In response to the coronavirus pandemic Cherokee County organizations will benefit from food product manufacturer Pilgrim’s new Hometown Strong initiative, company officials said.

The company operates a plant in Canton off Univeter Road.

“We take great pride in feeding American families every day,” said Fabio Sandri, Pilgrim’s Interim CEO. “We also recognize our responsibility to do more than just produce food within our communities. Hometown Strong is our way of demonstrating our commitment to the places we call home, and we are listening to local leaders to determine where help is needed most.”

Pilgrim’s will partner with local officials and community leaders in Athens, Canton, Carrollton, Douglas, Elberton, Ellijay and Gainesville to identify investment projects that strengthen these hometowns where the company’s employees live and work.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented economic challenges to our state, as farmers face decreased demand and restaurants and other local businesses have scaled back operations,” said Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp. “As we continue our fight to protect the lives and livelihoods of all Georgians, I am grateful for Pilgrim’s support to provide these critical relief funds to communities across the Peach State. Working with our great partners – like Pilgrim’s – in the private sector, I am confident that we can continue to support the hardworking Georgians in our state and secure a safer, healthier, and more prosperous future on the road ahead.”

Pilgrim’s will spend $3.5 million in Georgia to help local communities respond to coronavirus and invest in the future.

Nationally, the $20 million Hometown Strong investment will include donations to alleviate food insecurity, strengthen long-term community infrastructure and well-being, and support COVID-19 emergency response and relief efforts. All funds will be committed by the end of the year.

Pilgrim’s employs more than 7,000 people in Georgia and pays local farmers more than $152 million each year to support its facilities in the state.

During the pandemic Pilgrim’s has invested more than $65 million to enhance safeguards and pay bonuses to employees.

The company also hired people for all of its facilities to conduct around-the-clock sanitation and cleaning services, and to provide education, training and enforcement of COVID-19 preventive measures.

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