Drive to Feed Kids Pork Partnership delivers over 44,000 pounds of pork to food-insecure Missourians
JEFFERSON CITY – Missouri agriculture’s efforts to help reduce childhood hunger have now reached every county in the state. Since May 2020, the Drive to Feed Kids Pork Partnership has delivered 44,410 pounds of ground pork to Feeding Missouri, the association of Missouri’s six regional food banks. This collaboration between Missouri Farmers Care and Missouri Pork Association has provided Missourians with more than 203,000 servings of much-needed, high-quality protein.
“During this challenging time, Missouri’s farmers continue to go above and beyond to help feed Missourians in need,” said Scott Baker, state director of Feeding Missouri. “Our farmers are facing their own set of challenges, but that hasn’t stopped them in their ongoing commitment to help our neighbors who are struggling right now. Protein continues to be one of our greatest needs. These donations have helped families across the state, and we are very grateful.”
As part of Missouri Farmers Care, the Drive to Feed Kids program works to reduce food insecurity across Missouri in partnership with Feeding Missouri and its network of food banks. As Coronavirus-related slowdowns among major pork processors strained the processing chain in May and June, the Drive to Feed Kids Pork Partnership has helped bridge the gap between Missourians in need and pork producers who faced a reduction in processing availability.
“Those involved in Missouri agriculture are very proud to not only bring attention to food insecurity in the state but also help by donating both money and meat to those in need,” said Dan Cassidy, secretary of Missouri Farmers Care and chair of the Drive to Feed Kids. “The Pork Partnership is a model program in which hog farmers have donated animals and others have contributed funds for processing. Every regional food bank has received meat under the program and thousands of Missourians now have access to high-quality pork.”
Missouri pig farmers have made generous donations to this effort, including Kessler Farms, Purina Animal Nutrition, wholly owned by Land O’Lakes, Inc., Epperson Family Farms, Ham Hill Farms Inc., Newport Farms, LLC, Eichelberger Farms, Inc., JBS, and Harrison Creek Farms. These pork producers have donated a total of 382 pigs to the Partnership, which were processed by Central Missouri Meat and Sausage of Fulton.
According to Feeding America, more than 800,000 Missourians faced food insecurity in Missouri before COVID-19. With increased unemployment and the challenges of this year, Feeding America projects that number has increased by 39% to 1.1 million Missourians, including 335,260 children.
More than $100,000 has already been raised for the effort. Missouri’s agricultural organizations and businesses, including Brownfield Ag News, Missouri Farm Bureau Federation, Missouri Farm Bureau Insurance, American Family Insurance, Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council, Missouri Soybean Association, FCS Financial, MFA Incorporated, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Forrest and Charlotte Lucas, founders of Protect the Harvest, Missouri Corn Merchandising Council, Paseo Biofuels, LLC, Biofuels, LLC and many individuals have donated to cover processing and transportation costs in this partnership.
The program has scheduled processing dates for the fall and will continue to accept donations of hogs as processing space and funds are available. Pig farmers and meat processors can take part by contacting the Missouri Pork Association. Individuals and companies can donate funds to support the effort at MOFarmersCare.com/drive. Contributions will be recognized as part of the 2020 Drive to Feed Kids.
Through Missouri Farmers Care, a coalition of more than 40 Missouri agricultural groups, the Drive to Feed Kids donated 4.3 million meals to hungry Missouri families in 2019. Feeding Missouri’s six regional partner food banks distributed the food statewide. To learn more about Missouri Farmers Care and the 2020 Drive to Feed Kids, visit MOFarmersCare.com/drive.