CRETE, Neb., Oct. 31, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Smithfield Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Smithfield Foods, Inc., has announced the ninth consecutive year of partnership with TeamMates, a mentoring program serving local middle and high school students in Crete, Nebraska. The company’s $50,000 contribution for the 2019-2020 school year will help students achieve high school graduation by providing weekly mentoring sessions that focus on activities including assisting students with homework, sharing special interests or hobbies, or helping students identify their gifts and talents. Since the launch of Smithfield’s partnership with TeamMates in 2011, more than 200 students have been supported and encouraged to reach their full potential.

“Financial support and volunteer mentors are the backbone of this program, and it’s why Smithfield has been such a wonderful partner for nearly a decade,” said Zoe White, program director for TeamMates. “We clearly see the positive impact that this program has on the lives of the youth in our community each day and are humbled by Smithfield's ongoing support. As we enter the ninth year of our partnership, we’re eager to continue making an impact on the next generation together.”

TeamMates provides support for school-aged youth through a unique mentoring program with the purpose to lead students through middle school and high school, and encourage their pursuit of post-secondary education. Through the program, youth meet weekly with designated mentors, who are community volunteers who have dedicated themselves to making a positive impact by providing encouragement and guidance.

“Smithfield is proud to continue this partnership with TeamMates to further strengthen our local community and encourage these students to pursue their dreams,” said Keira Lombardo, executive vice president of corporate affairs and compliance for Smithfield Foods, and president of the Smithfield Foundation. “We encourage our employees to find their passion in volunteerism and we could not be more pleased to see so many Smithfield team members serving their community through TeamMates.”

Smithfield’s contribution to TeamMates aligns with the company’s commitment to supporting education, one of their key philanthropic focus areas. Smithfield’s Crete facility employs more than 2,100 community members. For more information about Smithfield’s commitment to its local communities, visit smithfieldfoods.com/helpingcommunities.

About Smithfield Foods
Smithfield Foods is a $15 billion global food company and the world's largest pork processor and hog producer. In the United States, the company is also the leader in numerous packaged meats categories. Popular brands include Smithfield®, Eckrich®, Nathan’s Famous®, Farmland®, Armour®, Farmer John®, Kretschmar®, John Morrell®, Cook’s®, Gwaltney®, Carando®, Margherita®, Curly’s®, Healthy Ones®, Morliny®, Krakus®, and Berlinki®. Smithfield Foods is committed to providing good food in a responsible way and maintains robust animal care, community involvement, employee safety, environmental and food safety and quality programs. For more information, visit www.smithfieldfoods.com, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

About TeamMates
The TeamMates Mentoring Program began in 1991 with the vision of University of Nebraska Head Football Coach Tom Osborne and his wife Nancy. TeamMates is a school-based, one-to-one mentoring program. The focus of the mentoring relationship is for an adult volunteer to help build a positive relationship with a student so as to help them reach their full potential. The program serves thousands of boys and girls across the Midwest with mentors from all walks of life. For more information, visit https://teammates.org/.

Media Contacts:

Dalton Agency for Smithfield Foods                
Lauren Homrich                                               
lhomrich@daltonagency.com                          
(904) 398-5222                                              

TeamMates
Zoe White
zoew@creteschools.org
(402) 826-7775

A video accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/c502a319-0328-4a96-8c9d-9738e2d53f63