The Illinois Pork Producers Association presented the Midwest Food Bank with a check for $7,500 as part of the Pork Power: Partnering to Fight Hunger in Illinois campaign. The donation was made in partnership with the Illinois Corn Marketing Board and the Illinois Soybean Association to support Gridley Meats continued processing of hogs donated by local pork producers.

IPPA initiated the Pork Power program in May 2008 and partnered with ICMB, ISA and the Illinois Association of Meat Processors with a goal to donate 100,000 pounds of pork to food banks throughout Illinois. The group recently announced that it met and exceeded that goal by donating 102,562 pounds of pork.

“Nutritionists tell us that a healthy, well-balanced diet including lean protein is important for managing weight, cholesterol levels and blood pressure,” said Phil Borgic, a pork producer from Nokomis and IPPA president. “It is important that Illinois families have access to the nutrients they need not just during the holiday season, but throughout the year as well. Illinois pork producers are dedicated to producing safe, wholesome and affordable food and are proud to work with the partnering organizations to support the Midwest Food Bank and Gridley Meats' pork donation program.”

Ringger brothers Stan, Steve, Scott and Brent were raised on a grain and farrow-to-finish hog farm that Stan and Brent still operate today. Steve and Scott stayed in the field of agriculture, but not on the farm. They work for JBS United, a grain and feed company. In 1999, the brothers purchased a meat processing plant and locker, Gridley Meats.

“A few years ago, we realized that by combining our efforts, we could fulfill a need within our community," Steve Ringger said. The farm began turning over pigs to the locker for processing, which in turn, donated the processed ground pork to local food pantries. Today, the Ringgers receive pig donations from approximately eight pork producers. The pork products are then donated to the Midwest Food Bank in Bloomington. “We deliver 3,000 to 4,000 pounds of donated pork to Midwest Food Bank each month, which is then distributed to needy families throughout Central Illinois ,” said Ringger.

The Midwest Food Bank was created just five years ago when the Kieser family began providing food out of a shed on their family farm. The Midwest Food Bank began by serving about 10 food pantries in McLean County. Today they serve over 500 organizations across the Midwest. The food given out each month now reaches over 100,000 people.

“The Ringgers and the other pork producers who donate pigs are helping to bridge the gap between prosperity and poverty,” said David Kieser, president o the Midwest Food Bank. "They have taken on the challenge of helping others, and they are doing so with a nutritious, high-quality product that is an important addition to our food bank. The donation by the pork, corn and soybean groups will help us to further our efforts during these difficult economic times.”

Source: Illinois Pork Producers Association