Smucker’s makes a good neighbor

Published 10:03 pm Friday, May 18, 2018

Suffolk is indeed blessed to have many fine companies that not only produce excellent products and contribute to the city’s economic wellbeing but also believe in the value of corporate citizenship.

One such example is the J.M. Smucker Company, which is partly responsible for the mouth-watering coffee smell that emanates from the Progress Road area, where it has a factory.

But while the company produces a product that for many people is so closely associated with breakfast, early school mornings and lazy, rainy Saturdays spent indoors, it fully recognizes that not every child has the advantage of enough to eat in the morning, in the evening or on the weekends.

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That’s why the company, which is a Partner-In-Education with Mack Benn Jr. Elementary School, recently provided about 100 “snack packs” for students at the school.

The packs were provided to children selected by the school based on their socioeconomic status and distributed to those families on a first-come, first-served basis. The packs included pancake mix and syrup as well as fruit for a great breakfast, as well as juice boxes and other kid-friendly products.

“I think it’s vital to a lot of our students,” guidance counselor Latonya Hinton said. “Some of them don’t have good home-cooked meals, and some families don’t have enough. They are hungry, and this provides a little something extra. It’s important for a majority of our students.”

According to the Federation of Virginia Food Banks, nearly 12 percent of Virginians are “food insecure,” which means they often don’t know from where their next meal will come. Many of those are families with children who are going hungry while they are trying to do their homework, pay attention in class or just be a kid for a little while.

The help of companies like the J.M. Smucker Company is helping to bridge that gap, and Suffolk should be proud that this company and other good corporate citizens are here.