BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, Baton Rouge Police Department, and Smithfield Foods teamed up on Saturday for a food distribution event in an effort to help families continue to recover from the historic floods of August 2016.
Organizers say the event, which started at 8 a.m., kicked of with a successful turnout. Despite the rainy weather, volunteers came out early to help load vehicles as they passed through the delivery line.
"It is important to give back when you can," said Interim Baton Rouge Police Chief Jonny Dunnam. "The Baton Rouge Police Department takes pride in making this city a better place by serving those in need."
The event was put on in connection with Smithfield's Helping Hungry Homes hunger-relief initiative. Smithfield Foods is the world's largest hog producer and pork processor.
The food company donated 40,000 pounds of protein with help from BRPD, as the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank continue to celebrate their grand re-opening after the August floods of 2016.
"This donation from Smithfield has helped ease the burden of so many facing hunger in our community. Smithfield has been a tremendous partner, especially during the flood, and we are grateful to receive their help once again this summer," said Michael G. Manning, president and CEO of Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. "We also recognize that this distribution was a success due to the generous support we received from the Baton Rouge Police Department and each of the volunteers who participated."
Smithfield presented the donation to the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank this morning, which was followed by an immediate distribution to food-insecure individuals. BRPD hosted, facilitated and staffed this distribution event along with food bank volunteers. Baton Rouge Mayor Sharon Weston Broome was also in attendance. Members from all organizations discussed the significance of this donation in helping the more than 135,000 individuals who face hunger each day across the food bank's service area.
By 10 a.m., organizers say all the food supplies were given out.
"At Smithfield Foods, we feed people – it's what we do," said Dennis Pittman, senior director of hunger relief for Smithfield Foods. "We are proud to partner with the Baton Rouge Police Department and the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank to help celebrate the Rouge Food Bank's transition into its new facility and provide thousands of meals to those who face hunger in the area."
The food bank held a ribbon cutting on Friday, to celebrate the grand re-opening of their administrative offices.
Flooded with 4 feet of water throughout its 170,000 square foot facility back in August of 2016, the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank has continued to serve the 11-parish area with much needed food assistance in a time of great need, while simultaneously working to recover operations internally.
"We are thankful for the generous support we received from so many companies, donors, and individuals during and after the floods last year," Manning said. "This grand reopening of our administrative offices symbolizes a reminder of how far our community has come over the last year to persevere while always remaining focused on serving others in need."
For more information on the Baton Rouge Food Bank, visit their website.