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Bladen County Schools and Smithfield Foods Unveils Bladen County Read and Feed unit

Yesterday, Bladen County Schools and Smithfield Foods unveiled a mobile Read and Feed unit to sponsor Bladen County’s summer feeding program. The van will ensure more than 4,000 students throughout Bladen County, North Carolina will have access to free meals and literacy programs that are otherwise unavailable during summer months, according to officials.

Before the ribbon cutting, Dr. Robert Taylor, Bladen County Schools Superintendent spoke about the critical need for students to receive a nutritional diet in order for them to succeed to their fullest potential.

He spoke about his goals to combat the issue. He said, “During the summer our children are without food. We recognize the impact of not having the nutrition has on our children and this gives us an opportunity to close that gap. We try to couple that with the reading program so the children don’t have that academic gap.”

Dr. Taylor also expressed his gratitude toward Smithfield Foods for assisting the schools in closing the gap. Before closing, Dr. Taylor acknowledged, Bladen County Schools Child Nutrition Director Amy Stanley for her leadership in the Read and Feed Program.

Mrs. Stanley announced the majority of the children the program reaches do not have access to transportation to take advantage of the schools’ enrichment programs and open gyms during the summer.

“It is a huge honor to have this partnership,” Mrs. Stanley said about the partnership between Smithfield Foods and the families in the communities.

Mr. Donovan Owens, general manager of Smithfield Foods’ plant in Tar Heel said, “At Smithfield Foods, we are extremely passionate about ensuring students in our local community have access year-round to educational resources and wholesome meals.”

“With more than 4,500 local employees, and 10,000 across the state, we are eager to support and serve Bladen County students and families through this Read and Feed program sponsorship,” he added.

Before the ribbon was cut, Dr. Taylor said, “This generous donation from Smithfield Foods enables us to provide not only summer meals but learning opportunities to students who often do not have access while school is out.”

The van has already been seen throughout the community on Wednesday.

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