The Missouri Pork Association, Smithfield Foods Inc., Prairie Fresh Pork and Missouri pig farmers teamed up to provide over 70,000 pounds of pork and $5,000 to Feeding Missouri on Wednesday. The donation is part of the annual Hams Across America program, which highlights the industry's We Care ethical principles to contribute to a better way of life in local communities through pork product donations.
"We know that many of our neighbors are in need of extra help this holiday season, with one in seven people in Missouri struggling with hunger," says Chris Chinn, director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture, who is also a pig farmer. "Being good neighbors and helping those in need is important to everyone in our industry. This donation, in partnership with Smithfield Foods and Prairie Fresh Pork, allows us to live the We Care ethical principles and share our love of the product that we produce."
The 280,000 servings of pork were distributed state-wide to the six Missouri Food Banks that are a part of Feeding Missouri. Feeding Missouri is a coalition of food banks that provides hunger relief programs in every county (and St. Louis City) in the state. Feeding Missouri will use the funds provided by the Missouri Pork Association to purchase additional pork products for their clients.
"Smithfield Foods is honored to partner with the Missouri Pork Association and Missouri pig farmers to help provide protein to those in need," says Smithfield Foods associate manager of Charitable Initiatives Jonathan Toms. "Donating food is an integral part of what we do at Smithfield and the Hams Across America initiative provides the opportunity for likeminded organizations to come together and work towards fighting hunger here in Missouri."
Pig farmers and those involved in the pork industry are encouraged to showcase the We Care ethical principle of contributing to a better way of life in their communities through Dec. 23 with Hams Across America.
"Offering a meal to our neighbors in need is a long-time tradition for pig farmers across America, and our Prairie Fresh producers at Seaboard Foods and Triumph Foods are honored to continue that tradition with this Hams Across American pork donation," says Beth Gerstenberger, communications supervisor for Seaboard Foods and Prairie Fresh. "We're hopeful that the products donated today will bring comfort and make the holiday season brighter for those facing food insecurity."
Individuals can participate by purchasing a gift of ham and paying it forward to loved ones and those in need. Participants are encouraged to share their pay-it-forward stories on social media using #GiveAHam and #HamsAcrossAmerica.