October is National Pork Month and Ohio pork farmers will be observing it by gearing up to share a portion of what they produce with their foodbanks around the state.
On Oct. 31, the OPPC and Farm Credit will join together to host a Facebook event, "Help Farmers Fight Hunger Virtually." For each person attending this virtual event, one meal of ground pork, up to 100,000 meals, will be donated to the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks. Then on Nov. 1, Ohio Pork Producers Council will be making a donation of 25,000 pounds of ground pork to the state's foodbanks. Farm Credit Services of Mid-America will be supporting their generosity with a $25,000 donation to assist their efforts.
"We really appreciate Farm Credit and our other industry partners who have supported our efforts," says Jennifer Keller, OPPC director of marketing and education. "With these funds, we'll be buying additional hogs from Ohio farmers, doing business with Ohio processors, and then donating the pork to the food banks—helping all levels of Ohio's economy."
The state's pork producers have been working closely with Ohio's foodbanks since September of 2009, when they learned of the critical need for quality protein to those in need. They formed Pork Power: Partnering to Fight Hunger in Ohio, a partnership between the Pork Producers, the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks, the Ohio Association of Meat Processors, and the Ohio Corn Marketing Council. The farmers donate the hogs, and the meat is processed by the processors group at a reduced rate before being donated to the foodbanks.
To date, 90,000 pounds of non-seasoned ground pork, which translates to 450,000 servings of high-quality protein, have been delivered. Farm Credit's gift will put that total over 115,000 pounds and 575,000 meals. The state's foodbanks have been most appreciative of the donations.
"We are thankful for our state's selfless network of pork farmers and their willingness to donate pork to those in need. Their desire to be part of the solution to Ohio's growing hunger epidemic could not be more timely," says Lisa Hamler-Fuguitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks. "When the lines have only grown longer throughout Ohio's food pantries, soup kitchens and homeless shelters, partnerships such as the one we have established with Ohio's pork farmers are crucial."
"It's a real joy for me to work with farmers who have such a heart for helping our neighbors," says Roger Smith, a Farm Credit financial services officer from the Utica office. "At Farm Credit, we're committed to agriculture and rural America, and we're glad to support the efforts of these farmers and also give something back to our communities."
To learn more about how you can "Help Farmers Fight Hunger Virtually," visit Ohio Hog Farmers on Facebook or Twitter.