Pilgrim's To Invest $600,000 in Chattanooga to Support Local Community as Part of Hometown Strong Initiative

Press Release Dec 09, 2020
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Building on its ongoing sustainability and social responsibility efforts, Pilgrim’s today announced plans to invest $600,000 in Chattanooga, Tenn., to support the community’s future. Pilgrim’s has been working with local leaders to identify where the funds can best help meet immediate and longer-term community needs in three key areas: food insecurity, community infrastructure and well-being, and COVID-19 emergency response and relief efforts.

Two projects have been selected for funding to date, in partnership with the Chattanooga Community Kitchen and Battle Academy, a K-5 magnet school located in downtown Chattanooga.

“As proud members of the Chattanooga community, we are grateful for the opportunity to support our neighbors through the Hometown Strong initiative,” said James Bradford, Pilgrim’s Chattanooga complex manager. “We believe both of these projects will provide benefits for years to come and look forward to seeing them come to fruition.”

A $372,000 contribution is being made to the Chattanooga Community Kitchen to support a remodel of the facility. The remodel project will include expanding the kitchen and adding new, larger appliances that will increase the number of meals the organization can provide to the community by 40 percent.

"We are grateful to Pilgrim's for this opportunity to partner in service to our hungry, homeless, and vulnerable neighbors throughout the community,” said Jens Christensen, chief executive officer, Chattanooga Community Kitchen. “Together, we can ensure that no one in Chattanooga must go without a quality, delicious meal - every day of the year."

Additionally, $190,000 is being invested in Battle Academy to install an education pavilion and add swings to the playground. This project will provide the school with its only outdoor educational space. The remaining budget will be allocated by the end of the year.

“This tremendous gift by the Pilgrim’s Hometown Strong initiative will enhance the educational opportunities for children at Battle Academy for years to come,” said Jesse Goins, principal, Battle Academy. “What I’m most excited about is the educational pavilion, which will give us the flexibility to learn outside of the classroom in a safe and sheltered environment. Given our unique downtown location, this is not something we anticipated being able to offer our students and staff. Swings have long been sought after by our students and will be an exciting addition to our existing playground. We are grateful for the investment made for our students and our campus. This was a huge win and a bigger morale boost for this difficult season!”

The Pilgrim’s Chattanooga production facility employs more than 1,200 people with an annual payroll of more than $45 million. The facility supports 147 growers, paying them more than $25 million per year for their livestock. Consistent with its long-term commitment to the local economy, Pilgrim’s Chattanooga has invested more than $21 million in capital improvements over the last five years.

Pilgrim’s anchors dozens of rural communities – operating more than 30 meat poultry and prepared foods facilities and employing 31,000-plus people in the United States. Nationally, the Hometown Strong initiative is a $20 million investment from Pilgrim’s, which is part of a $50 million nationwide contribution from JBS USA. Visit hometownstrong.jbssa.com to learn more.