BRISTOL, Tenn. — Four tractor-trailer loads of meat rolled into the Mountain Empire within the last 48 hours, courtesy of Smithfield Foods. That’s more than 320,000 pounds of meat that will be distributed among the region’s hungry.
Officials with Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee and Feeding America Southwest Virginia were presented with the allotment during ceremonies at Friday’s Food City Race Night at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Second Harvest Executive Director Rhonda Chafin says the new distribution center in Sullivan County has a massive cold storage freezer that will preserve the protein supplies for several weeks, but the stark reality is that meat supply will be gone in a short time.
“That is just another measure of having to feed 40,000 people in our region each month,” Chafin said. “We are just so grateful for this donation and the help that Food City provided to help in securing it.”
The two food bank providers were able to leverage the supplies due to a national program that Smithfield created called Helping Hungry Homes, according to company Director of Marketing Dennis Pittman.
Smithfield donated 6.9 million servings of food through the program in 2012, according to company data, and Pittman said it will continue to truck meat supplies to all 50 states to raise awareness for food insecure homes in the U.S.
Chafin also noted that this type of donation is needed because their agency budget has to cut costs sometimes by forgoing meat products because of the high prices.
“This is something that we will be able to utilize through soup kitchens, summer feeding programs for children and other programming we offer in our service area. We can make this stretch,” Chafin said.
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