Eckrich, Operation Homefront and Fry’s Food Stores Honor Military Family

LISLE, Ill., Sept. 16, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Eckrich, the makers of naturally hardwood smoked sausage and savory deli meats, partnered with Fry’s Food Stores and Operation Homefront, a national nonprofit whose mission is to build strong, stable, and secure military families, to honor a Phoenix, Ariz. military family Thursday morning. Eckrich hosted a special surprise presentation for the Ray family at the Fry’s headquarters in Tolleson, Ariz., where they surprised the family with one year of free groceries, valued at over $13,000, at Fry’s. The family also received tickets to this weekend’s Arizona State college football game.

Ray Family Surprised with One Year of FREE Groceries

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

Richard Ray joined the United States Army shortly after graduating high school in 2002. Through his career Ray held many different positions in the Army, including Team Leader for combat operations. Ray was deployed to Iraq during his service. Ray’s wife, Elizabeth, also served in the Army and was deployed to Iraq as well. The couple has two children.

"This gift of groceries means a lot to our family," said Richard Ray. "It shows that there are people and companies, like Eckrich, in our corner. We are sincerely grateful for this gift. Eckrich, Fry's, and Operation Homefront has lifted a burden from our family."

The surprise is part of the ongoing campaign by Eckrich to honor, thank and support military families through its partnership with Operation Homefront. The Ray family is supported by Operation Homefront’s Hearts of Valor® program, a network of more than 3,000 caregivers which provides annual retreats, support groups and online communities.

Thursday’s event is also part of the Eckrich Road to the National Championship program where a military family will be honored at 13 of the biggest college football games of the year. Eckrich, now in its fifth year of partnership with Operation Homefront, has already donated more than $2.5 million since 2012.

“We are excited to bring the Eckrich college football program to the Phoenix area this weekend,” said Jennifer Zmrhal, Senior Director, Marketing, Smithfield Foods. “We have another full weekend of activities planned to support the game at Arizona State University, but nothing is more important than to honor the Ray family for their service and sacrifice. We are proud to reward them with free groceries for one year at Fry’s Food Stores.”

For more information about Eckrich, please visit or follow Eckrich on Facebook and Twitter.

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 since 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

Contacts: Jeff Dennison Breaking Limits for Eckrich 2137 South Blvd., Suite 200 Charlotte, N.C. 28203 Direct: 704-766-9061 Cell: 704-252-3356 E-Mail: JoEllen Lynn Fry’s Food Stores Direct: 623-907-7190 Cell: 602-980-1522 E-mail:

Source:Smithfield Foods