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Seal of the Governor
For Immediate Release: October 2, 2020
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Alena Yarmosky, Alena.Yarmosky@governor.virginia.gov | Virginia Department of Veterans Services: Tina Parlett-Calhoun, Tina.Parlett-Calhoun@dvs.virginia.gov

Governor Northam Welcomes Major Donation from Smithfield Foods to Support Veterans Experiencing Homelessness

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Smithfield Foods has donated $100,000 to the Commonwealth of Virginia to support programs for homeless veterans and their families. The donation from the company’s philanthropic arm, The Smithfield Foundation, was presented to the Virginia Veterans Services Foundation (VVSF) and will be designated to its Veteran Homeless Fund. 

“Smithfield Foods has been a leader in helping address the challenges faced by veterans who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness, and we are grateful for their ongoing support and partnership,” said Governor Northam. “This significant donation will ensure that the Commonwealth can continue meeting the housing needs of our veterans and their families, especially amid this unprecedented health crisis.”

In 2015, Virginia became the first state in the nation to be recognized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to functionally end veteran homelessness, which means that the Commonwealth has the systems in place to rapidly identify veterans experiencing homelessness and help them find secure housing. 

“At Smithfield, our ongoing commitment to support veterans directly aligns with the mission of Virginia’s Veteran Homeless Fund,” said Kenneth M. Sullivan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Smithfield Foods. “We are pleased to provide resources to ensure the continued success of programs to help homeless veterans in our home state of Virginia. We are honored to give back to our nation’s veterans, in honor of their service and sacrifice for all of us.”

Smithfield’s $100,000 donation adds to more than $210,000 in previous contributions since 2016 in support of state programs for homeless veterans and their families.

In Fiscal Year 2020, donations to the Veteran Homeless Fund helped nearly 200 veterans and their families move into permanent housing and enabled previously homeless veterans remain in their homes. The Veteran Homeless Fund has assisted more than 900 Virginia veterans since its inception in 2016.

“Smithfield’s longstanding and continued commitment to Virginia’s veteran community through its employment of veterans and support for programs to assist veterans and their families is truly inspiring,” said Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs Carlos Hopkins.  “Donations like this one are especially important as we face the additional financial and health challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

The Virginia Veteran and Family Support Program, which is operated by the Virginia Department of Veterans Services (DVS), and the VVSF established the Veteran Homeless Fund to provide one-time gap assistance to homeless veterans in the process of being housed and those in danger of becoming homeless. Learn more about how donations to the Veteran Homeless Fund are helping veterans in the Commonwealth here.   

“On behalf of the Board of Trustees of the Virginia Veterans Services Foundation, I join Governor Northam and Secretary Hopkins in offering our gratitude for this donation and the continuing commitment of Smithfield Foods,” said VVSF Board Chairman John Lesinski. “Smithfield Foods has a proud tradition of supporting military families and veterans, and we are pleased that this gift will go directly to veterans in need and will help further our mission to prevent veteran homelessness throughout the Commonwealth.”

About the Virginia Veterans Services Foundation
The Virginia Veterans Services Foundation is a state agency established to support the interests of Virginia veterans and their families through programs and services offered by the Virginia Department of Veterans Services. The Foundation provides supplemental funding for designated programs when state and federal funds are not available and depends solely on contributions from veteran and community organizations, businesses, grants, and caring individuals. Each dollar raised stays in Virginia and 100 percent of all contributions made to the Virginia Veterans Services Foundation go directly to veterans in crisis or in need of assistance. For more information, visit vvsf.org

About Smithfield Foods
Headquartered in Smithfield, Virginia since 1936, Smithfield Foods is an American food company with agricultural roots and a global reach. Its 40,000 employees in the United States are dedicated to producing “Good food. Responsibly.®” and have made it one of the world’s leading vertically integrated protein companies. Smithfield Foods has pioneered sustainability standards for more than two decades, including many industry firsts, such as its ambitious commitment to cut its carbon impact by 25 percent by 2025. The company believes in the power of protein to end food insecurity and has donated hundreds of millions of food servings to its neighbors in need. Smithfield boasts a portfolio of high-quality iconic brands, such as Smithfield®, Eckrich®, and Nathan’s Famous®, among many others. To learn more about Smithfield Foods, visit smithfieldfoods.com.

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