METAMORA, ILL. - A local pig farmer recently gifted the Open Arms Food Pantry with over 200 pounds of ground pork. The food pantry is a program of the Metamora Mennonite Church. The donation of pork was generously provided by Zehr Farms in Washington, IL.
The cost of processing was offset by the 'Pork Power' program implemented by the Illinois Pork Producers Association (IPPA), made possible with contributions from the Illinois Corn Marketing Board and the Illinois Soybean Association Checkoff Program.
'Part of my faith is helping people in need. This donation magnifies what we can do,' said Curt Zehr of Zehr Farms.
Each day, Illinois food banks provide access to healthy and nutritious food to keep families across Illinois from going to bed hungry. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends meat protein as part of a nutritious and healthy diet but because of limited supply it is often difficult for food banks to provide adequate access to protein.
Millions of Americans are living with food insecurity. According to the USDA, food insecurity is the measure of lack of access, at times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members and limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate foods. Simply put, food insecurity is hunger. Hunger is universal. It affects people of all ages and races and exists in all communities, in Illinois and beyond.
In 2008, IPPA launched Pork Power with the goal of helping fight hunger in Illinois. It provides a system for farmers to donate pork to food banks associated with Feeding Illinois, a partner to Feeding America - the largest hunger relief organization in the U.S.
Since its inception, Pork Power has generated nearly 570,000 pounds of pork - enough for nearly 2.9 million meals - for families throughout Illinois. Pork, soybean and corn farmers commit funds from their respective checkoff programs to support this program. 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.
The Illinois Pork Producers Association (IPPA) represents more than 2,000 pork producers throughout Illinois and the Illinois pork industry, which contributes more than $1.8 billion and more than 10,500 jobs to the state's economy. IPPA is comprised of county pork producer groups in approximately 20 counties throughout Illinois. IPPA is an affiliate of the National Pork Producers Council and the National Pork Board.