Empty freezers in Iowa food pantries will soon be full as the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation and Iowa Select Farms is donating approximately 48,000 pounds of fresh, boneless pork loins to help feed Iowa families in need. 

The pork is being delivered this week to local community organizations, food shelves and pantries across Iowa.

“We focus on helping Iowa families who need a helping hand,” said Jeff Hansen, president/CEO of Iowa Select Farms, the state’s largest pork producer. “The pork loin donation helps bring families together for a good meal, which is especially important with the rising prices at the meat case.”

One in eight Iowans, or more than 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 $125,760, comes at a time when there is a great need. “These are often hard-working adults, children and seniors who simply cannot make ends meet and are forced to go without food for several meals, or even days,” says Berkenes.

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, 800 cases of pork loins will be handed out during this round of donations, and with the great need for fresh pork, pantries exhaust their supply very quickly. Whether the pork is used to meet immediate needs or saved for holiday food baskets, 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 Diana Bass, a representative of the food pantry at United Methodist Church in New Hartford. “Protein is such an important part of our diets and unfortunately, high meat prices make it hard for many people to access these nutrient-rich foods.”

The boneless pork loins are approximately 4.5 pounds and each can feed 24 people a 3-ounce serving of pork. The 800 cases of pork loin roasts donated by the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation and Iowa Select Farms will provide approximately 230,400 servings to Iowa families.

The Hansen’s, who founded Iowa Select Farms and New Modern Concepts in Iowa Falls, established the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation in 2006 to work with philanthropic organizations to relieve hunger, support military families and strengthen efforts to find a cure for childhood cancer while improving the quality of life for cancer patients.

Iowa Select Farms, based in Iowa Falls, has been raising 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. With nearly 550 swine farms across the state, Iowa Select is one of the leading economic engines to Iowa’s rural communities through employing more than 1,000 people, contracting with more than 345 farm families and supporting hundreds of local businesses throughout the state.