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Mountaire gives back to the community with scholarships, donations

LUMBER BRIDGE — Mountaire Farms spent this month giving back to the local community by making donations to a Lumberton nonprofit and awarding scholarships to recent high school graduates with Robeson County ties.

Company representatives this week made Mountaire’s annual donation of $2,500 to the Lumberton Boys and Girls Club, a tradition the poultry plant began in 2016.

The money will be used to fund the nonprofit’s programs and services, said Ron Ross, the club’s director. And the money is much-needed after recent struggles the club has faced because of COVID-19.

”We haven’t been open,” Ross said. “We’re planning on opening back up in the next couple of weeks.”

Bills “don’t go away” because the club is closed, he said. The club typically makes the majority of its money through fundraising, which it has not been able to do because of virus-related restrictions.

“The toughest thing since COVID started is that money is not coming in,” Ross said.

In addition to this year’s donation, Mountaire donated American, North Carolina and Boys and Girls Club flags.

“It clicked with us that they had three flag poles and no flags,” said Mark Reif, Mountaire Community Relations manager.

The food producing plant also provided about a dozen employees to help paint the entire Boys and Girls Club facility. Lowe’s Home Improvement donated $1,000 worth of paint for the project.

The giving is part of Mountaire Cares, a program the company established to support local charitable or nonprofit organizations.

“With Mountaire Cares we give back to places that are deserving, like the Boys and Girls Club,” Reif said. “We asked ‘What we can do to make life a little better for you?’

“We want to do this stuff for our community.”

Nationally, the company awarded a $2,500 scholarship to each of 32 students to help them pay for college.

The children and grandchildren of employees, growers and grain suppliers were eligible for the scholarships, which were announced recently. Each winner received a certificate with the scholarship.

“We are proud of this program because it embraces everything that we care about — our employees, our growers, our grain producers and their families,” said Phillip Plylar, president of Mountaire Farms. “And these students have all demonstrated a commitment to their education, and to their communities, which we believe should be celebrated.”

Because of COVID-19, the annual scholarship luncheon wasn’t possible this year.

The recipients include high school graduates Walter Bailey, Baniz Zangana, Mikayla Meadows, Chkylle Boado, Isabella Britt and William Pennington.

Bailey is a Rowland resident and a graduate of Dillon Christian School in Dillon, South Carolina. His grandfather Tommy Stone is a grain producer for Mountaire of Delaware. Bailey will be attending North Carolina State University.

Zangana is a graduate of Red Springs High School. Her father, Adnan Zangana, works as a maintenance mechanic for the Mountaire facility in Lumber Bridge. She will be attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Meadows is a Lumberton resident and graduate of West Bladen High School in Bladenboro. Her mother, Kristie Meadows, is a general ledger accountant at the Lumber Bridge facility. She will be attending The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

Boado is a Fayetteville resident and graduate of Westover High School in Fayetteville. Her mother, Christine Johnson, works in Processing Operations for Black Label at the Lumber Bridge processing plant. She attends the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Britt is a graduate of Whiteville High School and Whiteville resident. Her grandfather William R. Storms is a broiler grower for the Lumber Bridge facility. She will be attending Southeastern Community College.

Leviner is a graduate of Sandhoke Early College High School and lives in Raeford. Her mother, Shannon Leviner, is an accounting clerk in Lumber Bridge. She attends East Carolina University.

Pennington is a graduate of North Moore High School in Robbins. His father, Patrick H. Pennington, is a broiler grower for the Lumber Bridge plant. He will be attending Randolph-Macon College.

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