. Headquartered in Smithfield, Va., the company produces more than 50 brands of pork and turkey products and more than 200 gourmet foods. Employing more than 52,000 people across the globe, Smithfield Foods is the world's largest producer and processor of pork and a leader in turkey processing.
Photos are available on request.
CONTACT: Amy Richards of Charleston|Orwig, Inc., +1-262-563-5100, or+1-712-527-2011, [email protected], for Smithfield Foods