The Willmar, Minnesota maker of the Jennie-O turkey brand products has shattered the previous Guinness World Records title for the “Largest Donation of Turkeys in 24 Hours” with its donation of 15,000 whole turkeys, made November 13 on World Kindness Day. Separately, Jennie-O is donating more than 5,000 turkeys to additional charities in the United States, totaling more than 20,000 turkeys donated this Thanksgiving season.
Jennie-O, a subsidiary of Hormel Foods, collaborated with NBC’s Today morning television show, where weather and feature story anchor Al Roker helped set the record. Broadcasting from New York City, Roker and the Jennie-O team donated 15,000 frozen turkeys to local partners of the Feeding America charity. Exactly 7,500 turkeys were provided to the New York area through their partners, Food Bank for New York City and City Harvest. The other 7,500 birds were donated to one of Feeding America’s Chicago partners, Greater Chicago Food Depository.
“Thanksgiving is an especially important time for the Jennie-O brand,” said Steve Venenga, Hormel Foods’ assistant vice president for retail marketing of value-added meats. “We are honored to collaborate with Today and Feeding America to provide whole turkeys to those in need in New York and Chicago. We also have a long-standing tradition of working with organizations around the United States to donate turkeys – and this year, we’re donating more than 5,000 to local organizations.
Eight Jennie-O semi-trucks were deployed from Minnesota to New York and Chicago, where the turkeys were hand-delivered to Feeding America locations. Each bag contained a whole turkey, as well as cooking tips, recipes and information about the Jennie-O brand team’s 1-800-TURKEYS telephone hotline, where home cooks can speak with turkey experts about any and all Thanksgiving-related meal-prep questions and emergencies.
The previous Guinness World Records title holder for the “Most Turkeys Donated in 24 Hours” was 7,620 turkeys, weighing 142,117.54 pounds in 2022. This year, the Jennie-O brand donation weighs in at more than 320,450 pounds.
Jennie-O turkey has a tradition of giving back and spreading gratitude, especially during the holiday season. In 2022, they partnered with esteemed chef, cookbook author and TV personality Carla Hall and honored cafeteria staff across the country by hosting school cafeteria takeovers in select cities. A special Thanksgiving season visit took place in Los Angeles, complete with a holiday meal. In 2021, they worked with YouTube phenom and philanthropist MrBeast and Beast Philanthropy to give away 10,000 turkeys to MrBeast’s hometown of Greenville, North Carolina.
The brand also consistently gives back to its home state of Minnesota. Throughout the last five years, it has teamed up with professional football player Adam Thielen and his foundation to donate thousands of turkeys during the holiday season.