Written by: Sarah Novak | June 3, 2020
Since writing the first post on April 17 highlighting all the ways our members are giving back to their local communities throughout the COVID-19 crisis, I continued to see many more reports of our members going above and beyond. I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge all the great things these companies have done to help people during this time.
Land O’Lakes has been a strong supporter of expanding broadband and Wi-Fi in rural America. The company recently announced that its facilities and cooperative network are helping to bridge the telehealth and educational digital divide during COVID-19 by offering free and open Wi-Fi access to local citizens at more than 170 locations in 14 states.
JBS USA and Pilgrim’s invested more than $50 million to support its team members and local communities. The donations included local and global organizations to alleviate food insecurity, strengthen long-term community infrastructure and well-being, and support COVID-19 emergency response and relief efforts.
Vita Plus announced a new program to support dairy and livestock producers in the Upper Midwest through their Serving Customers and Rural Communities Project, which will provide $100,000 for food security initiatives in rural communities.
Mars, Inc. recently committed $20 million of cash and in-kind support to the people, pets and communities most affected by COVID-19 with a donation to global organizations CARE International and the United Nations’ World Food Programme. They are also supporting local groups, donating $500,000 to the D.C. Capital Area Food Bank.
Trouw Nutrition recently partnered with Mountaire Farms to donate more than 25,000 lbs. of chicken to food banks in Neosho, Mo., Highland, Ill. and Indianapolis, Ind., all areas where they have a presence. Through a virtual food drive donation, Maxi-Life and Southwest Agri-Plastics partnered with the North Texas Food Bank to provide 15,000 meals via the Neighbors Helping Neighbors program.
Cooper Farms provided more than 21,000 meals and donated $10,000 in gift cards for local businesses to first responders in Western Ohio. Nearly 6,000 lbs. of turkey as well as two truckloads of eggs (about 27,000 dozen eggs) were donated to area food banks and an additional 1,100 lbs. of turkey burgers were donated to groups providing hot lunches to children. In a similar arrangement, Maple Leaf Farms donated a few hundred meals with a famous Chicago chef to healthcare workers in the area.
In addition to a previously announced $1 million donation, ADM donated an additional $800,000 to COVID-19 relief efforts directed to various local organizations with a direct impact in communities and regions where ADM has a large presence. ADM is also providing funds to support a partnership with Rutgers University to advance virus mitigation research and medical support in parts of Europe, Asia Pacific and South America.
Royal DSM, along with two other organizations, has begun large-scale production of medical FFP2 facemasks in the Netherlands to protect healthcare workers from COVID-19.
Pipestone coordinated a MEAT the Need campaign, which provides around 600,000 pork meals to those in need in eight communities in South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois and Minnesota. Their $100,000 donation raised an additional $265,000 from AFIA members AB Vista, ADM, Alltech, Bill Barr, Biomatrix, Boehringer-Ingelheim Chr. Hansen, DSM, Kemin, Kerry and SAM Nutrition.
As one of my early mentors said, “Our focus is and always has been on serving customers. One way for us to do that is to help put nutritious foods our customers produce into the hands of those who need them.” Bob, I couldn’t agree more – so from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU to all AFIA members who are doing their part to help others during this time of uncertainty.