GREELEY, Colo. — Building on its ongoing sustainability and social responsibility efforts, Pilgrim’s announced plans today to invest $3.5 million in Georgia to help local communities respond to coronavirus and invest in the future.
The investment is part of a new, national $20 million initiative called Hometown Strong that adds to commitments Pilgrim’s has made this year to protect employees and ensure their job security amid the global pandemic.
“We take great pride in feeding American families every day,” said Fabio Sandri, Pilgrim’s interim CEO. “We also recognize our responsibility to do more than just produce food within our communities. Hometown Strong is our way of demonstrating our commitment to the places we call home, and we are listening to local leaders to determine where help is needed most.”
Pilgrim’s will partner with local officials and community leaders in Athens, Canton, Carrollton, Douglas, Elberton, Ellijay and Gainesville to identify investment projects that strengthen these hometowns where the company’s team members live and work.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented economic challenges to our state, as farmers face decreased demand and restaurants and other local businesses have scaled back operations,” said Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp. “As we continue our fight to protect the lives and livelihoods of all Georgians, I am grateful for Pilgrim’s support to provide these critical relief funds to communities across the Peach State. Working with our great partners – like Pilgrim’s — in the private sector, I am confident that we can continue to support the hardworking Georgians in our state and secure a safer, healthier, and more prosperous future on the road ahead.”
Pilgrim’s has a significant presence in Georgia, employing more than 7,000 people and paying local growers more than $152 million each year to support its facilities in the state, the company noted. An important contributor to the Georgia economy, Pilgrim’s has an annual payroll in Georgia of more than $204 million and contributed nearly $270 million in capital investments during the last five years.
Nationally, the $20 million Hometown Strong investment will include donations to alleviate food insecurity, strengthen long-term community infrastructure and well-being, and support COVID-19 emergency response and relief efforts. All funds will be committed by the end of the year.
Pilgrim’s added that it anchors dozens of rural communities in the U.S. — with more than 30 poultry and prepared foods facilities in 14 states and Puerto Rico, employing more than 30,000 people. To date, Pilgrim’s has invested more than $65 million to enhance safeguards and to reward team members with thank-you bonuses. Additionally, the company hired new team members in all of its facilities to conduct around-the-clock sanitation and cleaning services, and to provide education, training and enforcement of COVID-19 preventive measures.