N.C. State Fair Announces New Partnership with Smithfield Foods

Smithfield Foods Hunger Relief Day to be held Thursday, Oct. 21

RALEIGH – Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler announced today that Smithfield Foods, Inc. will be the corporate partner for Hunger Relief Day at the 2021 N.C. State Fair. The popular event allows fairgoers to gain free admission to the Fair by donating canned food items. 

“Smithfield has a history of taking care of its food insecure neighbors. Hunger Relief Day at the Fair is our way of giving back to those around us as well,” said Troxler. “Each year, over 50,000 fairgoers come through the gates by giving back to those in need. As we head into the winter months, this food is essential to the food banks across our state, and I am proud to have a company like Smithfield join us in feeding our neighbors.” 

Hunger Relief Day began at the N.C. State Fair in 1993 and since then, fairgoers have donated over 5.3 million pounds of food to the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina and its partners. It has become one of the largest one-day canned-food drives in the state. Smithfield Foods Hunger Relief Day will take place on Thursday, Oct. 21. Fairgoers can bring six cans of food to the fair gates to exchange for free admission. 

“Smithfield is thrilled to be a part of this special N.C. State Fair tradition,” said Jonathan Toms, charitable initiatives manager for Smithfield Foods. “North Carolina is an important state for our company — home to nearly 10,000 dedicated employees who work hard on our farms and in our facilities to provide food for many North Carolinians and Americans. We’re honored to partner with the Fair and the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina as part of our ongoing efforts to feed people, fight hunger and serve the communities we operate in.” 

The Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina coordinates over 600 volunteers each year to collect cans of food at N.C. State Fair gates alongside employees from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The food collected at Smithfield Foods Hunger Relief Day will be spread across their network of more than 900 partner agencies in 32 North Carolina counties. 

“Hunger remains a serious issue for so many of our friends and neighbors in North Carolina,” said Food Bank President & CEO Peter Werbicki. “Hunger Relief Day at the North Carolina State Fair provides so much support to communities across the state, and we appreciate the long-term partnership of Smithfield Foods and the State Fair in nourishing families who are facing food insecurity.” 

Helping Communities is one of seven featured pillars in Smithfield’s industry-leading sustainability program spanning initiatives to promote animal care, diversity equity and inclusion, environmental stewardship, food safety and quality, health and wellness, community outreach and worker health and safety. The company donated more than $10 million in 2020 to North Carolina communities to fight hunger and raise awareness of food insecurity. 

Since 2008, Smithfield has donated hundreds of millions of servings of protein to food banks, disaster relief efforts and community outreach programs in all 50 states across the country through Helping Hungry Homes®, its signature hunger relief initiative, and has pledged to donate an additional 100 million protein servings in the U.S. by 2025.