Pilgrim’s on Wednesday announced it will provide $30,000 to Kurth Primary and the Lufkin school district to purchase 25 picnic tables for outdoor eating areas to improve social distancing capabilities while students are at school.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing, I’m pleased that Pilgrim’s can help students stay safe at school by making it easier to social distance while getting some fresh air,” said Christian Dempsey, Pilgrim’s Lufkin complex manager. “This is an important investment in the health and safety of many of our Lufkin team members’ families and the greater community.”

The money is part of the company’s planned $685,000 investment in the community as part of the company’s Hometown Strong program. Pilgrim’s has been working with community leaders to determine where the funds could best help meet immediate and longer-term needs.

In November 2020, Pilgrim’s contributed $612,030 to two additional projects in Lufkin.

In partnership with the Salvation Army of Lufkin, Pilgrim’s invested $500,000 to upgrade and renovate the community gymnasium. Additionally, Pilgrim’s contributed $112,030 to provide the Boys & Girls Club of Deep East Texas with Chromebooks for online learning, vans to transport children from school to the club, large kitchen appliances that enable the center to offer cooking classes, as well as pool and gym updates.

“We are so thankful for this generous partnership with Pilgrim’s,” said Dana Bickley, Kurth Primary School principal. “These picnic tables will give us the flexibility to utilize our outdoor space for teaching, learning and dining. Our students will benefit greatly from the ability to spread out safely around our beautiful property throughout their school day.”

Pilgrim’s Lufkin facility employs more than 1,400 people with an annual payroll of nearly $56 million.

Pilgrim’s anchors dozens of rural communities — operating more than 30 meat, poultry and prepared foods facilities and employing 31,000-plus people in the United States. Nationally, the Hometown Strong initiative is a $20 million investment from Pilgrim’s, which is part of a $50 million nationwide contribution from JBS USA.