Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Local Food Company Contributes Funds to Ukraine Crisis Relief

World Central Kitchen is an organization dedicated to providing meals on the frontlines of humanitarian, climate, and community crises. (Courtesy of World Central Kitchen)

SMITHFIELD — Smithfield Foods, Inc., based out of Smithfield, Va., announced on Monday, March 21 that it has contributed $2 million towards relief efforts in Ukraine.

Of that funding, $1 million is dedicated to supporting philanthropic partners who are aiding Ukrainian refugees as well as those classified as war victims. These partners include Global Red Cross Network, Mercy Chefs, Save the Children, and World Central Kitchen (WCK).

“Like the rest of the world, we are humbled and moved by the resilience of the Ukrainian people,” said President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Smithfield Foods Shane Smith.

The Global Red Cross Network (which includes the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies as well as the International Committee of the Red Cross) has provided immediate and long-term relief and recovery as well as critical humanitarian services in Ukraine and neighboring countries. Some of its aid include providing temporary shelter for refugees, counseling, as well as health services and supplies.

Mercy Chefs, a Portsmouth (Va.)-based organization dedicated to providing restaurant-quality meals to victims, first responders, and volunteers of natural disasters and national emergencies, has sent “boots on the ground” to provide necessities such as food and water to those fleeing Ukraine (mostly women, children, and the elderly). These supplies include shelf-staple foods, fresh fruit, baby formula, and other basic supplies. Additionally, the organization is providing for these supplies within a few miles from where the fighting is taking place.

Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) being briefed on the continued crisis in Ukraine (Courtesy of ICRC)

“Procuring and delivering food and supplies to Ukrainian refugees in Romania and across the border into Ukraine is as impactful as anything we’ve done,” said Founder and CEO of Mercy Chefs Gary LeBlanc. “This incredible donation from Smithfield Foods enables us to help thousands of refugees fleeing Ukraine and deliver food to those who remain in Ukraine. We are extremely grateful to everyone at Smithfield Foods for the opportunity to help the people of Ukraine.”

Save the Children, a global organization dedicated to the mission of “every child deserves a future,” is providing immediate aid to children and families in Ukraine by providing food, water, hygiene kits, cash assistance, as well as psychosocial support during the crisis. Additionally, the organization is providing specialist teams to provide the impacted children access to a safe, inclusive, and quality education. Save the Children notes that particular concerns include illnesses like hypothermia as well as an increased risk of hunger, illness, human trafficking, and abuse.

“Save the Children is extremely grateful to Smithfield Foods for their support during this time of crisis in Ukraine,” said Chief Development Officer, Save the Children Luciana Bonifacio. “This partnership will help protect children from harm and meet the urgent needs of children and their families who are in grave danger across Ukraine and the region.”

World Central Kitchen (WCK), which is dedicated to providing meals on the frontlines of humanitarian, climate, and community crises, is providing meals for those families across Ukraine, Poland, Romania, Moldova, and Hungary. The organization reports that it has served one million meals to the impacted populations.

“World Central Kitchen is grateful for Smithfield’s support and belief in our mission. They share our belief that a plate of food is more than just nourishment, it’s hope and a sign that someone cares,” said WCK Vice President of Relief Jason Collis. “Their support will allow us to continue to provide fresh and comforting meals to Ukrainians fleeing their homes as well as those staying in the country.”

Each organization will receive $250,000 each to put towards their continued efforts.

Smithfield Foods announced that it has dedicated an additional $1 million to providing food and “other in-kind” donations. The global food company, which has operations in seven countries including Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, the United Kingdom, and Mexico, has dedicated support for its Ukrainian team members and refugees by providing secure transportation, employment, accommodations, and other forms of care assistance. Additionally, Smithfield Europe has continued to provide donations of shelf-stable foods and proteins to food banks and temporary shelters across the impacted region.

“Over the last few weeks, our team members in Central Europe have mobilized to provide desperately needed resources and other aid to the citizens of Ukraine on the ground,” said Smith. “We are deeply proud of the decisive action our Smithfield Family has taken near the border and are committed to supporting and amplifying their good work.”

“[We’re] doing everything we can to help, starting with our Ukrainian team members,” said Executive Vice President of European Operations for Smithfield Foods Luis Cerdan. “As the majority of refugees have fled to countries bordering Ukraine where our businesses are located, we feel a heightened responsibility at Smithfield Europe to provide holistic support during this tragic time.”

Smithfield Foods, Inc., which was founded in 1936, has more than 60,000 jobs globally with a mission statement of delivering, “Good Food. Responsibly.” To learn more, please visit the website for Smithfield Foods, Inc.

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