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How the U.S. Chicken Industry Lends Many Helping Hands to Local Communities

“Caring doesn’t start and stop at the front door,” said Candace Wilmoth, a nurse at a Wayne Farms processing plant in Dobson, North Carolina. “It’s something I’ve always been drawn to, and whether it’s at the plant or in our community, I can’t help but extend a hand when I see a need. I’m just one person, but each person has the ability to make a big difference if they want.”

The U.S. chicken industry doesn’t just help feed our nation and the world, the industry also cares deeply about the communities out their front door. Throughout the pandemic and 2020, chicken companies across the country contributed meals and volunteered time to communities that needed help most. Sought-after charitable chicken donations were given to food banks, soup kitchens, local health care facilities, police and fire stations, among others.

Here’s a snapshot of 2020 National Chicken Council member community donations. These numbers don’t represent every commitment by every member, but rather a rough estimate of meals – and hope – delivered during a challenging year:

But giving back came in more forms than food and monetary donations alone. When COVID-19 hit, Candace went above and beyond to make a difference in her community. Candace saw area families struggling with new distance learning, as many didn’t have access to the technology and supplies suddenly needed. In response, Candace organized fundraisers and collection drives for computers, notebooks, pens, earbuds and other school supplies for online learning. These efforts led to Wayne Farms’ Dobson facility donating $10,000 dollars to Surry County Schools.

Candace Wilmouth, a nurse at a Wayne Farms processing plant in Dobson, North Carolina, organized community school supplies fundraisers during the 2020 pandemic.

“During a time when so many could have given up, I witnessed quite the opposite. Through my personal experiences at Wayne Farms, I have seen people really show up when they didn’t have to. For example, community chicken sales, school supplies fundraisers, canned food drives, and just being present to ensure our poultry world kept turning during a pandemic. Witnessing that unity and teamwork for the greater good is life-changing. It was an honor to be part of it. It made us all stronger.”

To hear more uplifting stories about how the U.S. chicken industry takes time to care for their neighbors, check out the complete inaugural sustainability report here.