Source: Illinois Pork Producers Association, Illinois Central College
The Illinois Pork Producers Association and the Illinois Central College Agriculture Program are celebrating National Pork Month by giving the gift of pork. The two organizations have teamed up to provide the ICC school food pantry 100 pounds of ground pork through the donation program, Pork Power: Partnering to Fight Hunger in Illinois, which is made possible through contributions from Illinois pig farmers, the Illinois Corn Marketing Board and Illinois Soybean Association Checkoff Program.
The effort was started by Professor Grant Grebner’s animal science class and the ICC Agri-Business Club who collected donations from students to purchase ground pork from Chenoa Locker, Inc. IPPA then matched the agriculture students’ campaign.
“We realize there are many college students who are struggling to make ends meet. Many students hold a job, or jobs, trying to support their families,” said Grant Grebner, ICC Agriculture Professor. “Our ag students want to help where they can. Providing a quality source of pork to the ICC food pantry seems like a good fit.”
Pam Janssen, a pig farmer from Minonk, is proud to be part of the equation.
“I am excited to host the AGRI 110 class at my farm in October for a lab and allow them to get hands on experiences with pigs,” says Janssen. This will be her tenth-year hosting Grebner’s class at her family’s farm. Janssen is the vice president elect for the Illinois Pork Producers Association and helped make the connection between ICC and the Pork Power program.
Grebner has provided a full-circle learning experience for his classes over the years, specifically related to pork production. Knowledge has been learned in and out of the classroom by providing field trip opportunities to see farms in action. After completing the pork donation to the foodbank, students have learned the value of raising healthy pigs and growing a quality pork product that benefits their local community.
Since its inception in 2008, Pork Power has generated over 625,000 pounds of pork - enough for nearly 2.4 million meals - for families throughout Illinois. Pork, soybean and corn farmers commit funds from their respective checkoff programs to support the campaign.
ICC began its affiliation with Midwest Food Bank and Kwikee in 2017, which led to the ICC Food Pantry being established soon after. The service to students was established under the belief that no one should ever have to choose between pursuing their education and purchasing food. The pantry is administered by the Student Services Department on the East Peoria Campus. In the month of September 2018 alone, there were 273 visits to the pantry.