PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Hosea Feed The Hungry and Homeless (HFTH), which provides food and other services to thousands of Atlanta-area residents every day, today received more than 13,000 pounds of meat to help feed local families, thanks to Smithfield Foods' 10-city Helping Hungry Homes(TM) Across America tour, an initiative led by celebrity cook Paula Deen.
The tour's goal is to provide one million servings of meat to the nation's hungry families, including those in Atlanta and surrounding communities. About 21 percent of Georgia's children live in poverty, which is more than 480,000 children under the age of 18, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics.
Jamie and Bobby Deen, who regularly appear on their mother's Food Network shows and have authored their own cookbook, made the trip up from Savannah today to help volunteers from HFTH unload a Smithfield Foods truck carrying more than 13,000 pounds of Smithfield(R), Old World, Lykes(R) and Powerpak(R) brands of ham, sausages and lunch meat.
Later in the day, Jamie and Bobby Deen accompanied HFTH volunteers to help deliver meat and other food products to families in Sylvan Heights and West End neighborhoods.
"We've heard about the many good deeds of Hosea Feed The Hungry and Homeless for some time, and when our family decided to partner with Smithfield Foods' Helping Hungry Homes tour, we wanted to make sure the tour stopped in Atlanta so that we could personally help this wonderful organization distribute much-needed food to hungry families," said Bobby Deen.
"The dedicated people of Hosea Feed The Hungry and Homeless have been providing food, clothing and other critical services to families and the homeless in Georgia for 37 years, and they've made a tremendous difference in the lives of the working poor. It's important to the city of Atlanta, Smithfield Foods and our family to see their work continue," added Jamie Deen.
"I was watching 'The Big Idea' and I saw the wonderful Deen family talking about poverty in America. It was so encouraging to see that someone of their stature realized what a crisis we have in America regarding health disparities and food insecurity. I said to my husband and co-director, 'I wish we could participate in something like that'. No more than two days later I got a call from Smithfield Foods letting me know that we were the chosen partner for the Atlanta area! I was elated because we had just fed some 40,000 from November to January and our food resources were getting low for our pantry, Easter Dinner Event and year-round daily food distribution from the HFTH Food Bank. I knew we had to feed our 60 families per week and the thousands for the upcoming event somehow. The Smithfield Foods Helping Hungry Homes initiative was straightaway in agreement with our proclamation that as long as Hosea Feed The Hungry exists no one ever has to go hungry and we truly appreciate the efforts of Smithfield Foods, Paula Deen, and her sons Jamie and Bobby in supporting our ongoing work," said Elisabeth Omilami, co-executive director of Hosea Feed The Hungry and Homeless.
Omilami pointed out nearly 1.4 million Georgia residents live in poverty and more than 12 percent of the state's households are food insecure.
The Smithfield Foods' Helping Hungry Homes Across America tour began in Deen's hometown, Savannah, on January 14 and has now reached Philadelphia, New York City and Atlanta. Additional scheduled stops include Kansas City, Los Angeles, Chicago, New Orleans and Washington, D.C., before concluding in Detroit.
The Helping Hungry Homes initiative was established to help ensure that American families in need do not go hungry. Smithfield Foods and its independent operating companies have a long history of stocking food banks, supporting after-school nutrition programs and providing food relief in the wake of natural disasters. This 10-city tour will distribute 250,000 pounds of meat products with an estimated retail value of more than one million dollars.
"Although Smithfield Foods has long been a supporter of hunger relief initiatives, we felt the need to help shine a spotlight on an ever-increasing problem for American families," said Dennis Treacy, vice president of environmental and corporate affairs for Smithfield Foods.
"Providing hunger relief with Paula Deen and her family through our Helping Hungry Homes initiative will remain a high priority throughout our family of companies," Treacy added.
Hosea Feed The Hungry and Homeless is the major supplier of food for thousands of homeless and working poor people each year throughout the state of Georgia. Hosea Feed The Hungry serves a network of more than 60 organizations including soup kitchens, food pantries, shelters, low-income daycare centers, boarding houses, public housing partners and senior-citizen hi-rises. Additionally, they provide food and financial assistance through weekly food bank distributions, four annual holiday dinner events, weekly outreach to the homeless, senior citizens' meals-on-wheels and other emergency and community food programs. Hosea Feed The Hungry has distributed over 3 million tons of food since its inception in 1971 by founders Hosea and Juanita Williams and programs include a planned 26-unit housing development for homeless families. In addition to its food programs in the United States, Hosea Feed The Hungry operates a school in the Philippines and sponsors medical missions in Haiti and an orphanage in Soroti, Uganda. For more information call 404-755-3353 or visit http://www.hoseafeedthehungry.com/.
Smithfield Foods is a global food company with operations in 13 countries through wholly owned subsidiaries and joint ventures. Headquartered in Smithfield, Va., the company produces more than 50 brands of pork, beef and turkey products and more than 200 gourmet foods. Employing more than 57,000 people across the globe, Smithfield Foods is the world's largest producer and processor of pork and a leader in turkey processing, cattle feeding and beef processing.