After recent severe storms dumped more than 13 inches of rain in Nashville, Tenn., in two days, the Cumberland River has left massive destruction in its wake, from the Grand Ole Opry to local hospitals and schools. In response, the pork industry rolled up its sleeves and pitched in to help feed those affected by the flood.
"The Tennessee Pork Producers reached out to us and said, 'You know that trailer that we take to the Titans game to feed people during pork promotions? How about bringing it down and feeding thousands of people to provide some disaster relief help?" said Nicole Boettger, producer services director for the pork checkoff.
In 24 hours, National Pork Board staff traveled from Des Moines to Nashville, picked up pork donated by Tyson Foods and Bob Evans and coordinated with about 20 Tennessee pork producers to help serve the food to relief workers, public safety workers and those displaced by the disaster. PIC North America, headquartered in nearby Hendersonville, Tenn., also pitched in with several shifts of volunteers.
"People told us that whatever we need to do, let's make it happen," said Boettger, who notes that NPB is cooperating with the Red Cross on this project. "That's the cool thing about working with America's pork producers. It's more than just giving people a hot meal-it's part of knowing that we're part of the fabric that makes America a great country to live in."
Providing a safe, wholesome pork meal is an important way producers can contribute as local residents try to clean up and Nashville strives to get back on its feet, Boettger added.
"We always talk about how producers care for their animals, but this truly demonstrates that we also care deeply for people and our communities. This is a huge opportunity for producers to give back to others in need, and it demonstrates how we live out the ethical principles of the pork industry's We Care initiative every day."