SMITHFIELD, Va. – As presenting sponsor of the annual rivalry games known as the Commonwealth Clash, Smithfield® united with the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech to recognize two local Virginia food banks for their commitment to providing communities with accessible nourishment through food pantries and meals. As an extension of Smithfield’s Helping Hungry Homes program, the brand donated over 60,000 pounds of protein – more than 240,000 servings – to the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank and Feeding Southwest Virginia during the 2022-2023 school year to aid in hunger relief efforts for children, seniors, and families.
“As a Virginia-based brand and longtime supporter of the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech athletic departments, we’re excited to be sponsoring the Commonwealth Clash for another year and collaborating with both schools on community outreach events,” said Jonathan Toms, senior community development manager for Smithfield Foods. “We want to thank the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank and Feeding Southwest Virginia for their tireless commitment to lighten the burden of food insecurity for many families. We look forward to providing relief to our home state for many years to come.”
Representatives from Smithfield® presented the donations during events that took place this week at each respective food bank. Speakers discussed the importance of donations for Virginia communities, which provide valuable center-of-the-plate protein to residents while helping the food banks maintain their current high volume of food distribution. During the events, Smithfield brought its Bacon Bus to provide meals for food bank staff and volunteers to further thank those making an impact locally.
The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank serves almost 110,000 people monthly throughout its 25-county and eight-city region. Protein is one of the most requested food items.
“With the high demand for food assistance in our area, we’re thankful for this additional support from Smithfield,” said Michael McKee, CEO for the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. “Receiving these protein donations will help us alleviate hunger and provide hope for families across Central and Western Virginia.”
In counties such as Buchanan, Lee and Dickenson, the food insecurity rate is over 19 percent. Feeding Southwest Virginia’s donated food supply is down 16% from a year ago, and the organization is purchasing more truckloads of food, which can cost upwards of 40,000 dollars, to meet the needs of the community. Many neighbors in Southwest Virginia are forced to make the impossible choice between food, rent, utilities, medicine and many more expenses.
“We want to thank Smithfield for the generous donation they’ve provided for us today,” said Pamela Irvine, president and CEO for Feeding Southwest Virginia. “With the crucial shift in the economy and supply chain, we’re grateful to be given this opportunity so we can continue to serve this essential protein to our neighbors in need.”
These two significant donations are part of Smithfield Foods’ Helping Hungry Homes initiative, the company’s coast-to-coast effort to help families and individuals become more food secure. Since 2008, the company has donated hundreds of millions of protein servings to food banks, community outreach programs and disaster-relief efforts in all 50 states. To learn more, visit https://sustainability.smithfieldfoods.com/helping-communities.
Smithfield® isn’t only a leading provider of high-quality pork products. We’re a leading provider of the most important part of any meal: premium, high-quality meat. And we take our meat duties seriously. After all, the rest of the meal is just a side dish. Smithfield products were first introduced in 1936 in Smithfield, Virginia, by people who lived for the love of meat. Today, the Smithfield brand stands for craftsmanship, authenticity, and pure passion as we continue to give meat-lovers across the country the deliciousness they crave: our classic bacon, slow-smoked holiday hams, hand-trimmed ribs, marinated fresh pork, smoked meats, and even more meaty magic. All Smithfield products not only meet our customers’ high flavor standards but also meet the highest quality and safety standards in the industry. All while being produced right here in the USA. To learn more about the Smithfield portfolio of products, please visit www.Smithfield.com and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Smithfield® is a brand of Smithfield Foods, Inc.
About Smithfield Foods, Inc.
Headquartered in Smithfield, Virginia, since 1936, Smithfield Foods, Inc. is an American food company with agricultural roots and a global reach. With more than 60,000 jobs globally, we are dedicated to producing “Good food. Responsibly.®” and serve as one of the world’s leading vertically integrated protein companies. We have pioneered sustainability standards for more than two decades, including our industry-leading commitments to become carbon negative in our U.S. company-owned operations and reduce GHG emissions 30% across our entire U.S. value chain by 2030. We believe in the power of protein to end food insecurity and have donated hundreds of millions of food servings to our communities. Smithfield boasts a portfolio of high-quality iconic brands, such as Smithfield®, Eckrich® and Nathan’s Famous®, among many others. For more information, visit www.smithfieldfoods.com, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.
About Blue Ridge Area Food Bank
Founded in 1981 and headquartered in Verona, Virginia, the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank is the largest organization alleviating hunger in western and central Virginia. The Food Bank serves an average of 109,500 people per month across 25 counties and eight cities through distribution centers in Charlottesville, Lynchburg, Winchester, and Verona. We’re serving record numbers of Virginians during a prolonged pandemic and its associated economic impacts through our network of more than 400 community partners, which includes food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, schools, libraries, health care clinics, community centers, and more. We pledge to continue innovating and adapting to secure, store, and distribute more food to more individuals, families, children, and seniors experiencing hunger. The Food Bank is a member of Feeding America®, a national food bank association that supports 200 food banks across the United States providing 6.6 billion meals to tens of millions of people through 60,000 partner pantries. For more information, visit www.brafb.org.
About Feeding Southwest Virginia
Feeding Southwest Virginia is a member of Feeding America®. For the last four decades, the Food Bank’s ultimate mission has been to: nourish neighbors, engage community partners, and develop solutions to address food insecurity. The primary function of the Food Bank is to secure and distribute large quantities of food for our neighbors. Approximately $30 million worth of food and grocery-related products are channeled annually through more than 370 food pantries and meal programs in our 26-county, 9-city region. Visit www.feedingswva.org for more information or like us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.