Richard Petty helps provide food for NC families

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NASCAR legend Richard Petty teamed up with Smithfield and Lowes Foods Friday morning to donate 345,000 pounds of food to seven food banks across North Carolina. (Credit: Joe McCloskey/WGHP-TV)

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — NASCAR legend Richard Petty teamed up with Smithfield and Lowes Foods Friday morning to donate 345,000 pounds of food to seven food banks across North Carolina, providing more than one million meals to needy families.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina is receiving almost 63,000 pounds of ham, bacon and hot dogs.

Organizers said the rest of the food will go to the other food banks across the state, reaching all 100 counties.

Clyde Fitzgerald, executive director of Second Harvest, said this donation is especially needed right before the holidays.

“Children have less time in school because of the holidays and they lose out on the meals they count on getting there, so there’s an increased need because school is not in session, which places greater stress on families,” he said.

Petty said he is counting his blessings and trying to give back to those who are less fortunate. Petty’s number 43 Sprint Cup car is sponsored in part by Smithfield.

“Look how blessed you are in life,” Petty said. “The good Lord’s looked down on you and done really good things for you, and to pay Him back you gotta do something for someone else and that’s the way our family looks at it.”

There are 300,000 people in the 18 counties that they serve who need food assistance, according to Second Harvest.

Because there are so many families who need help, they said the food will go quickly, since they distribute an average of 25 tons a day.  “We will start donating our share of this right away, and it won’t last long,” says Fitzgerald.

The donation is part of Smithfield’s “Helping Hungry Homes” program, which supports food banks, after-school nutrition programs, and natural-disaster relief efforts across the country.

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