Submitted by Smithfield Foods
Today, Smithfield Foods announced a commitment of $2 million over the next two years to support the North Carolina Business Committee for Education, a non-profit organization helping create connections between education and the overall work readiness of citizens across the state. This grant will provide funding for wireless hotspots to better connect students in rural areas as well as address long-term internet access solutions for disadvantaged communities. With the 2020-2021 school beginning, Smithfield's donation will give thousands of households in Duplin, Sampson, Bladen and Robeson Counties access to virtual learning at a time of heightened need, as school districts increasingly rely on online education amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"These have been challenging times for so many across the country. Recognizing our ability to do more to support communities in our own backyard, we leapt at the opportunity to assist the North Carolina Business Committee for Education as it provides connection to rural communities during a time of uncertainty and when it is needed most," said Steve Evans, Director of Community Development for Smithfield Foods. "I am incredibly proud to be a part of this Smithfield Family as we begin to bridge the gap between our rural communities and the future."
Ongoing societal conversations across America have underscored inequalities across the United States. All too often, those disparities extend to connectivity and the steep digital divide that rural and underserved communities frequently face. As Smithfield focuses on creating a more inclusive culture within the company, as well as a more inclusive, equal and just society outside its four walls, the company recognized an immediate need to provide internet access for students in the communities it serves as schools across the state return to session, primarily via distant learning.
"We want to thank Smithfield for recognizing the urgent need to get North Carolina students connected and stepping up in such a big way," said Thomas Parrish, Acting Secretary of the N.C. Department of Information Technology and State Chief Information Officer. "It is critical to invest in our students, and partnerships like these help us better meet the needs of our communities during these unprecedented times."
Many rural counties had 50 percent of students unable to access remote learning last spring due to interruptions caused by COVID-19. This funding will address a critical and immediate need for low-income students in historically underserved communities.
"Smithfield Foods has always been a steadfast partner for the state of North Carolina, particularly for the rural communities in which they operate," added North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. "Their generous support of the North Carolina Business Committee for Education will bring internet connectivity to thousands of households, providing a tremendous amount of value and opportunity for our students and their families."
About Smithfield Foods, Inc.
Headquartered in Smithfield, Va. since 1936, Smithfield Foods, Inc. is an American food company with agricultural roots and a global reach. Our 40,000 U.S. employees are dedicated to producing "Good food. Responsibly.®" and have made us one of the world's leading vertically integrated protein companies. We have pioneered sustainability standards for more than two decades, including many industry firsts, such as our ambitious commitment to cut our carbon impact by 25 percent by 2025. We believe in the power of protein to end food insecurity and have donated hundreds of millions of food servings to our neighbors in need. Smithfield boasts a portfolio of high-quality iconic brands, such as Smithfield®, Eckrich®, and Nathan's Famous®, among many others. For more information, visit www.smithfieldfoods.com, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
Smithfield Foods is a $15 billion global food company and the world's largest pork processor and hog producer. In the United States, the company is also the leader in numerous packaged meats categories with popular brands including SmithfieldÂ®, EckrichÂ®, Nathan's FamousÂ®, FarmlandÂ®, ArmourÂ®, John MorrellÂ®, Cook'sÂ®, KretschmarÂ®, GwaltneyÂ®, Curly'sÂ®, MargheritaÂ®, CarandoÂ®, Healthy OnesÂ®, KrakusÂ®, MorlinyÂ® and BerlinkiÂ®. Smithfield Foods is committed to providing good food in a responsible way and maintains robust animal care, community involvement, employee safety, environmental and food safety and quality programs. For more information, visit www.smithfieldfoods.com
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