CH@T: Mountaire’s ‘Easter for Thousands’

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Mountaire Farms’ “Thanksgiving for Thousands” program dates back more than a quarter century. Now, the company — which has a plant in Siler City — is expanding its outreach with a brand new “Easter for Thousands,” set for April 9.
This week, we speak with Sasha Duncan, Mountaire’s community relations manager, about the effort. A Raleigh native, she began working for Mountaire in 2021. After launching her career in the political realm, she was excited to make the transition to the poultry industry and help promote Mountaire Farms in the Chatham County community.

Mountaire’s “Thanksgiving for Thousands” has been around for more than a quarter century, but this is the very first “Easter for Thousands” event. This will make three annual distributions of meal boxes in Siler City. When did you decide to add Easter to the mix, and how will it be similar (or different) from your other annual events?

Our Thanksgiving for Thousands program started more than 25 years ago with a local church which ran out of a room to feed people at Thanksgiving. They reached out to us, and we worked together to provide families a complete holiday meal to take home and cook at Thanksgiving. Since then, it’s been growing and we host it now in several locations.

Siler City hosted its first annual Christmas for Thousands event in December and is now hosting it first Easter for Thousands event in April. All three events have the same set up but are all different in their own ways. Each event has different organizations register, different community leaders participate and different elected officials attend. One of our favorite things to do as a company is to give back to our community, so we strive to share that with as many people as possible.

Aside from Siler City, where else will “Easter for Thousands” events occur?

On Saturday, April 9, both our Siler City and Lumber Bridge locations will be hosting annual Easter for Thousands events. Each location will be distributing 3,000 meal boxes to those in the surrounding communities — similar set up and all. Mountaire Farms’ impact and involvement in North Carolina is growing and we’re thrilled to see the program take off so well.

In Delmarva, Easter for Thousands has been taking place for more than a decade and will distribute 5,000 boxes.

Your staff and community leaders will be packing and distributing 3,000 meal boxes — who’s helping do the work, and where will the boxes go?

Mountaire Farms is excited to have more than 100 community volunteers, elected officials, employees and their families help us pack and distribute our Easter for Thousands meal boxes.

We opened registration for our Easter for Thousands boxes on March 1 and were surprised by the drastic increase in interest. We’re excited to work with an additional 80+ organizations to further distribute the boxes to those in the community. This time, organizations range from churches to schools, nonprofits, and other organizations who can help us identify the families who need help the most.

For Easter, we’re excited to invite more volunteers from the community to help us pack and load including teams from Jordan-Matthews High School, Siler City and Pittsboro Rotary Club, the Chatham County Sheriff’s Department, Siler City Police Department, and Fire Marshall Billy Judson along with members of the local Fire Departments.

This not only allows them to see Mountaire Farms doing one of our favorite things — giving back to the community — but also allows them to meet more members of the Mountaire Family. We do a lot in the community, and we want to share that with those around us.

What’s in the food boxes, and what resources are you dedicating to putting those together?

Our employees really enjoy the opportunity to give back and we work together like a well-oiled machine to organize, sort, pack and distribute these boxes on the big day. We will have a tent set up in our employee parking lot and pallets of supplies ready to go the night before. On the morning of the event, we’ll all be up early to ensure we get it all done just as vehicles are showing up to pick up their allotted number of boxes.

We’re excited to continue our partnership with the Piggly Wiggly in Siler City and purchase our canned and boxed goods locally. Each box contains a plump Mountaire Farms roaster chicken, corn, peas and carrots, yams, apple sauce, mashed potatoes, gravy and brownie mix. Blake Evans and his team have been incredible to work with — it’s not every day somebody grocery shops for 3,000 families at once! The team over there has really played a large role in assisting us in blessing those in our community with a complete holiday meal.

Which nonprofits, churches and food banks are integral to the project?

All the churches, food banks, and organizations are integral to our Food for Thousands program. Each one of them serves a different community of their own and allows us to have a positive impact on even more people. We’ve continued to partner with unexpected organizations including NC Works, the Boys & Girls Clubs, Chatham County Schools and refugee organizations we work with in Greensboro. Our list has grown to over 85 organizations and we’re excited to see that list continue to grow year after year in the Chatham County community.

Any plans to expand the program into other times during the year?

We understand that food insecurity happens throughout the year, not just at the holidays. Which is why we regularly donate to food pantries every month in North Carolina and in Delmarva. We also help with special events, fundraisers, and more. There is an increased need in our communities and we’re trying to have the biggest impact we can to help combat that. Mountaire Farms’ feeds the world, but it starts at home, in our own communities. We want to be a good partner and support in any way we can. For any inquiries, reach out to Jarrod Lowery, jarrodlowery@mountaire.com.

In what other new ways is Mountaire working to be a part of the Chatham County community?

Being an active community partner is important to Mountaire Farms and that’s why we have a Community Relations team to make that possible. Personally, I’ve really enjoyed being a member of the Chatham County Chamber of Commerce, the Siler City Rotary Club, and coordinating service projects that give our employees opportunities to meet our partners and give back to the community. By being involved with organizations that help bring nonprofits and businesses together, we’re able to build strong partnerships and make key connections in our communities.

Over the past several months, Mountaire Farms has volunteered with the Chatham County Chuckwagon, Meals on Wheels, Trunk ‘R’ Treat, the CORA Mobile Market, Christmas parades and a few more projects. Mountaire Farms has a long history of charitable giving and I’m excited to be a part of that. With 1,800 employees in Siler City, we can always find a few volunteers willing to pitch in and help.

Our next large event that we’re participating in is the Siler City Chicken Festival in May. We’ll be hosting our first Chickin Pickin’ in Siler City — an event that has been popular at the Delaware State Fair for years. Contestants compete to shred a fully cooked chicken and winners receive cash prizes or can donate to a charity of their choice. We’re excited to watch state and local elected officials, community leaders and other participants pick chicken for a good cause.

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