The Illinois Pork Producers Association and its effort, “Pork Power: Partnering to Fight Hunger in Illinois,” has donated 102,562 pound of pork to eight Illinois food banks—exceeding the initial program goal of 100,000 pounds.

The state's Agriculture Director Tom Jennings noted how important this program is during today’s economic conditions. “Whether it’s a neighbor who’s hurt and can’t tend to his fields or someone who’s down on his luck and can’t feed his family, Illinois farmers always have been willing to lend a helping hand. I’m proud of everyone involved in this initiative. As we all know, these are difficult times. More people will likely turn to food banks for assistance and generous donations like this will be needed to meet their needs,” he said.

Pork Power was launched on May 19, as a partnership with the Illinois Corn Marketing Board , the Illinois Soybean Association, the Illinois Association of Meat Processors and CIFB to provide much needed protein to Illinois residents using food-assistance programs. Pork producers across the state donated hogs for the initiative, and funding from partners covered the reduced meat processing fees.

“Nutritionists tell us that a healthy, well-balanced diet that includes lean protein is important fto manage weight, cholesterol levels and blood pressure,” said Phil Borgic, a pork producer from Nokomis and current 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 sponsoring organizations to make Pork Power a valuable program for the food banks and our neighbors in need throughout the state.”

Jim Macky, Director of Kiwanis of Winchester Food Pantry, which received some of the donated pork, agreed that access to protein is vital for those they serve. "The pork was significant to us because along with USDA product, the extra pork allowed us to give a protein product to every person we serve. Typically, only half of the families are able to receive protein. The families reported back and the pork was a great success," he said.

CIFB has coordinated delivery and distribution of the donated pork among eight Illinois food banks associated with America’s Second Harvest — the Nation’s largest charitable hunger-relief organization. Second Harvest food banks provide emergency food assistance to 900,000 residents across Illinois.

“Pork producers are committed to the communities in which they live,” said Borgic. “We are proud they embraced Pork Power as an opportunity to help their neighbors in need.”

Source: Illinois Pork Producers Association