The IL Pork, Corn, and Soybean groups present the Midwest Foodbank with a monetary donation that will support the on-going efforts of Gridley Meats and help provide 13,000 pounds of donated pork. Pictured left to right are: Mike Haag, Past President of the IL Pork Producers Assoication; Mike Meece, Midwest Foodbank; Bill Christ, Immediate Past Chairman of the IL Corn Marketing Board; and Sayd Abbott, Gridley Meats. (Photo courtesy Illinois Pork Producers Association)
By Carrie Muehling
BLOOMINGTON– Illinois commodity groups donated more than 13,000 pounds of ground pork to the Midwest Food Bank in Bloomington on Thursday.
The gift comes as a part of the Pork Power: Partnering to Fight Hunger in Illinois campaign, an effort of the Illinois Pork Producers Association in partnership with the Illinois Corn Marketing Board and the Illinois Soybean Association.
The donation supports the on-going efforts of Gridley Meats, who processes the pigs, and several local hog farmers who donate pigs throughout the year. Since the launch of the Pork Power program in 2008, more than 316,000 pounds of pork have been donated to needy families throughout Central Illinois.With this donation, the Pork Power program surpasses more than 1.25 million servings of pork provided to families throughout Illinois.
“They’re always very anxious to get their hands on protein sources. That’s what they seem to have the most trouble procuring, and pork is just a great protein for them. It’s very versatile for people to use in many different ways, as well as being rich in vitamins and minerals, and very nutritious,” said Mike Haag, a pork producer from Emington and immediate past president of the Illinois Pork Producers Association.
The Pork Power program is also an opportunity to promote pork as families are educated on how to prepare and incorporate pork into their favorite dishes. Families receive information on the important nutritional, mental and physical benefits of including protein in the diet.
This donation will provide more than 52,000 servings of protein to people served by the Midwest Food Bank, and the need right now is greater than ever.
“One in six Americans are facing food insecurity, and that is a number that is just astonishing in a country like what we live in, so obviously it’s more important than ever, certainly this year, to reach out and help others,” said Bill Christ, a corn farmer from Metamora and immediate past chairman of the Illinois Corn Marketing Board, which has committed about $140,000 to this effort over the last 10 years.
The Midwest Food Bank was created in 2003 when the Kieser family began providing food out of a shed on their family farm. They began by serving about 10 food pantries in McLean County and today they serve over 500 organizations across the Midwest. More than 100,000 people benefit from the Midwest Food Bank each month.
Carrie Muehling can be reached at email@example.com.