Coming together to help those in need was in full display as students and alumni from McNeese State University's College of Agricultural Sciences gave back in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura by preparing and serving free meals to southwest Louisiana residents.
Thanks to a partnership with the Louisiana Pork Producers Association, JBS Pork and Smithfield Foods Inc., the hope was to serve over 2,000 hot meals through Saturday. On Thursday, students and alumni prepared 900 smoked pork sausage dogs donated by Smithfield in a mobile kitchen provided by the National Pork Board. They planned to prepare another 900 smoked sausage dogs on Friday, as well as pork loin sandwiches on Friday and Saturday, donated by JBS USA. According to public relations office of McNeese State University, about 10,000 servings were made available overall.
"Guided by our We Care ethical principles, pig farmers believe strongly in giving back to their communities," says Butch Racca, president of the Louisiana Pork Producers Association. "Louisiana pig farmers are proud to provide a hot meal to their neighbors while they work to recover from Hurricane Laura."
"It has been inspiring to see everyone from the community come together during this difficult time and support each other as we begin rebuilding. McNeese is honored to be a part of this effort and we are grateful for the support and work of our sponsors and volunteers. We want to invite everyone from the community to come and enjoy a meal with us," says Chip LeMieux, executive director of the LPPA. LeMieux is also the dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences at McNeese State.
LeMieux reiterates Racca's sentiment that giving back to the community is the right thing to do, and that gesture has not gone unnoticed.
"I think this is probably one of the most important things that can be done, not just for promotion of pork, but to really demonstrate that the producers in our country care about the people in the communities," LeMieux says. "I think this message is strong, when people come by and pick up a sandwich or pick up a smoked sausage and they asked what they can do to give back to the pork industry for our pork producers. I think there's nothing more important than being able to provide this mobile kitchen for these types of events."