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Foster Farms makes large donation to Selma food bank

On Tuesday, Foster Farms trucks pulled up to the Selma Area Food Bank’s (SAFB) new facility at Craig Field and unloaded thousands of pounds of chicken and turkey to be distributed to families across the region still reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to SAFB Executive Director Jeff Harrison, the local food bank regularly contacts Foster Farms, which operates a plant in Demopolis, in search of fresh meat.

“Through the years, we’d check with them to see if they had some product they can donate that would be suitable,” Harrison said. “When this pandemic started up, they reached out to us and said they wanted to donate some food to us.”

According to a Foster Farms press release, the company donated more than two-million meals to food banks across the West Coast, where it’s based, as well as Alabama and Louisiana, where it operates plants.

“COVID-19 has touched the very fabric of American life,” said Foster Farms Vice President of Communications Ira Brill. “As a company, we have always felt a responsibility to support our communities in times of adversity. Food banks are on the front lines of ensuring that hunger is not an added result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

According to Harrison, the company asked about the local food bank’s capacity when arranging for the donation to be delivered – without its new facility, Harrison said, the food bank would have had to turn down the massive donation, as the previous facility didn’t have the needed space.

“Thankfully, just in the nick of time, we moved and had our freezer and cooler units up and running,” Harrison said.

With the new facility, which became the local food bank’s home last week, the SAFB had plenty of room to store the roughly 12,000 pounds of packaged meat delivered Tuesday.

“That has a huge impact,” Harrison said. “It’s perfect for what we do and the clientele we serve. It’s going to make a tremendous impact on the local folks that are in need. It couldn’t have been any better if we’d tailor-ordered it.”

For Harrison, the donation means that local people, many of which struggle to access healthy foods, means that some of the area’s most needy residents will have nutritious meals during the current crisis.

“That is our main focus,” Harrison said. “In this country, there’s not a lot of people starving, so to speak, they’re basically eating cheap and processed and unhealthy foods. That’s our problem locals, people just don’t have access to healthy food. This is a good, nutritional product we can give out to help people improve their diet, because we see so many health issues arise among the poor who find themselves having to eat food that really has no nutritional value. When we get an opportunity like this, to get some good, healthy protein, we’re just very excited.”