Home Commonwealth Clash provides 65K pounds of ‘center-of-the-plate protein’ for local food bank
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Commonwealth Clash provides 65K pounds of ‘center-of-the-plate protein’ for local food bank

Rebecca Barnabi

Smithfield’s Helping Hungry Homes initiative donated 65,000 pounds of protein to local communities supported by Feeding Southwest Virginia and the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank.

The donation before Thanksgiving was part of the Commonwealth Clash, a partnership between Smithfield, UVA and Virginia Tech support food-insecure communities in Virginia.

“These donations, as a part of the Commonwealth Clash, bring these two universities — Virginia Tech and University of Virginia — together in the most meaningful way possible,” said Jonathan Toms, senior community development manager for Smithfield Foods. “Supporting Feeding Southwest Virginia and Blue Ridge Area Food Bank impacts these communities greatly, and we thank them for their continuous efforts to provide relief to the residents of our home state.”

Smithfield representatives presented the donations during two events at each respective food bank, highlighting the importance of center-of-the-plate protein donations for residents of these Virginia communities. The brand also showed appreciation for the staff and volunteers at each food bank by bringing its Bacon Bus to provide lunch.

“Smithfield has our gratitude for this generous donation,” said Michael McKee, CEO of the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. “This will provide much-needed center-of-the-plate protein to the residents of our community and continue to provide hope to our neighbors.”

Smithfield has sponsored the Smithfield Commonwealth Clash since 2014, the rivalry between Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia across all school-sponsored sports. Throughout the year, the company looks to support the communities of Virginia Tech and UVA.

Feeding Southwest Virginia channels more than $33 million in food and groceries through 380 partner feeding programs in its 26-county, nine-city region. The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank serves individuals and families living with hunger across 25 counties and eight cities. With the help of more than 400 programs and pantry partners, the food bank provides nutritious food to more than 125,000 people each month. However, protein continues to be one of the biggest needs for local food banks because of costs and limited resources.

“Receiving this donation from Smithfield brings unsurmountable support in alleviating hunger for Southwest Virginia,” Pamela Irvine, president and CEO for Feeding Southwest Virginia, said. “We are thankful for the partnership with the high demand for food assistance in our area.”

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.