Smithfield foods sends protein to New Orleans 

Published 5:26 pm Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Smithfield Foods earlier this month dispatched a truck carrying 40,000 pounds of protein to New Orleans to support hunger relief in the wake of catastrophic damage inflicted by Hurricane Ida, one of the most intense hurricanes to ever strike Louisiana, which left nearly a million residents without power or water on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

The 160,000 protein servings will be intercepted in Louisiana by Mercy Chefs, a Portsmouth-based non-profit that deploys to disaster zones across America to serve free, chef-prepared, restaurant-quality hot meals to victims, volunteers and first responders.

“We have expanded our distribution model to accommodate the extreme devastation Hurricane Ida has caused our beloved New Orleans community,” said Chef Gary LeBlanc, founder and CEO of Mercy Chefs. “Never before in our 16 years of service have we seen demand this great. Our partnership with Smithfield continues to be a tremendous blessing, supplying us with quality food in abundance with which we will lovingly make meals that provide comfort and relief amid terrible loss.”

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Mercy Chefs is presently utilizing a central location off I-10 in Metairie, Louisiana, to service several meal distribution locations in the area. For information on meal distribution times and locations or to volunteer locally, visit

Last month, Smithfield supplied Mercy Chefs with a 40,000-pound truckload of protein to support the non-profit’s disaster response to sudden fatal rain and flooding events near Waverly, Tennessee.

“Relieving hunger is among Smithfield’s greatest social responsibilities and aspirations as a food company,” said Jonathan Toms, charitable initiatives manager at Smithfield Foods. “We are humbled by the work our partner Mercy Chefs is doing and for the opportunity to help nourish members of our local communities as they recover. Our thoughts are with the people of Louisiana and all who are recuperating from natural disasters across our country.”

Helping Communities is a featured pillar of Smithfield’s industry leading sustainability program. Since 2008, the company has donated hundreds of millions of protein servings across the U.S. through its signature hunger-relief initiative Helping Hungry Homes and recently pledged to donate an additional 100 million servings by 2025.