As the 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 more than 60,000 pounds of protein – more than 240,000 servings – to the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank and Feeding Southwest Virginia during the 2022-23 school year.
“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 Jan. 27 at each respective food bank. Speakers discussed the importance of donations for Virginia communities, which provides protein to residents while helping the food banks maintain their high volume of food distribution. During the events, Smithfield brought its Bacon Bus to provide meals for food bank staff and volunteers to 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 more than 19 percent. Feeding Southwest Virginia’s donated food supply is down 16 percent 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 people in Southwest Virginia are forced to make the 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 donations are part of Smithfield Foods’ Helping Hungry Homes initiative. 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 sustainability.smithfieldfoods.com/helping-communities.