The U.S. Poultry & Egg Association has created a storm relief fund to help those that have suffered damage as a result of the tornados and associated storms that struck the Southeast last week. USPOULTRY is currently identifying the relief organizations working in the area, particularly those that are serving the rural areas within the poultry industry, to which funds received can be donated.

“Like millions around the world, our hearts go out to those who have lost a loved one or suffered injury or property damage. Our industry was particularly hard hit, and we would like to assist those that are in need however possible,” said USPOULTRY President John Starkey.

USPOULTRY is making an initial donation of $1,000 to the storm relief fund. For those who would like to join the association and make a tax-deductible donation through USPOULTRY’s Harold E. Ford Foundation, please send a check to:

USPOULTRY Harold E. Ford Foundation
C/O: Storm Relief Fund
1530 Cooledge Road
Tucker, GA 30084

In addition, donations can be made through USPOULTRY’s Web site at  Donors will receive a receipt for their records.  Additionally, USPOULTRY will post where the funds are disbursed on its Web site, with 100 percent of all donations going to disaster relief.

Chicken companies in the affected areas have rushed to help provide relief and to work with growers hit by the storms.  Tyson Foods has delivered truckloads of meat, poultry, tortillas, ice and bottles of water to relief agencies in several states and has teams working with growers in northern Alabama.  Pilgrim’s Pride has donated ice and has employees volunteering and grilling chicken, hamburgers, and hot dogs for residents of several communities in Alabama, feeding up to several thousand people at a time.  Other groups of Pilgrim’s Pride  employees have helped residents clean up storm damage and also delivered meals to elderly, a company spokesman said.  Other companies are similarly assisting in storm recovery.

In Mount Hope, Alabama, poultry grower John Wilkins may well owe his life to his Pilgrim’s Pride serviceman.  Wilkins was in one of his six poultry houses when he got a call from the serviceman telling him to get out.  “I said ‘Marty, it don’t look that bad,’” Wilkins told the Decatur Daily.  “His voice changed, and he said ‘John, I ain’t telling you again. Get out of there.’ When his voice changed, I thought I might ought to go.” On his way to his brother’s storm cellar, Wilkins saw a giant tornado bearing down on the farm.  All six of his poultry houses were destroyed.  “The only possession he has left is the truck he drove away in,” the newspaper said.