LISLE, Ill., April 1, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- With hundreds of military families already honored, Eckrich and its award-winning "Operation Inspiration" campaign will now reach millions of people from coast-to-coast in 2014 thanks to a new partnership with leading country music network CMT.
In efforts to bring awareness to the heroes behind our heroes, Eckrich will partner with the CMT Hot 20 Countdown to highlight and show appreciation for our military families during three special Operation Inspiration-themed episodes that will air throughout the summer in advance of Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day. The CMT Hot 20 Countdown is a weekly, two-and-a-half-hour series hosted by CMT favorites Cody Alan, Alecia Davis and Katie Cook, who count down the 20 biggest country music videos of the week with the hottest news stories, in-studio live performances and candid interviews from country music's biggest superstars and up-and-coming artists. Eckrich will add to the excitement of each sponsored episode with special guest appearances and stories of military families and their sacrifices.
Entering its third year, the "Operation Inspiration" campaign honors, thanks and supports military families through its partnership with Operation Homefront, a national nonprofit which provides emergency financial and other assistance to the families of service members and wounded warriors. Eckrich, part of the John Morrell Food Group, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, has already donated more than half-a-million dollars to support Operation Homefront and is planning to donate up to an additional $250,000 this year. Eckrich has also aided and awarded military families with new homes, a new car and many once-in-a-lifetime experiences through its relationships with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race team Richard Petty Motorsports and Emmy-winning college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit, among other partnerships.
"Operation Inspiration" will continue to give back to military families this year not only on CMT, but also in conjunction with NASCAR, country music and college football events. Eckrich will highlight military families in conjunction with its nine sponsored NASCAR races across the country. Herbstreit will also continue his support of Operation Homefront as a spokesperson and guest during special events throughout the year. You never know when a military family will be recognized and how, which is what has made this campaign one of the most exciting in the company's history.
"Our partnership with Operation Homefront and our consumers' dedication to aid military families has impacted the lives of hundreds of military families during the past two years," said Charles Gitkin, vice president, marketing, innovation and R&D for the John Morrell Food Group. "Through our new partnership with CMT and continued efforts with Richard Petty Motorsports and Kirk Herbstreit, we will bring additional awareness to this program nationwide and continue to honor and aid our military families who are so very deserving."
From May 1st through July 4th, Eckrich will donate five cents for every purchase of specially marked products up to $250,000. Consumers can also donate directly to Operation Homefront by texting* "INSPIRE" to 27722 to donate five dollars.
"Eckrich is a great supporter," said Jim Knotts, president and CEO of Operation Homefront. "Their relationships with Richard Petty Motorsports and Kirk Herbstreit among others have led to great rewards and experiences for our families and we're really looking forward to working with CMT this year as part of this partnership. We're grateful for the continued support from Eckrich as they have helped us aid thousands of military families in need of assistance over the past few years."
For more information on Operation Inspiration please visit http://eckrich.com/promotions/operationinspiration
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's®, 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.
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®.
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.eckrich.com.
About Operation Homefront
A national nonprofit, Operation Homefront leads more than 2,500 volunteers with nationwide presence who provide emergency and other financial assistance to the families of service members and wounded warriors. Operation Homefront has provided assistance to thousands of military families since its inception in 2002. Recognized for superior performance by leading independent charity watchdog groups, nationally, 93 percent of total donations to Operation Homefront go directly to programs that provide support to our military families. For more information, go to www.OperationHomefront.net.
CMT, a unit of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB), is the leading television and digital authority on country music and entertainment, reaching more than 92 million homes in the U.S. CMT and its website, CMT.com, offer an unparalleled mix of music, news, live concerts and series and is the top resource for country music on demand. The network's digital platforms include the 24-hour music channel, CMT Pure Country, CMT Mobile and CMT VOD.