Paula Deen cooks, shares recipes on ABC7 at 11 a.m.

File photo of celebrity chef Paula Deen. ((AP Photo/Katy Winn))

March 17, 2010 4:43:25 AM PDT
Celebrity cook Paula Deen, who was in Chicago to bring 35,000 pounds of meat to Second Harvest food bank, heated up the kitchen at ABC7's State Street Studio.

This equates to 150,000 servings of protein for Chicago's hungry. Food Banks nationwide are reporting a 25 percent increase in the number of people coming to them for help. The current recession and the continuing rise in unemployment are having a profound effect on Food Banks' ability to meet the demand. As a result, food assistance organizations across the country have been reporting over the past year that more individuals and families are turning to them for assistance including more first-time visitors, unemployed workers, employed individuals, seniors and families with children.

Paula, the Food Network superstar is joining, Smithfield, and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union to deliver the donation to the Chicago food bank on Tuesday. It's part of Helping Hungry Homes, Paula's joint project with Smithfield; their goal is to donate a total of nearly 20 million servings of protein over the next three years to Feeding America ? The Nation's Food Bank Network. "Dominick's, a longstanding retail partner of Smithfield and a dedicated supporter of the Greater Chicago Food Depository, also will participate in the program.

"Helping Hungry Homes was established to help ensure that American families in need do not go hungry," Paula says. "Smithfield Foods and its independent operating companies have a long history of stocking food banks, supporting after-school nutrition programs and providing food relief in the wake of natural disasters."

About Greater Chicago Food Depository
The Greater Chicago Food Depository, Chicago's food bank, is a nonprofit food distribution and training center providing food for hungry people while striving to end hunger in our community. The Food Depository distributes donated and purchased food through a network of 650 pantries, soup kitchens and shelters to 678,000 adults and children in Cook County every year. Last year, the Food Depository distributed 58 million pounds of nonperishable food and fresh produce, dairy products and meat, the equivalent of 119,000 meals every day. The Food Depository's programs and services for children, older adults and the unemployed and underemployed address the root causes of hunger. For more information, log onto or call 773-247-FOOD.

About Smithfield
Smithfield, a name familiar to millions of Americans, is committed to environmental leadership, community involvement, employee safety, animal welfare and high-quality food. It is seeking to help the people of Chicago by providing these needed servings of protein. With sales of $12 billion, Smithfield Foods is the leading processor and marketer of fresh pork and packaged meats in the United States, as well as the largest producer of hogs. For more information, visit

About the United Food and Commercial Workers
The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) represents more than 1.3 million workers, primarily in the retail and meatpacking, food processing and poultry industries. The UFCW protects the rights of workers and strengthens America's middle class by fighting for health care reform, immigration reform, living wages, retirement security, safe working conditions and the right to unionize so that working men and women and their families can realize the American Dream. For more information about the UFCW's effort to protect workers' rights and strengthen America's middle class, visit

About Dominick's
Dominick's Finer Foods, a division of Safeway Inc., operates 80 stores throughout the Chicagoland area. Dominick's is an industry leader in giving back to the Chicagoland community, demonstrating environmental responsibility and strong corporate social responsibility. Dominick's supports a broad range of charitable and community programs and in 2009 donated more than $3 million to important causes, such as cancer research, education, hunger relief and health and human services. Dominick's sponsors an annual food drive benefiting the Greater Chicago Food Depository and to date has donated thousands of pounds of food and cash support. Since 1925, Dominick's has been proud to be Chicagoland's neighborhood grocer.