July 15, 2020
Canada hog farmers' donation provides over 200,000 ground pork meals to needy families
A grassroots fundraising initiative by Canadian hog farmers and their industry partners in Ontario has contributed C$85,000 to a food-bank programme amid the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.
The initiative, called the Pork Industry Gratitude Project, said the money will enable the Friends of the Foodbank programme to prepare more than 200,000 servings of fresh ground pork to help feed Ontario families in need this year.
The Pork Industry Gratitude Project announced on Tuesday, July 14, that the C$85,000 had been raised since April to support the programme, which provides fresh ground pork to the Feed Ontario network of food banks. The fundraising initiative was launched by hog farmers in Perth County in the early days of the COVID-19 crisis, when they were looking to make a positive impact.
An additional $15,000 will be made available to county pork associations, which will allow them to increase community-based food donations.
"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 organizers 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."
Demand for food banks surges
Carolyn Stewart-Stockwell, executive director of Feed Ontario, noted that the COVID-19 pandemic brought job losses and economic uncertainty across the province, resulting in food banks seeing a surge in demand.
"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", she said.
The Project received support from county-level pork associations, farming families, Ontario Pork organisation and agriculture-related businesses, and exceeded its initial fundraising goal of $100,000 by more than a third.
Gold-level sponsors included South West Ontario Veterinary Services and Purina (Cargill), while Farmer's Farmacy, Grand Valley Fortifiers, Synergy Swine Inc., Schlegel Home Farms and Floradale Feed Mill were silver-level sponsors.
Since 2013, Ontario Pork's Friends of the Food Bank programme has donated 239,605 kilogrammes of fresh ground pork to Feed Ontario, which is equivalent to 726,062 adult servings, or 1,452,143 child-sized servings.