Last week, the Illinois Pork Producers Association, Illinois Corn Marketing Board and the Illinois Soybean Association presented the St. Louis Area Foodbank with 4,300 pounds of ground pork as part of the Pork Power: Partnering to Fight Hunger in Illinois campaign.
This pork is part of a larger donation totaling more than 34,000 pounds of ground pork that the pork, corn and soybean groups have made to the eight regional foodbanks associated with Feeding Illinois, which provides food to nearly 2,000 food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters that feed nearly 900,000 residents throughout the state of Illinois. The donations are being made during September Hunger Action Month.
In 2008, IPPA launched Pork Power with the goal of helping fight hunger in Illinois. It provides a system for farmers to donate pork to food banks associated with Feeding Illinois, a partner to Feeding America - the largest hunger relief organization in the U.S.
IPPA has partnered with ICMB, ISA and the Illinois Association of Meat Processors (IAMP) in this effort. During the four years, Pork Power has generated more than 242,000 pounds of pork - enough for more than 970,000 meals - for families throughout Illinois. Pork, soybean and corn producers committed funds from their respective checkoff programs to support this program.
The Pork Power program is also an opportunity to promote pork as families are educated on how to prepare and incorporate pork into their favorite dishes. Families receive information on the important nutritional, mental and physical benefits of including protein in the diet.
"Pork producers are committed to helping their neighbors throughout the state who are having difficulty feeding their families," says Angie Pollmann, a pork producer from Carlyle, Ill., and current District 10 IPPA board member.
St. Louis Area Foodbank distributes more than 23 million pounds of food annually to more than 500 food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and other feeding programs in a 26-county region serving both Illinois and Missouri.
"Food banks have seen on average a 30% increase in the number of people seeking food assistance in the past year," says Tracy Smith, State Director for Feeding Illinois (www.feedingillinois.org). "Because of partners like the IL Pork Producers Association, IL Soybean Association, and IL Corn Marketing Board we will be able to put food on the table for thousands of families."