Empty freezers in Iowa food pantries were filled last month when the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation and Iowa Select Farms donated approximately 48,000 pounds of fresh, boneless pork loins to help feed Iowa families in need. The pork was distributed by employees of Iowa Select Farms to over 70 rural community organizations last month. “We focus on helping Iowa families who need a helping hand,” says Jeff Hansen, President and CEO of Iowa Select Farms. “The pork loin donation helps bring families together for a good meal, something they can’t always afford to do.” One in eight Iowans, or more than 390,000 individuals, face the risk of hunger every day, according to Cory Berkenes, Executive Director of the Iowa Food Bank Association, so the donation, valued at $125,760, comes at a time when there is a great need. “These are often hard-working adults, children and seniors who simply cannot make ends meet and are forced to go without food for several meals, or even days,” says Berkenes. Each community has their own unique needs, so the Foundation works with local pantries to determine how they can best meet those needs. In total, 800 cases of pork loins were handed out during this round of donations, and with the great need for fresh pork, pantries exhaust their supply very quickly. Whether the pork is used to meet immediate needs or saved for holiday food baskets, the loins help ease the stress for families wondering where their meals will come from.
“You have no idea how much this donation helps,” said Diana Bass, a representative of the food pantry at United Methodist Church in New Hartford, Iowa. “Protein is such an important part of our diets and unfortunately, high meat prices make it hard for many people to access these nutrient-rich foods.”
The boneless pork loins are approximately 4.5 pounds and each can feed 24 people a 3-ounce serving of pork. The 800 cases of pork loin roasts donated by the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation and Iowa Select Farms will provide approximately 230,400 servings to Iowa families.