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SMITHFIELD, Va. - Smithfield Foods here has created a program aimed at helping to close the gap that separates underprivileged high school students from a post-secondary education.
The goal of "Learners to Leaders" -- a new national educational alliance funded by Smithfield Foods and made up of its independent operating companies and local educational partners -- is to help reinforce what organizers said is the most critical part of any community's foundation, the education of its youth.
The company will launch its first local initiative in Sioux Falls, S.D., in time for the 2007 school year. Similar programs will be rolled out in Iowa and Wisconsin, with additional partnerships to follow in communities across the nation and in Europe.
"This is step one in a program that further demonstrates our passion for nourishing children's minds and bodies," said Larry Pope, Smithfield's c.e.o. "Learners to Leaders is further evidence that for some time now our employees worldwide are involved in numerous activities to support education initiatives and food programs that feed the hungry."
With sales of $11 billion, Smithfield is the leading processor and marketer of fresh pork and processed meats in the United States, as well as the largest producer of hogs.