Company distributes pork to food pantries in all 50 states through their Helping Hungry Homes program.
For over a decade, the Helping Hungry Homes® program has fulfilled a mission of highest importance in communities around the U.S.: Providing assistance to families facing food insecurity by furnishing food pantries with hams and pork products, the kinds of meal centerpieces that are often in short supply, especially around the holiday season.
Smithfield Foods — a global consumer packaged goods and protein company that started as a pork processor in 1936 in Smithfield, Virginia — started their Helping Hungry Homes program to provide food assistance that was lacking around the country. Over the last decade, the program has ballooned in size and reach; by 2018, more than 117 million servings of pork had been distributed via local food pantries around the country year-round, including to serve those in regions adversely affected by natural disasters, like the recent California wildfires.
Since the inception of their Helping Hungry Homes program, Smithfield has given more than 145 million servings of ham and other pork products to food-insecure residents around the U.S., in the process passing a major milestone. With new donations this year in Wyoming, New Mexico and Hawaii, the company — in partnership with Feeding America® — has now provided food assistance in all 50 U.S. states.
“The partnerships we’ve made in every state in the country have showed what can be accomplished when working together with likeminded organizations,” said Smithfield Foods Associate Manager of Charitable Initiatives Jonathan Toms. “This isn’t canned or boxed food and it can be logistically challenging to provide fresh, center-of-the-plate protein to those in need. But it has really just been a matter of getting in touch with the right partners and forging new relationships.”
The Helping Hungry Homes pork donation to Hawaii was the largest donation of protein the food bank had ever received, and other strategic partnerships — like one with the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank in Hampton, Virginia — have helped make food assistance more readily available to those in need. Smithfield works with the Foodbank to provide pork products and other food to veterans in need via a mobile food pantry at the local Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital.
“Smithfield is working with people to make sure we are getting food to those who need it in ways that are more innovative and well thought-out,” Toms said. “The fight against hunger is a very real struggle that Americans experience every day, so we have to remain committed to solving this issue.”
Donations like those through Smithfield’s Helping Hungry Homes program are critical to helping food-insecure Americans recover from challenges that create difficult financial decisions. The goal for Smithfield is to enable those individuals to reach their full potential without having to worry about where their next meal is coming from.
“Donating food is often seen as a singular solution to a complex problem,” Toms said. “What we’re really doing through this program is eliminating the difficult decision that too many Americans face on having to choose between buying food, medicine, school supplies, or paying overdue medical bills. All of a sudden, this food becomes much more than just a one-time offer of support — it’s a pathway of promise that enables these individuals to take care of the things in their life that are also pressing needs and address those root causes of hunger.”
Learn more about Smithfield’s Helping Hungry Homes program here.