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Over 60 tons of pork donated during Operation Christmas Meal

Ignite the Spirit program also awarded pork loins, cash to school-based organizations where Iowa Select Farms has employees, farms.

December 22, 2023

2 Min Read
Iowa Select Farms

The Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation believes everyone deserves a good meal, especially during the holidays. The Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation’s ongoing commitment to support food security continued in December with the annual Operation Christmas Meal event, giving away 24,000 pork loins to 23 communities across Iowa in six days.

Now in its 13th year, Operation Christmas Meal has provided more than 2 million Christmas meals to nearly 690,000 Iowa families. From Dec. 1 to 14, Operation Christmas Meal donated 24,000 boneless pork loin roasts at 23 different events across Iowa with the help of more than 250 employee volunteers. In total this year, more than 60 tons (121,000 pounds) of pork were donated. The pork loin totes included a recipe booklet created by Kelsey Byrnes, a local Iowan and popular food blogger (Dance Around the Kitchen).

The USDA reports that from 2021 to 2022, families saw a 9.5% increase in meat prices at the grocery store and saw additional increases in 2023.

“As farmers, it’s hard for us to see hunger exist in this world, we’re dedicated to taking care of our communities by offering free pork loins” said Jen Sorenson, communications director for Iowa Select Farms.  “During an especially financially difficult time for families, Operation Christmas Meal helps create a happy holiday for all Iowans, no matter their circumstances or level of income.”

In addition, the Ignite the Spirit program awarded cases of pork loins and $500 in cash to nearly 80 local FFA, 4-H and school-based organizations throughout the counties where Iowa Select Farms has employees and farms – a new record. The donations and event kits helped youth organizations host a community meal, organize and distribute holiday food baskets, or develop their idea for providing a meal to families in need.

“Ignite the Spirit is an additional component of Operation Christmas Meal that increases awareness of hunger locally and helps even more families during the holiday season,” Sorenson said. “We are encouraged to see so many student organizations working to better understand hunger, plan unique projects or events, and partner with organizations that provide different areas of support to local families.”

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