Pork donation provides more than 200,000 meals for Canadian families in need

More than 200,000 servings of fresh ground pork will help feed families in the Canadian province of Ontario this year thanks to a grassroots fundraising initiative supported by hog farmers and their industry partners.
calendar icon 15 July 2020
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Even as farmers themselves struggled with on-farm challenges and supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic, organisers of the gratitude project saw three ways they could help make things better for others:

  • Increasing support for the Feed Ontario, through the Ontario Pork Friends of the Foodbank Programme
  • Providing additional funds for community-based food giving by local pork associations
  • Hosting Farmer-to-Frontline Worker Appreciation Box Lunches for employees at Ontario’s two largest processing plants

With support from county-level pork associations, farming families, Ontario Pork and businesses connected to agriculture, the group exceeded its initial fundraising goal of $100,000 by more than a third. Gold level sponsors include South West Ontario Veterinary Services and Purina (Cargill). Silver level sponsors include Farmer's Farmacy/ Grand Valley Fortifiers, Synergy Swine Inc., Schlegel Home Farms and Floradale Feed Mill.

“We’re incredibly grateful to see how the industry came together to have a positive impact during some challenging times that affected all of us,” said John Nyenhuis, a Perth County farmer and one of the organisers of the Pork Industry Gratitude Project. “No matter what challenges they were facing on other fronts, these farmers, farm groups and businesses stepped up to help others. That’s the spirit that makes me proud to be a pork producer.”

Ontario’s pork sector has a long history of involvement with Feed Ontario, but this is the largest single-year donation since the programme began. Since 2013, Ontario Pork’s Friends of the Food Bank program has donated 107,096 pounds (239,605 kg) of fresh ground pork to Feed Ontario. That’s the equivalent of 726,062 adult servings, or 1,452,143 child-sized servings.

“The COVID-19 pandemic brought job losses and economic uncertainty across the province, resulting in food banks seeing a surge in demand as communities worked to adjust to a rapidly changing world,” said Carolyn Stewart-Stockwell, executive director of Feed Ontario. “Having a reliable supply of healthy, fresh protein makes a huge difference in the lives of individuals and families facing food insecurity. We’re very appreciative of the efforts of the pork industry to make that happen — particularly when our province needed this support the most.”

Pork donations will take place over several months, based on food bank and processing capacity. The first donation took place in early July, with 3,700 pounds of fresh ground pork delivered to Feed Ontario through the Ontario Pork Friends of the Food Bank programme.

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