RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Thousands of fairgoers were at the North Carolina State Fair on Thursday, and thousands of pounds of food were donated as part of Smithfield Food’s Hunger Relief Day.

Fairgoers get free admission into the fair in exchange for six items of donated food, all benefitting the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina at a time they say the donations are needed more than ever.

“Right now, and for the past couple of months, our partner agencies that we serve, the food pantry, soup kitchens, shelters, they have been experiencing about a 60% increase over pre-covid levels of people that are visiting them for emergency food assistance,” Jennifer Caslin, with the Food Bank, said.

It’s hosted in part by Smithfield Foods. This is the company’s third year involved.



“We understand that the need is greater than ever, and as a food company, Smithfield especially understands the importance of healthy and food in a diet,” said Jonathan Toms of Smithfield Foods.

That’s why they’re donating 500,000 pounds of protein on top of the food donations from the fair. All of it’s going to help thousands of families across North Carolina have meals on the table.

“By next week it’ll probably be in a food pantry for someone to receive,” Caslin said.