Ohio pork producers help fill Toledo area protein gap

OPC provided $3,000 worth of fresh pork or equivalent funds to each venue.

May 22, 2024

2 Min Read

When it comes to providing no- or low-cost meals to those in need in northwest Ohio, sourcing high-quality protein is an ongoing struggle as people there are facing food insecurity rates close to 16%— far above the national 13.5% rate. However, thanks to Ohio’s pig farmers annual Pork Power program, hundreds of patrons at Toledo’s SAME Café and the Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank will have nutrient-dense, sustainably raised pork available to them.

On behalf of the state’s pork producers, the Ohio Pork Council is once again partnering with Toledo’s SAME Café and the Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank, community-based nonprofits, to bring high-quality protein to those in need. For 2024, this means OPC has provided $3,000 worth of fresh pork or equivalent funds to each venue.

“A meat donation like this is beyond words,” said Courtney Schmidtke, head chef of SAME Café. “It is vital for our guests to have high-quality meat to give them the protein, iron and vitamin B vitamins that they need to stay healthy and happy. Since many of guests lack fulltime shelter, they need a protein like pork to give their bodies the energy they need to survive whatever environment they are in the most.”

Giving back to the state’s rural and urban communities has been a regular part of what Ohio’s pig farmers have done for years as part of OPC’s Pork Power initiative, which has been even more of a lifeline in these tough economic times.


“We are very appreciative of this donation and for the ongoing relationship we have with the Ohio Pork Council,” said James Caldwell, president, and CEO of Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank. “In being part of this organization for 30 years, I can tell you that working with our state’s farmers for donations like this makes a difference in our ability to serve those in need in our eight-county area.”

Whether it’s Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank that is celebrating 40 years of serving this part of the state or SAME Café, which has only been in the city since 2022, both serve a critical role in offering access to food and much more to those suffering from food insecurity.

“For us as farmers, giving back to our state’s various communities is engrained in our DNA,” said Nick Seger, president of the Ohio Pork Council and a producer from Minster, Ohio. “Especially in times like this when the need is even greater, we’re honored to partner with unique organizations such as SAME Café that provide life-saving meals and crucial training to those in need and to our long-time partners like the Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank that offer broad nutritional support to many food pantries over a large area.”

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