CHICAGO, IL — The Illinois Pork Producers Association (IPPA), Illinois Corn Marketing Board (ICMB) and the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) today presented Feeding Illinois with more than 32,000 pounds of ground pork as part of the Pork Power: Partnering to Fight Hunger in Illinois campaign. In addition, Farmland Foods donated 12,000 pounds of bacon and sausage products to the effort. The groups presented the pork donation at the Greater Chicago Food Depository, one of eight Feeding Illinois regional food banks.
The 44,000 pounds of donated pork products will be distributed to the regional food banks, which provide food to nearly 2,000 food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters that feed nearly 900,000 residents throughout the state of Illinois. Each of the food banks – which include the Central Illinois Foodbank, Eastern Illinois Foodbank, the Greater Chicago Food Depository, Northern Illinois Food Bank, the Peoria Area Food Bank, River Bend Foodbank, the St. Louis Area Foodbank and Tri-State Foodbank – will receive more than 5,500 pounds of pork.
IPPA continued the Pork Power program during 2009 and partnered with ICMB, ISA and the Illinois Association of Meat Processors (IAMP) to build upon the success of the 2008 campaign in which the partners provided more than 100,000 pounds of donated pork to food banks in Illinois. This donation will put the 2009 total to more than 110,000 pounds of donated pork. Pork, soybean and corn producers committed funds from their respective checkoff programs to support this program.
The Pork Power program is also an opportunity to promote pork as families are educated on how to prepare and incorporate pork into their favorite dishes. Families receive information on the important nutritional, mental and physical benefits of including protein in the diet.
“Pork producers are committed to helping their neighbors throughout the state who are having difficulty feeding their families, at a time when many pork producers have been struggling as well,” said Brent Scholl, a pork producer from Polo and current IL Pork Producers Association (www.ilpork.com) president-elect. “Illinois pork producers are dedicated to producing safe, wholesome and affordable food and are proud to work with the partnering organizations to support Feeding Illinois and the eight regional food banks where this pork will end up.”
Jim Robbins, a corn producer from Peotone, Ill., and current District 1 director and secretary for the IL Corn Marketing Board agrees that the partnership is the right thing to do at the right time. “This type of project is a winning situation for everyone involved, not just the Corn Marketing Board (www.ilcorn.org) or pork producers, but most importantly, our neighbors throughout Illinois will receive protein which is vital to everyone's nutritional needs.”
Pork Power is a natural partnership for soybean growers, says Pat Dumoulin, a soybean grower and pork producer from Hampshire, Ill., and Illinois Soybean Association (www.ilsoy.org) board member. “It is important for all of the Illinois commodity groups to work together for a common goal,” Dumoulin said. “As farmers, it is our responsibility to feed the world. The Pork Power program helps us start by feeding those in need in Illinois while also promoting the livestock industry, which is the top consumer of soybeans.”
“We are so grateful for this donation of nutritious protein,” said Kate Maehr, president of Feeding Illinois and executive director of the Greater Chicago Food Depository. “Food banks around Illinois have seen on average a 30 percent increase in the number of people seeking food assistance in the past year. Because of partners like the IL Pork Producers Association, IL Soybean Association, and IL Corn Marketing Board we will be able to put food on the table for thousands of Illinoisans.”