LISLE, Ill., April 16, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Thousands of U.S. military personnel and their families are currently requesting assistance due to financial distress, injury, or physical or mental impairment as a result of their military service. To help meet this growing need, Eckrich, part of the John Morrell Food Group, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, has partnered with Operation Homefront to launch "Operation Inspiration," a campaign designed to honor, thank and support the military families who inspire us.
"With help from partners like Eckrich, Operation Homefront met more than 151,000 needs for military families from all branches of service in 2012," said Jim Knotts, CEO of Operation Homefront, a non-profit organization headquartered in San Antonio, Texas.
"Eckrich is proud to support Operation Homefront for a second year, and we are extremely excited about initiating 'Operation Inspiration' as a way to help us continue to provide assistance to inspiring military families," said Charles Gitkin, vice president, marketing, innovation and R&D for the John Morrell Food Group.
Through the "Operation Inspiration" campaign, Eckrich will donate 5 cents for every purchase of specially marked products from May 1 through July 4, 2013, up to $250,000. The company will also share the "Operation Inspiration" message via a broad-based marketing campaign that features television, radio, online, out-of-home advertising and social media to tell military families' stories.
Furthermore, Eckrich is underwriting an "Operation Inspiration" half-hour television special, hosted by NBC's Al Roker and featuring NASCAR's legendary "The King" Richard Petty, #43 driver Aric Almirola, and other celebrities. The special will air in major markets across the country this summer.
"John Morrell Food Group and Eckrich are dedicated to assisting and honoring our military families," said Jennifer Zmrhal, Senior Brand Manager, Eckrich. "This campaign is aimed to further raise awareness of our military veterans, wounded warriors and their families' needs. We are committing as many resources as possible to help spread the message and make a difference in these people's lives."
Also, people can text "INSPIRE" to 27722 to give money to Operation Homefront*. "We want to make it easy for people to help, too," said Zmrhal. "This gives people everywhere an easy, direct way to get involved."
For more information on Operation Inspiration, visit www.facebook.com/eckrichmeats or http://www.eckrich.com/promotions/operationinspiration.
Founded by Peter Eckrich in 1894, Eckrich has a rich heritage starting from a small meat market in Fort Wayne, Ind. Through it all, Eckrich meats have been recognized for their great taste and supreme quality, craftsmanship, care and pride. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/eckrichmeats.
About Operation Homefront
A national nonprofit, Operation Homefront leads more than 6,500 volunteers with nationwide presence who provide emergency and other financial assistance to the families of service members and wounded warriors. Operation Homefront has met more than 741,000 needs of military families since its inception in 2002. A four-star rated charity by watchdog Charity Navigator, nationally, 94 percent of total revenue donated to Operation Homefront goes directly to programs that provide support to our military families. For more information, go to www.OperationHomefront.net.
About John Morrell Food Group
With over a century and a half of experience, John Morrell Food Group brands have become respected and well known for providing premium-quality meat products to families across the United States. With products ranging from lunchmeat and franks to smoked sausage, bacon and pepperoni, the John Morrell Food Group is an important part of consumers' mealtimes. The John Morrell Food Group offers several national and regional brands including Armour®, Eckrich®, John Morrell®, Curly's®, Patrick Cudahy®, Carando®, Healthy Ones®, Margherita® Kretschmar® and LunchMakers®.
About Smithfield Foods
Smithfield Foods is a $13 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 with popular brands including Smithfield®, Eckrich®, Farmland®, Armour®, Cook®, Gwaltney®, John Morrell®, Kretschmar®, Curly's®, Carando®, Margherita®, and Healthy Ones®. 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 www.smithfieldcommitments.com.