Empty freezers in Iowa food pantries will soon be full as the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation and Iowa Select Farms announce the donation of approximately 44,000 pounds of fresh, boneless pork loins to help feed Iowa families in need.

The Hansen Foundation and Iowa Select was having the pork delivered to local community organizations, food shelves and pantries across the state between June 16 and June 30.

“We focus on helping Iowa families who need a helping hand,” said Jeff Hansen, president and CEO of Iowa Select Farms. “The pork loin donation helps bring families together for a good meal, which is especially important now that kids are on summer break and without school lunch programs to help them make it through the day.”

One in eight Iowans, nearly 390,000 individuals, face the risk of hunger every day, according to Cory Berkenes, executive director of the Iowa Food Bank Association, so the donation, valued at $126,800, comes at a time of great need. “There is no one face of hunger—it affects children, adults and seniors; knowing that many of these hard working families will be receiving this generous gift is simply wonderful,” Berkenes said.

Each community has its own unique needs, so the Foundation works with local pantries to determine how they can best meet those needs. In total, 820 cases of pork loins will be distributed during this round of donations, and with the great need for lean protein, pantries exhaust their supply very quickly. Whether the pork is used to meet immediate needs or stored in the freezer for future needs, the loins help ease the stress for families wondering where their meals will come from.

“You have no idea how much this donation helps,” said Carol Clayton, a representative of Hawkeye Harvest Food Bank in Mason City. “We oftentimes find our pantries are short of meat, dairy and fresh produce, food items that many families in need simply cannot afford.”

Each donated pork loin is being accompanied by a free 16-page booklet intended to provide families with information about how to properly store, handle and prepare the pork. The booklet also contains a collection of economical recipes for families to easily turn the pork loin into a full meal with leftovers.

The boneless pork loins are approximately 4.5 pounds each and feed 24 people a 3-ounce serving of pork. The 820 cases of pork loin roasts donated by the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation and Iowa Select Farms will provide approximately 234,700 servings to Iowa families.

Iowa Select Farms is Iowa’s largest pork producer. The Iowa Falls-based company has been producing high-quality pork for 20 years and is committed to meeting or exceeding all requirements in efforts to protect the environment and ensure proper care and well-being of swine.