WINDSOR, NC – Through the Arthur W. Perdue Foundation, Perdue presented a $10,000 grant to the American Red Cross to aid victims of the deadly April 16 tornado that struck northeast Bertie County, killing 12 people, including one Perdue associate — Peggy Leary, 60, who worked at the Lewiston processing plant for nearly 28 years. Twelve other Perdue employees either lost their homes or suffered serious damage to their property.

The grant was presented to the Pitt County Chapter of the American Red Cross and Bertie County officials on June 2 at a ceremony in downtown Windsor. The Pitt County Chapter represents several North Carolina counties, including Bertie County.

"The loss of life and devastation inflicted by the April 16 tornadoes on the residents of Bertie County, including a number of Perdue associates, is heartbreaking," said Jeff Stalls, director of operations at Perdue's processing operation in Lewiston. "We're proud to make this donation and are grateful to the Pitt County Chapter of the American Red Cross for ensuring the monies will assist Bertie County residents who were directly impacted."

"We appreciate Perdue's consideration of the victims of Bertie County and the American Red Cross to receive such a generous donation to assist in the relief effort,” said Rickey Freeman, emergency management coordinator for Bertie County. “These funds will help meet the needs of the victims that may have not been met by other assistance."

"We're pleased to help direct this grant to help those in Bertie County receive additional assistance,” said Summer Woodard, executive director of the Pitt County Chapter of the American Red Cross based in Greenville, NC. We'll be able to provide victims with prepaid debit cards to help meet their needs. It's comforting to know we have corporate partners like Perdue to help the community in difficult times."

Perdue associates at the Lewiston plant rallied around their co-workers, organizing a variety of fund-raisers. Donations totaling more than $8,000 from associates were evenly distributed among the victims. Associates at a number of other Perdue facilities across the country raised nearly $5,000 that was also distributed to the Lewiston storm victims.

"The compassion shown by our associates in Lewiston and throughout Perdue operations is truly inspiring," Stalls said. "This was a grass-roots effort by them to help ease the suffering of some of their co-workers. It was a heart-warming gesture and reflects the integrity of our associates."