The Illinois Pork Producers Association is continuing its program — Pork Power: Partnering to Fight Hunger in Illinois — in partnership with the Illinois Corn Marketing Board, the Illinois Association of Meat Processors and the Illinois Foodbank Association. The objective is to provide access to a vital meat protein — pork — to Illinois residents in need.

In 2008, Pork Power partners provided more than 100,000 pounds of donated pork to the eight regional food banks associated with the Illinois Food Bank Association. IFBA is an affiliate of Feeding America, the Nation’s largest charitable hunger-relief organization.

"Current economic conditions have more people seeking food assistance,” says Kristy Gilmore of the Central Illinois Foodbank. “This program has been a true blessing...and we are very appreciative of the continued efforts of the Pork Power partners.” 

The Central Illinois Foodbank will again coordinate delivery and distribution of the donated pork among the eight regional food banks associated with Feeding Illinois that provide food assistance to 900,000 residents across the state.

“Pork producers are committed to helping their neighbors throughout the state who are having difficulty feeding their families, even at a time when many pork producers have been struggling as well,” says Phil Borgic, a pork producer and current IPPA president. “We were pleased with the response that we had from pork producers last year and we have made some enhancements to the program, which should help further increase the number of donated hogs this year.”

IPPA has been working with various marketing groups and collection points in Illinois to build efficient hog donation processes. Producers can designate hogs for the Pork Power program simply by contacting the facility before delivering the hogs, which allows the marketing locations to coordinate delivery with participating processors.

The current 2009 Pork Power Marketing Locations are as follows:

  • Wiechman Pig Co. — Beardstown & Monmouth facilities
  • UPI/Parks Livestock — Cambridge, Beardstown, & Pittsfield facilities
  • Heinold — Atkinson facility
  • Lynch Livestock — Griggsville & Charleston facilities

As of April 2, participating meat processors will accept donated hogs to process into two-pound packages of ground pork for distribution at the regional food banks. In all, 23 participating meat processors will reduce their processing fees through July 31 for those pork producers donating eligible hogs.  “This is a great opportunity for IAMP members to help their customers and their neighbors at the same time," says Dianne Handsaker, IAMP executive vice president Pork and corn producers have committed funds from their respective checkoff programs to reimburse participating meat processors. 
 
“This type of project is a winning situation for everyone involved, not just the Corn Marketing Board or pork producers, but most importantly, our neighbors throughout the state will receive protein which is vital to everyone's nutritional needs,” says Kent Kleinschmidt, a corn producer from Emden, Ill.

Through Pork Power, families will be educated on how to prepare and incorporate pork into their favorite dishes. They will also receive information on the important nutritional, mental and physical benefits of including protein in the diet.

Source: IPPA