PEORIA, Ill. — The Illinois Pork Producers Association (IPPA), Illinois Corn Marketing Board (ICMB) and the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) recently gifted the Peoria Area Food Bank with 600 pounds of ground pork.
Millions of Americans are living with food insecurity. But what is food insecurity? Food insecurity refers to USDA’s 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. The face of hunger is universal. Hunger affects people of all ages and races and exists in all communities.
In efforts to combat hunger, The Peoria Area Food Bank provides 80 very active pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, senior housing, and low-income day-care centers with large quantities of food from name brand manufactures and USDA commodities daily. Fairview Helping Hearts Food Pantry was the organization that received the donation. “Having the bulk ground pork gave us a source of nutrition we don’t often get,” said Linda Smith, Co-Director of Fairview Helping Hearts Food Pantry.
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.
In 2008, IPPA launched the Pork Power donation program with the goal of helping fight hunger in Illinois. It provides a system for farmers to donate pork to food banks throughout the state. 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 producers committed 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.
“This was an exceptional gift,” said Smith. She also shared how touched the clients of the food pantry felt to be gifted with such high-quality meat. “They felt so special that they were chosen to receive this and that someone thought of them.” This donation was generously provided by local Cuba farmer, Jillian Reed.
— Illinois Pork Producers Association
For more news from Illinois, click here.