OAKWOOD, GA. (FEBRUARY 2, 2023) – Despite a company merger mid-year and challenging poultry markets at year-end, Wayne-Sanderson Farms did not waiver from the time-honored tradition of giving established by both legacy poultry industry leaders, Wayne Farms and Sanderson Farms, before they joined forces to form the nation’s third-largest poultry producer in July. For the year, the company, its team members and their charitable partners donated over $4.9 million to charities around the nation including the United Way, the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society. In addition to monetary donations, the company donated nearly 500,000 pounds of chicken and ice during the year, equating to a more than $370,000 value of in-kind donations.
Behind all of those sizeable checks and trailer loads of product donations is a devotion to giving to the communities who helped the company succeed when it first planted its roots in the farm supply and feed manufacturing businesses over a century ago. With over 26,000 team members and more than 2,000 family farmers involved in feeding a growing world with the company’s high-quality chicken products, it seems that the spirit of generosity might just be contagious among the company’s ranks, as evidenced by the philanthropic theme prevalent throughout the past year.
As title sponsor of the Sanderson Farms Championship, the company kicked off the year in charitable fashion with a $1.5 million donation to Friends of Children’s Hospital, a fundraising organization dedicated to supporting the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s pediatric health care mission including the state’s only children’s hospital. Along with the donation to pediatric health care, the state’s only professional sporting event also contributed over $255,000 to charities throughout the state of Mississippi, bringing the Sanderson Farms Championship’s total charitable impact to over $1,755,000 for the year.
In February, the company contributed the final $50,000 donation toward their pledge of $155,000 over five years in support of the capital campaign for the Children’s Center of Northwest North Carolina. The center offers a wide range of programs that support the prevention, intervention and treatment of child abuse through two residential homes for neglected and at-risk youth in Surry County and Yadkin County, which serve families from across the northwest portion of the state. Launched in 2019, their $1.8 million capital campaign called “A Good Home” will enable the children’s center to continue fulfilling its mission of preventing the maltreatment of children through new construction of residential homes, renovation of existing residential homes and other program improvements.
A few months later, in May, one of the company’s poultry complexes in Decatur, Alabama raised over $112,000 for the American Cancer Society through a two-decade-long Relay for Life charity golf tournament tradition that has become a fundraising powerhouse, bringing in nearly $1.5 million for the charity over the years. The complex’s efforts have earned them naming rights to a three-year extramural research grant focusing on ovarian cancer, as well as the Pat Flynn Spirit of Relay Award in 2020.
In August, the company and Mar-Jac Poultry each donated $15,000 for a total of $30,000 towards the purchase of a new Ford 15-passenger van for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Lanier in Gainesville, Georgia. The organization serves more than 7,500 children and young adults with 25 sites in area counties, making transportation vital for meeting local needs.
Later in the year, in October, Wayne-Sanderson Farms gave a second $500,000 donation toward construction of Mississippi State University’s new poultry feed mill, bringing the company’s total contribution to the facility to $1 million for 2022. With this donation, MSU’s department of poultry science is closing in on the halfway mark for funding their multimillion-dollar research mill facility.
In December, Wayne-Sanderson Farms and its over 26,000 team members participated in a company-wide food drive that donated over 14,000 pounds of food to local charities during the company’s “Amazing Food Safety Week.” The company also matched employee food donations pound for pound by donating over 14,000 pounds of fresh chicken to local charities in each of the communities where the company operates throughout the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and Texas.
Later that month, the company donated $10,000 to assist local nonprofit health care organization, Good News Clinics, expand their facilities and increase services in Hall County, Georgia as part of their “Greater Things” capital campaign. The campaign has raised more than $5.2 million to date towards a goal of $8 million from area businesses like Wayne-Sanderson Farms, the Georgia Poultry Federation and other organizations.
In the spirit of the holiday season, the company also donated 10,000 whole chickens to the Neighborhood Christian Centers’ annual Compassionate Christmas event, which included preparing thousands of food baskets for families in extreme need and those at risk for instability or dire poverty in the Memphis, Tennessee area. This was the company’s tenth consecutive year to donate chicken to the program’s annual event.
The company’s charitable spirit did not end with only corporate donations in the 2022 holiday season, it also included team members in Waco, Texas joining together to give back by organizing a holiday food drive collecting over 6,000 pounds of food for the Salvation Army. This employee-organized food drive beat the facility’s previous record of over 2,000 pounds donated from previous food drives.
To round out the year, the company held a medical supplies drive and donated $5,000 to Surry Medical Ministries, a nonprofit providing free health care to less fortunate and underserved citizens of Surry County, North Carolina and its surrounding regions. The facility offers a broad spectrum of health care services to patients, ranging from traditional family practice to specialty medicine, chronic disease care, dentistry and mental health.
Since its founding earlier this year, Wayne-Sanderson Farms has evolved into a unified, cohesive operation with mutual principles and ideals thanks to their singular focus on the company’s vision to be the amazing poultry company. Despite the merging of expansive business operations, Wayne-Sanderson Farms asserts that the third largest poultry producer’s core values have not changed, including the two companies’ legacies of giving back to the causes and communities that helped them achieve their success.