Smithfield Foods, Inc., the world's largest hog producer and pork processor, was awarded the NASCAR Partner Award with Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) last week. Each year, this award is given to a company that demonstrates a commitment to NASCAR diversity goals through its program support and engagement.
With goals of making communities better throughout our county, Smithfield's sponsorship of RPM and driver Aric Almirola has amplified its outreach efforts for Helping Hungry Homes®, Smithfield's hunger-relief initiative focused on alleviating hunger and helping Americans become more food secure.
Smithfield has made a focused effort of giving back to the community, especially in NASCAR markets, throughout its partnership with RPM. In 2015, Smithfield's Helping Hungry Homes® initiative joined Almirola and NASCAR Diversity to donate 43,000 pounds of protein to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. In total, Helping Hungry Homes® has provided more than 49 million servings of protein to food banks throughout the country.
"At Smithfield Foods, we feed people - it's what we do," said Dennis Pittman, senior director of hunger relief for Smithfield Foods. "Through Helping Hungry Homes, we are able to donate millions of pounds of nutritious, high-quality protein to food banks across the country each year and raise awareness of food insecurity across our country through our donation events."
Last year, Smithfield also partnered with RPM to host school events in California and Illinois at middle schools with a high percentage of Hispanic and low-income students. The two events treated the students and their families to a Smithfield dinner prior to meeting Almirola. In 2016, over 500 students and their families heard Almirola's message to stay in school and that hard work pays off. The program will expand to four events this year and kicked off last week in Almirola's hometown of Tampa, Florida.
"Aric came to us and wanted to give back to the Hispanic community and inspire them to chase their dreams," said Pittman. "Aric is the perfect example of the 'American Dream', and we were thrilled to be able to join together to give back to these kids and their families. The schools have high percentages of free or reduced lunches and low income families, and we're proud that we can take the burden off for one night and feed their families while Aric inspires them with his story."
Smithfield joined Almirola in the 59th Annual Daytona 500 Sunday, Feb. 26. Almirola finished fourth place in the race, his career-best Daytona 500 finish.