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Celebrity Cook Paula Deen and Husband Michael Groover Bring Smithfield Foods' Helping Hungry Homes(TM) Tour To Feed New Orleans Families

NEW ORLEANS, Feb. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- The Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana today received more than 39,000 pounds of meat to help feed local families, thanks to Smithfield Foods' 10-city Helping Hungry Homes(TM) Across America tour, a hunger relief 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 metropolitan New Orleans, where 43 percent of children ages 0 to 5 and 19.3 percent of adults ages 65 and older live in poverty, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics.

Paula Deen and her husband Michael Groover, who regularly appears on her Food Network shows, today helped Second Harvest Food Bank staff unload a Smithfield Foods truck carrying more than 39,000 pounds of Smithfield Foods meat products, including 84 boxes of Paula Deen's Smithfield Crunchy Glazed Spiral Sliced Hams.

Deen and Groover were joined by rising star Chef Jeff Henderson, who spent nearly ten years in prison, turned his life around and became a star chef whose memoir, Cooked, was on the New York Times bestseller list. The group took time to help employees and volunteers sort and repack various food products that have been donated by different sources and are destined for Second Harvest's member agencies.

"Smithfield Foods and I felt strongly that New Orleans had to be a part of this tour, given the growing needs of the working poor in this area and the need to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina," Deen said. "Seeing the perseverance of this city's residents and the hard work of the food bank is a true inspiration and I feel fortunate to have been able to help."

"Working poor families, parents of young children, and the elderly are among those who need our assistance to make ends meet, particularly as they struggle to rebuild their lives after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina," said Natalie Jayroe, president and CEO of the Second Harvest Food Bank. "We are truly grateful for Smithfield Foods' donation of much-needed protein for families in this area."

The Smithfield Foods Helping Hungry Homes tour began in Deen's hometown, Savannah, Ga., on January 14th and has now reached Philadelphia, New York City, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Kansas City, Chicago and New Orleans. Additional stops include Washington, D.C. and Detroit. Donations are being distributed in each city through local members of America's Second Harvest, the nation's largest hunger-relief organization.

Smithfield Foods' 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 alone 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.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to lead the fight against hunger in southern Louisiana. Second Harvest's unprecedented food distribution rate totaled more than 82 million pounds since Hurricane Katrina made landfall on Aug. 29, 2005. There are over 200 regular member agencies in Second Harvest's 23-parish service territory in southern Louisiana.

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.

SOURCE Smithfield Foods Inc.
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