By Catharin Shepard •
Staff writer •
Mountaire Farms in Lumber Bridge this week donated 11,000 pounds of chicken to help feed first responders and healthcare workers in Hoke County.
Firefighters, sheriff’s deputies, employees at both local hospitals, EMS and others received the chicken, distributed Tuesday at the Hoke County Senior Center.
Jarrod Lowery, community relations manager at Mountaire Farms, said the company wanted to do something to help support healthcare workers and first responders.
“We want to say thank you to all the first responders, thank you to all the truly brave nurses and doctors who are working every single day, all our law enforcement, EMS, firefighters who are working every single day,” Lowery said. “You get up every day, you go to a call or you have a patient come in and you’re not sure what you’re going to see, you’re not sure what you’re going to run into. So we at Mountaire Farms just want to give a thank you by providing a little bit of chicken as a thank you.”
Hoke Commission Chairman James Leach and the other county commissioners, and Hoke County Sheriff Hubert Peterkin were among the officials who thanked Mountaire for the donation.
“It’s a good thing when a county is able to work with one of its local businesses. They have many jobs here that citizens work…we thank that they’ve come and given back, local government really appreciate you all taking the time to come to the assistance of public safety to make sure that our folks over here have plenty to eat,” Leach said.
Commissioner Tony Hunt thanked the company for its partnership with the county and for supporting first responders during the pandemic.
“Hopefully this too shall pass and we’ll be able to move on, and we won’t forget you, Mountaire, what you’ve done for us in Hoke County and we appreciate the partnership that we have with you,” Hunt said.
Mark Reif, community relations manager for Mountaire Farms, said the company knows that medical personnel are on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19.
“They have placed their lives on the front lines and we appreciate everything they’re doing,” he said.
Hopefully the donation will help make things a little easier for those families, Reif said.
“We go to the grocery store, even we can’t find chicken for sale, and so we’re trying to make it available for those of you who are working tremendous hours and don’t have time to go from store to store,” he said.
“Hoke County has a special place in my heart especially,” Reif added. He serves as a member of the Raeford-Hoke Chamber of Commerce board of directors.
Hoke County Sheriff Hubert Peterkin said the donation gave officers something to smile about.
“This means a lot. With this crisis we have to be out there, we know we have to be out there just like any other crisis, but this one is different. In my 30 years in law enforcement, I’ve never seen anything like this,” Peterkin said.
Mountaire Farms employs about 3,000 people at its plant in Lumber Bridge.