An estimated 17 percent of the population in Duplin County, North Carolina is food insecure, which means more than 10,000 people are unsure of where their next meal will come from, according to Feeding America. House of Raeford Farms — one of the largest chicken producers in the United States — calls Duplin County home and stepped up to help address the issue of food insecurity in their own backyard.
House of Raeford Farms FLOCK formally partnered with Word of Faith Food Bank in 2010 following a decade of donating turkeys to support Word of Faith’s Thanksgiving outreach. Word of Faith started in the early 1980’s and is run by Bud and Patsy Quinn, as well as their children and, on some days, their grandchildren. When Bud’s late father helped out, they became a fourth-generation food bank operation. It’s a perfect fit for House of Raeford — a company run by fourth-generation family farmers.
Through Word of Faith, FLOCK donates chicken products that help the food bank feed about 650 families or 1,500 individuals a month in Duplin and neighboring counties – a total of over 230,000 pounds of poultry since the inception of the relationship. In addition to the product donation, House of Raeford pays for the fuel of the Word of Faith trucks. Bud and Patsy’s drivers have codes that allow them to fill up their trucks at company pumps just like any other House of Raeford truck driver — completely free of charge.
“We’re in the food business, and we care about feeding people,” said Dave Witter, manager of corporate sustainability and communications and a FLOCK board member. “Bud and Patsy just have an amazing passion and drive to feed people. They always have, from the very beginning. They are the type of people companies like ours want to partner with — they’re trustworthy, honorable, and compassionate. And they share in House of Raeford’s mission to address hunger head-on.”
FLOCK strives to partner with organizations that are making a difference in the communities where House of Raeford operates. Another thing FLOCK looks for when deciding to partner with an organization is the potential impact the organization could have on House of Raeford employees. Witter said the company understands that everyone falls on hard times occasionally, and it is comforting to know that Word of Faith is there in the event any House of Raeford employees are ever affected.
As for the future of the partnership, Witter has only one thing to say: “as long as they’re still helping people who are hungry, then House of Raeford will be their partner and offer whatever product and support we can provide.”