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Eckrich, Operation Homefront and Jewel-Osco Partner to Honor Military Family

Indiana Family Surprised with One Year of FREE Groceries by Aric Almirola

LISLE, Ill., Sept. 18, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Eckrich, the makers of naturally hardwood smoked sausage and savory deli meats, partnered with Richard Petty Motorsports driver, Aric Almirola, Jewel-Osco and Operation Homefront, a national nonprofit whose mission is to build strong, stable, and secure military families, to honor a Crown Pointe, Ind. military family Friday.

Aric Almirola, Driver of the No. 43 Smithfield Ford and Eckrich and Jewel-Osco Surprised the Shepherd Family with Free Groceries for One Year

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A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

Eckrich and Almirola surprised the Shepherd family with race tickets to Sunday’s race event at the track in Joliet, Ill. In addition to meeting Almirola and personally being handed tickets to Sunday’s race, Almirola helped present the family with free groceries for one year on behalf of Eckrich.

Eckrich, Almirola and Richard Petty Motorsports have been partnering to honor U.S. military families since 2012.

“Today continues our partnership with Eckrich and their support of military families,” said Almirola. “Eckrich has always given back to military families and it’s important we say thanks and honor them.  We can’t race without their sacrifice. In the grand scheme, this is a small token of our appreciation and we hope they enjoy the race and their free groceries for one year.”

Matthew Shepherd served as an infantryman in the United States Army during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. His wife, Jennifer, is his caregiver and a member of Operation Homefront’s Hearts of Valor® program, a network of more than 3,000 caregivers for wounded, ill or injured service members and provides caregivers with annual retreats, support groups and online communities. The family has four children.

“This means so much for a family of six,” said Matthew Shepherd.  “Something like this is a big opportunity for a family like us to get through months easier.  We need support from our family, friends and companies and organizations like Eckrich, Operation Homefront and Jewel-Osco.  It makes a big difference.”

The surprise is part of the ongoing campaign by Eckrich to honor, thank and support military families through its partnership with Operation Homefront.

Eckrich, in its fifth year of partnership with Operation Homefront, has donated more than $2.5 million to the organization since 2012.

“Eckrich is proud to again partner with Richard Petty Motorsports and Aric Almirola to help us honor our military families,” said Jennifer Zmrhal, Senior Director, Marketing, Smithfield Foods. “Aric has shown his commitment to supporting our campaign and we’re grateful that he can help us make these events so special for the military families being honored.  We also appreciate the support of Jewel-Osco as we continue in our mission to thank and honor military families across the country. We thank the Shepherd family for their service and sacrifice and are proud to present them with one year of free groceries.”

For more information about Eckrich, please visit

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

About Smithfield Foods
Smithfield Foods is a $14 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®, Nathan's Famous®, Farmland®, Armour®, John Morrell®, Cook's®, Kretschmar®, Gwaltney®, Curly's®, Margherita®, Carando®, Healthy Ones®, Krakus®, Morliny®, and Berlinki®. 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

About Operation Homefront
A national nonprofit, Operation Homefront builds strong, stable, and secure military families so that they can thrive in the communities they have worked so hard to protect.  With more than 3,200 volunteers nationwide, Operation Homefront has provided assistance to tens of thousands of military families its inception shortly after 9/11. Recognized for superior performance by leading independent charity oversight groups, 92 percent of Operation Homefront’s expenditures go directly to programs that provide support to our military families. For more information, go to

About Richard Petty Motorsports
A performance and marketing driven company, Richard Petty Motorsports, co-owned by NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty and successful business entrepreneur Andrew Murstein, is one of the most recognized brands in all of motorsports. With a history of over 200 wins and business partnerships with national and global leaders, today the race operation fields two teams in competition in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with drivers Aric Almirola and Brian Scott. Almirola will return to the iconic No. 43 Ford with partners Smithfield Foods, STP, United States Air Force and the “Fresh From Florida” campaign. Scott will make his debut with the team and drive the Petty Family No. 44 Ford. Albertsons Companies, Shore Lodge, Twisted Tea and will join Scott as he competes for Rookie of the Year in his first full-time season in the Sprint Cup Series. The team is headquartered in Mooresville, N.C.

Jeff Dennison
Breaking Limits for Eckrich
Cell: 704-252-3356

Heather Lumpp
Richard Petty Motorsports
Cell: 847-302-5509

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Distribution channels: Food & Beverages