As part of the Pork Power: Partnering to Fight Hunger in Illinois campaign, the Illinois Pork Producers Association (IPPA), along with the Illinois Corn Marketing Board (ICMB) and the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) today presented $9,050 to provide ground pork to the Midwest Food Bank (MFB). The groups also partnered with Steidinger Foods of Fairbury and Calihan Pork Processors of Peoria in this donation which in total will amount to 12,500 pounds of ground pork donated to MFB.
This donation compliments the on-going efforts of Steidinger Foods in Fairbury for their continuation of providing much needed protein to the Midwest Food Bank. Farmers interested in donating pigs to help the cause can contact Steidinger Foods, who will process the pigs and deliver the pork to the Midwest Food Bank, which will be distributed to needy families throughout Central Illinois.
In 2008, IPPA launched Pork Power with the goal of helping fight hunger in Illinois. Since its inception, Illinois pig and grain farmers have generated nearly 500,000 pounds of pork. With this donation, the Pork Power program reaches nearly 2 million servings of pork provided to families throughout Illinois.
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,” said Curt Zehr, a pig farmer from Washington, Ill. President of the IPPA (www.ilpork.com). “It is important that Illinois families have access to protein not just during the holiday season, but throughout the year as well. Illinois pig farmers are dedicated to producing safe, wholesome and affordable food and are proud to work with the partnering organizations to support the Midwest Food Bank and Steidinger Foods’ pork donation program.”
Lou Lamoreux, a corn farmer from Lanark, Ill., and Immediate past chairman of 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 or pig farmers, but most importantly, our neighbors throughout Illinois will receive protein which is vital to everyone's nutritional needs. I’m glad that Illinois corn farmers can help make pork available at a local level.”
“As farmers, we want to help our communities,” says Jenny Mennenga, a farmer from LeRoy, Ill., and board member of the Illinois Soybean Association “Pork Power demonstrates how Illinois farmers and our organizations work together toward that goal. Hogs eat 85 percent of Illinois soybean meal, and livestock farmers are my No. 1 soybean customers. Donating pork is one very practical way soybean farmers help feed those in need.”
Each day, food banks provide access to healthy and nutritious food in an effort to keep families across Illinois from going to bed hungry. USDA recommends meat protein as part of a well-balanced and nutritious diet, yet it is often difficult for food banks to maintain an adequate supply. The Pork Power partners are committed to making meat protein available to those most in need. This donation will provide 50,000 servings of protein to people served by the Midwest Food Bank.
Midwest Food Bank (MFB) was created in 2003 when the Kieser family began providing food out of a shed on their family farm. MFB began by serving about 10 food pantries in McLean County. Today they serve over 900 organizations in Illinois, Indiana, Georgia and Florida. Food given out each month from the various MFB locations now reaches over 750,000 people.
“This donation by the pork, corn, and soybean groups will help bridge the gap between prosperity and poverty,” said David Kieser, President, Midwest Food Bank. "These groups have taken on the challenge of helping others, and they are doing so with a nutritious, high-quality product that is an important addition to our food bank.”