WABASH, Ind. — The Wabash County Farm Bureau and area hog farmers recently donated more than 1,800 pounds of ground pork to local food banks and community pantries.
In late October, local hog farmers donated the hogs, which were turned into ground pork, to the Farmers Who Care campaign, a Wabash County Farm Bureau program dedicated to helping farmers serve the community.
The program began in 2016 when Scott Dawes, a hog farmer and board member for Wabash County Farm Bureau Inc., came up with the idea for local pork producers in Wabash County to donate pigs, which would then be harvested to create 1 lb. packages of ground pork. These packages would then be donated to local Wabash County food banks.
“Our community is an ag-based community,” said Dawes. “This is a great opportunity for the farmers in our county to give back. While we are involved in the production of food, it is unfortunate that there are those in our county who are food deprived. This is a way for us to share with our neighbors and help those in need.”
This is the 5th donation campaign the group has organized. The program has provided over 32,000 4-oz. servings of protein to the local food banks and community pantries.
“We serve 153 families a month at our food pantry,” said Deb Morris, Director of the Fellowship of Churches Food Pantry in North Manchester, Ind. “These donations are so important because it fills a gap. The families we serve are buying the bare essentials at the grocery store with their food stamps. The ground pork donation will go to help those who need the protein for their growing families. We are extremely grateful to Wabash County hog farmers for this donation.”
Morris added that the fall is typically a slower month for donations to food banks, so the ground pork provided is in demand for families in need.
Manchester FFA students attached a recipe card featuring ground pork recipes to each package of frozen pork. Elizabeth Brown, a sophomore at Manchester High School and member of the FFA chapter, says by participating in community service projects, more people may begin understand agriculture.
“Many people don’t understand agriculture or what farmers do,” said Brown. “By serving in this project to help feed community members in need, we can show people we really care about their needs and show them the farming community cares for them.”
Mark York, Wabash County hog farmer and President of Wabash County Farm Bureau, adds that since the need is so great, the local community felt called to help.
“The need was to help food banks in Wabash County on their food needs in the slow donation times,” said York. “We are so happy to partner with our local FFA chapters and help them learn a valuable lesson on “Community.”
Several local organizations have teamed up with the WCFB’s campaign to donate pork to local families, including the Wabash County Pork Producers, TDM Farms, REMC-Operation Round-Up, Wabash Community Foundation, Wabash Farm Bureau, Inc., Indiana Pork, Manchester High School, area farmers and Purdue Extension.
The WCFB and youth volunteers delivered the donations to food banks and community pantries that included Lagro Community Church, Fellowship Food Pantry of North Manchester, Zion Lutheran Church Community Meal and the Roann Food Pantry.
— Indiana Pork