The Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation/Iowa Select Farms  is donating 6,000 fresh, boneless pork loins to more than 40 food banks and pantries that will distribute the meat to local families in need in 26 Iowa counties. The contribution of 27,000 lb. of pork valued at $61,020 comes at a time when food banks and pantries typically run low on donations and food supplies.
Delivery of the nutritious meat began May 20 and will continue through May 28 to help feed Iowans this spring and early summer.
“Spring and summer tend to be a slower time for donations to food banks and pantries across the state,” says Lindsay Pingel, communications specialist for the Food Bank of Iowa. “Receiving donations during the spring and summer is critical; many struggling families have the extra pressure of providing two or more meals a day to children once the school year ends.”
More than 400,000 Iowans, or 13.4% of the state’s residents are considered food insecure, which means they do not have the means to obtain adequate food to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle. This group includes 140,000 children who do not have enough to eat, a condition that endangers their health and development and impedes their education.
“We are glad to be able to deliver fresh pork directly to food pantries throughout Iowa,” says Jeff Hansen, president and CEO of Iowa Select Farms, based in Iowa Falls. “Perishable items are hard to come by for food banks and pantries, but are much needed. These local pantries are doing an amazing job meeting the needs of their communities and we truly value our partnerships with every single one of them.”
The fresh, boneless pork loins being distributed this week and early next week are approximately 4.5 lb. and each can feed 24 people a 3-oz. serving of high-quality, wholesome pork. The 500 cases of pork loin roasts being donated this spring by the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation/Iowa Select Farms will provide approximately 144,000 servings.
Officials at food banks and pantries across Iowa expressed gratitude for the donations of fresh pork.
“Because Iowa Select Farms was generous in not only donating but delivering the pork loins, this helped to make up for the lack of meat in our pantries,” says Mary Ohrtman, outreach director of the Upper Des Moines Opportunity for Webster, Wright, Hamilton and Humboldt counties. “One elderly woman told me today that she was so thankful to receive this pork because she doesn't have enough money to purchase meat. She will be able to get several meals from this pork loin.”
The pork arrived at an opportune time at the Creston Food Pantry, says Marcy Lane, director of the Union County Family Development Center. “We do appreciate the donation of the loins, especially this time of year as summer seems to be hard for some of the households that we serve with their children being home from school,” Lane adds. “Several parents have commented that their grocery bill goes up, making it harder for them to make ends meet. Iowa Select Farms’ donations help those parents to stretch the food dollar to provide the extra food needed to sustain the family during the summer months.”
Meat is a rare treat at the Clarksville Food Pantry, according to Teresa Poland, who volunteers there. “We usually receive nonperishable food items, so whenever we are able to get fresh meat in the pantry, we are even more grateful,” she says. “The pork loins we received are perfect for the six- to nine-person families we have in the community, and they will go a long way to helping them out.”
“We are thrilled with the very generous donation,” adds Pat Kilby, director of the Nashua Area Food Pantry. “I was just at the pantry (Friday morning) and the pork was much appreciated and well received. We don’t receive meat donations of this value very often. It is something we are always low on, so this donation was very timely. ... Our pantry relies totally upon donations. This was the first donation we’ve received from Iowa Select Farms and we are just thrilled.”
Throughout 2012 the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation and Iowa Select Farms donated thousands of pounds of pork through various programs, including Feeding America’s BackPack Program, a holiday pork giveaway with WHO Radio’s “Van and Bonnie” show and donations to food banks and pantries, as well as military families, across Iowa. This year, the Foundation and Iowa Select Farms are adding spring and late summer donations to food banks and pantries statewide to help ease the burden of low inventories during this seasonal slump in donations.
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