Donor Profile: Perdue Farms - Maryland Food Bank
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Powerhouse Donor Profile: Perdue Farms

July 29, 2015

Perdue Farms, the parent company to Perdue Foods and Perdue AgriBusiness, believes it is their corporate responsibility to use their resources to make a positive impact in the fight against hunger.

“Our partnership with the Maryland Food Bank is so important to our commitment to improving the quality of life in the communities in which we live and work,” said Jim Perdue, Chairman of Perdue Farms. “We’re proud to say that that commitment is woven both into the culture of our company, and our guiding principles.”

Perdue’s commitment to the food bank’s work has been expansive, ranging from food donations and volunteerism to fundraising by associates, community engagement, and philanthropy.

Over the years, Perdue has provided MFB with more than 13 million pounds of food—much of which comes in the form of chicken, an essential lean protein. Nationally, Perdue Farms has donated 46 millions pounds of protein over the past 15 years through Feeding America, which oversees a nationwide network of food banks, including MFB.

“Fresh food programs are something we always try to invest in,” shared Kim Nechay, Executive Director of the Arthur W. Perdue Foundation. “We were investing in that kind of programming before ‘farm-to-table’ was cool.”

The Arthur W. Perdue Foundation, the charitable giving arm of Perdue Farms, mirrors the philanthropic spirit of the corporation by also investing in MFB hunger-relief efforts through grants totaling more than $350,000. This support includes the freezer expansion in Salisbury, a new truck for our Farm to Food Bank program, and events like the annual Perdue Strike Out Hunger Challenge on Delmarva, which raises awareness about hunger and engages the community at large in the cause.

“The Maryland Food Bank truly works with us in partnership,” said Steve Schwalb, Vice President of Environmental Sustainability. “It’s been an ongoing relationship for more than 33 years that assures our efforts are benefiting people in communities right here in Maryland.”

In addition to the company’s donations of food and funds, Perdue Foods encourages employees from different departments to sort food at the Maryland Food Bank – Eastern Shore branch as a team-building activity each month—on company time. Since 2013, Perdue has logged more than 1,355 volunteer hours to help pack nearly 270,000 pounds of food!

“We work for an incredible company,” said Alex Smethurst, Marketing Assistant at Perdue Farms’ headquarters in Salisbury. “It feels good to get together to fulfill our corporate responsibility and teamwork values.”

Since 2008, Perdue AgriBusiness has also hosted a monthly “Lunch on the Lawn” at their facility in Salisbury. With about 100 associates attending the event every month, they have raised nearly $65,000 and collected more than 21,000 pounds of food while enjoying a barbeque and sweet treats with colleagues.

According to Sharon Clark, Senior Vice President of Transportation and Regulatory Affairs for Perdue AgriBusiness, employees look forward to Miss Fran’s cheesecakes, a top-seller at the bake sale that benefits the Maryland Food Bank – Eastern Shore.

“Community involvement goes beyond writing checks,” said Jim Perdue. “Our relationship with the Maryland Food Bank is especially valuable to us because we can do things that are a catalyst to create even more community involvement. Working with the food bank has a ripple effect that has an even bigger impact than just making a donation.”

This story first appeared in our 2015 Summer Newsletter. For more stories from the newsletter, you can view the publication in its entirety here.

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