SPRINGDALE – Tyson Foods pledged help for the American Red Cross’ relief and recovery efforts for Hurricane Sandy with a corporate match of $100,000 of employee donations that is being collected to support victims from the recent storm.
“Our hearts go out to those who were in the path of the storm,” said Donnie Smith, president and CEO of Tyson Foods. “Our company’s culture is to step up and help our neighbors, and we want to do that now with a dollar-for-dollar corporate match to one of the largest disaster relief organizations in America.”
Smith also said the company will dispatch its mobile feeding unit, a 53-foot semi-trailer dubbed “Meals that Matter,” and volunteer cook teams to New Jersey on Saturday, Nov. 3. He said teams from corporate headquarters in Arkansas, the company’s transportation group and a processing plant in Shelbyville, Tenn., will cook meals for first responders and victims of Sandy as part of a partnership with the American Red Cross. Food for the meals will be furnished by Tyson Foods.
The company unveiled the “Meals that Matter” trailer earlier this year to serve as a central supply unit at disaster sites. This will be the first time the unit has been used.
“I’m glad I work for a company that has the ability to offer assistance and with more than 100,000 team members who are ready and willing to pitch in,” Smith said.
With the exception of a grill, the “Meals that Matter” trailer has everything needed to set up and run a cooking site including: full refrigeration, tents and lights, sanitation equipment, cooking and serving supplies, a generator, hydraulic lift and even a Wi-Fi hot spot for internet connections via satellite. Mobile grills will be supplied, as needed, by Tyson’s plant locations. More than 40 plant sites are currently capable of responding to disasters by sending grills and Tyson volunteers to cook food.
On average, Tyson is involved in responding to four to five major disasters each year. In recent years, the company has provided between $300,000 and $500,000 annually in food and financial support to disaster relief.
About 150 Tyson employees from seven states were deployed to northern Alabama in 2011 to help in the aftermath of tornadoes that moved through the region in the spring of that year. They served 270,000 pounds of food, donated ice and water and provided diesel fuel to poultry farmers who had to operate their farms with generators.
When a tornado tore through Joplin, Mo., in May 2011, killing more than 160 people, Tyson relief teams arrived on-site in less than 24 hours to provide more than 120,000 pounds of food to local survivors and relief workers.