Smithfield Foods is trucking 28,000 pounds of food, the equivalent of 112,000 servings, to Live Oak, Florida, to provide hot meals to communities devastated by Hurricane Idalia.
The food, which includes Smithfield bacon, pork chops, ribs and pork loins, will be delivered to Mercy Chefs, a Portsmouth, Virginia-based nonprofit that deploys to disaster zones across America. Mercy Chefs will serve free, chef-prepared, restaurant-quality hot meals to hurricane victims, volunteers and first responders in western Florida.
Mercy Chefs’ mobile kitchen and smoker will be on site at Suwanee Middle School in Live Oak, Florida, to serve multiple free meals per day to anyone in the community who is in need. The team will also distribute meals up and down the western Florida coast to those unable to make it to the base of operations. To make a donation or find out how to volunteer locally, visit Mercy Chefs’ website.
“The devastation we have already seen from Hurricane Idalia has been tragic, with hundreds of thousands of families impacted by the storm,” said Jonathan Toms, senior community affairs manager for Smithfield Foods. “We are proud to stand with our partners from Mercy Chefs to help these communities, and we hope that our donation of protein and the meals served will provide comfort and relief to the first responders, search and rescue teams, and neighbors affected by this hurricane.”
“As we respond to Hurricane Idalia, we are immensely grateful for our friends at Smithfield Foods,” said Chef Gary LeBlanc, founder and chief executive officer of Mercy Chefs. “We rely on their partnership during disasters like this one, because their support helps us reach even more people in need.”
Since 2008, Smithfield has provided hundreds of millions of servings of protein in all 50 U.S. states, as well as in Poland, Romania and Mexico, through its Helping Hungry Homes hunger relief program. In 2022, the company donated nearly 25 million servings of protein to food banks, disaster relief efforts and community outreach programs across the U.S. To reflect its continued commitment to fighting food insecurity, Smithfield has pledged to donate 200 million servings of protein by 2025.