The Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation and Iowa Select Farms were back on the road in 13 different communities this December for the annual Operation Christmas Meal program.
The events kicked off at the Iowa State Fairgrounds and ended two weeks later at the firm's headquarters in Iowa Falls. Employees handed out 17,000 pork loins over those two weeks, totaling 85,000 pounds, or 340,000 portions, of nutritious protein to those who might not otherwise have the means for a holiday meal.
Over 250 Iowa Select Farms employees jumped in this year to help run the events. Many are featured in the videos shared in this edition of Homegrown.
"A pork loin could make the difference between a kid getting a present under the tree or having something in their belly. If you're going to have something in your belly, why not something that I've made, that I'm proud of that's not only wholesome, nutritious and affordable, but today it's free," said Josh Shields, Iowa Select Farms maintenance technician.
Operation Christmas Meal's Ignite the Spirit program also saw a record turnout, with 64 4-H clubs and FFA chapters participating. The program provided the young ag leaders with two cases of pork loins and $500 and challenged them to give back to their communities. The program brought forth many stories of meal kit projects and community suppers across the state.
Source: Iowa Select Farms