Foods gave nearly $70 million in ’20

Published 6:08 pm Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Smithfield Foods contributed nearly $70 million to charitable causes in 2020.

The company’s giving last year was more than $62 million in in-kind donations and $7 million cash to fight hunger and support communities where employees live and work. It’s the largest amount of charitable contributions since the company’s founding in 1936, Smithfield said in a March 12 announcement.

Smithfield expanded donations through Helping Hungry Homes, its hunger relief initiative, which partners with Feeding America and its network of food banks across the United States. Donations of protein-based food products and cash to Feeding America amounted to more than 68 million food servings.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“As Smithfield continues to work overtime to safely maintain America’s food supply amid a pandemic, our company has been fortunate to be in a position to not only continue our philanthropic giving, but to significantly increase our efforts to help our local communities endure extraordinarily difficult times,” said Stewart Leeth, chief sustainability officer for Smithfield Foods.

In another COVID-19 response effort, last June, Smithfield donated personal protective equipment, including 115,000 face shields valued at nearly $700,000, to frontline healthcare workers in nursing homes and hospitals across the nation, along with donations of hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes and face shields to more than 10,000 students in North Carolina.

The company also highlighted that its giving extended beyond food. Last fall, Smithfield pledged $5 million in grants and scholarships to reinforce its corporate commitments to education and diversity, equity and inclusion.

Its outreach and initiatives included providing funding for the North Carolina Business Committee for Education to support wireless hotspots for students in rural areas and improve long-term internet access for underserved communities; supporting Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences to promote diversity in K-12 students who are interested in food, agriculture and natural resource careers; support of the Heritage STEM Camps Foundation through funding a summer camp for minority girls ages 12-18 in the Mid-Atlantic region; and supporting An Achievable Dream, a Hampton Roads-based program that works for equity in education.

The company also expanded its scholarship program, committing more than $1 million in educational scholarships to children and grandchildren of U.S.-based employees. The program presently includes several Historically Black Colleges and Universities and is expanding to additional HBCUs.