Photo Release — Eckrich Surprises Military Family With Once-in-a-Lifetime College Football Experience

LISLE, Ill., Sept. 5, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — During college football’s opening weekend, Eckrich, the makers of naturally hardwood smoked sausage and savory deli meats, Kroger and Operation Homefront teamed up to surprise and honor a deserving military family. The Robertson family was guests of Eckrich, who, with Emmy Award-winning college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit, treated them to an unforgettable, behind-the-scenes experience and much more.

A photo accompanying this release is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=35849

Eckrich invited Alabama native, Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey Robertson and his family to Fort Worth, Texas, to attend Saturday’s live airing of ESPN’s popular program, College GameDay, in Sundance Square. The family viewed the show live in advance of the much anticipated and nationally-televised season opener between University of Alabama and University of Wisconsin at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

Already an amazing morning, Robertson, his wife, Gwen, and their two children were then surprised with a personal visit from Herbstreit who made their day even better when he presented the family with free groceries for one year at Kroger on behalf of Eckrich.

Herbstreit also gave the family tickets to Saturday night’s Alabama-Wisconsin game. Jeffrey, a lifelong and diehard Alabama fan, had previously only had the opportunity to attend one game played by his favorite team despite growing up just 45 miles from the university campus. Thanks to Eckrich and Herbstreit, he is now able to live out this dream.

“It’s great to see companies like Eckrich support organizations like Operation Homefront,” said Jeffrey Robertson. “It’s nice to see them recognize and give back. We don’t desire the recognition, but it’s nice to receive.  Our family was proud to sacrifice for our country, and to see Eckrich recognize that, it’s an honor.  It’s a remarkable gift and gesture for Eckrich to bring us to Dallas and enjoy the game, but the gift of free groceries just makes this trip even better.”

The day’s events are part of the ongoing campaign by Eckrich to honor, thank and support military families through its partnership with Operation Homefront, a national non-profit whose mission is to build strong, stable and secure military families.

Herbstreit has been an Eckrich spokesperson since 2008 and has helped support Eckrich’s military family support program since its inception. Eckrich also features Herbstreit in advertising during the college football season. Herbstreit is proud to work with Eckrich and its mission to honor and thank military families.

“This is the fourth year that I’ve worked with Eckrich to show appreciation for our military families,” said Herbstreit. “I’ve always been amazed by the commitment that the families make and it’s great to see what Eckrich is doing to support them. It’s a privilege for me to be a part of the cause.”

Eckrich, in its fourth year of partnership with Operation Homefront, recently surpassed $1 million in cumulative donations since 2012.

“We are extremely thankful to our military families for the sacrifices they make, which often include missing out on things like watching their favorite teams play,” said Chuck Gitkin, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Smithfield Foods. “It is an honor to give the Robertson family this once in a lifetime college football experience and provide them with one year of groceries at Kroger, which will last long beyond this weekend.”

For more information about Eckrich visit www.facebook.com/EckrichMeats. Eckrich is a brand of Smithfield Foods.

About Eckrich

Founded by Peter Eckrich in 1894, Eckrich has a rich heritage starting from a small meat market in Fort Wayne, Ind. Through it all, Eckrich meats have been recognized for their great taste and supreme quality, craftsmanship, care and pride. For more information, visit www.eckrich.com.

About Smithfield Foods

Smithfield Foods is a $15 billion global food company and the world’s largest pork processor and hog producer. In the United States, the company is also the leader in numerous packaged meats categories with popular brands including Smithfield®, Eckrich®, Farmland®, Armour®, Cook’s®, John Morrell®, Gwaltney®, Nathan’s Famous®, Kretschmar®, Margherita®, Curly’s®, Carando® and Healthy Ones®. Smithfield Foods is committed to providing good food in a responsible way and maintains robust animal care, community involvement, employee safety, environmental and food safety and quality programs. For more information, visit www.smithfieldfoods.com.

About Operation Homefront

A national nonprofit, Operation Homefront leads more than 2,500 volunteers with nationwide presence who provide emergency and other financial assistance to the families of service members and wounded warriors. Operation Homefront has provided assistance to thousands of military families since its inception in 2002. Recognized for superior performance by leading independent charity watchdog groups, nationally, 92 percent of Operation Homefront’s expenditures go directly to programs that provide support to our military families. For more information, go to www.OperationHomefront.net.

About Kroger Co.

Kroger, one of the world’s largest retailers, employs nearly 400,000 associates who serve customers in 2,626 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 34 states and the District of Columbia under two dozen local banner names including Kroger, City Market, Dillons, Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, Harris Teeter, Jay C, King Soopers, QFC, Ralphs and Smith’s.  The company also operates 780 convenience stores, 327 fine jewelry stores, 1,342 supermarket fuel centers and 37 food processing plants in the U.S.  Recognized by Forbes as the most generous company in America, Kroger supports hunger relief, breast cancer awareness, the military and their families, and more than 30,000 schools and community organizations. Kroger contributes food and funds equal to 200 million meals a year through more than 100 Feeding America food bank partners. A leader in supplier diversity, Kroger is a proud member of the Billion Dollar Roundtable and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber’s Million Dollar Club.  

The photo is also available via AP PhotoExpress.

CONTACT: Jeff Dennison
         Breaking Limits for Eckrich
         2137 South Blvd., Suite 200
         Charlotte, N.C. 28203
         Direct: 704-766-9061
         Cell: 704-252-3356
         E-Mail: jdennison@breakinglimits.net

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