Christmas came early for many central Iowans this morning as Iowa Select Farms and the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation gave away 5,000 pork loins to anyone in need.
The Iowa State Fairgrounds gates opened at 5 a.m. with a line of vehicles ready to receive one of the free, five-pound loins. The loin supply was exhausted around 9 a.m.
The event was free and open to anyone who came to the fairgrounds. Motorists were greeted by Iowa Select employees dressed as Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, snowmen and reindeer who handing out the fresh, boneless roasts to a steady line of participants, many of whom took the time to share their personal stories of hardship. Families also received a recipe booklet filled with easy, delicious and economical ways to prepare the pork.
“Pork loins are perfect for a memorable Christmas feast, and we wanted all Iowa families to be able to share a special meal this holiday season,” said Iowa Select Farms Communications Director Jen Sorenson.
Now in its seventh year, Operation Christmas Meal has provided more than 504,000 Christmas meals to Iowa families. Operation Christmas Meal has become a holiday tradition for the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation with more than 120 Iowa Select Farms employees volunteering to brave the cold and hand out the pork loins.
“We’re so excited to be a part of such a remarkable event,” said Morning Show host Van Harden. “Iowa Select Farms and the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation are doing a great thing by providing meals for families who might not be planning on much of a feast due to a tight budget.”
The Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation was established in 2006 as a way for Iowa Select Farms owners Jeff and Deb Hansen to give back to the local Iowa communities in which they operate. One of the three areas of the foundation’s focus is combatting hunger in Iowa, as one in eight Iowans are food insecure. Each of the five-pound roasts provides 24 servings of lean, nutrient-rich pork.
“We are proud to be a homegrown Iowa company working in the heart of Iowa communities. Operation Christmas Meal is just one way for us to give our fellow Iowans a helping hand,” said Iowa Select Farms Founder Jeff Hansen.
For the first time, Iowa Select Farms has decided to expand the program. Des Moines is just one of 13 stops for Operation Christmas Meal. The Operation Christmas Meal team also will visit Iowa Falls, Webster City, Clarion, Creston, Osceola, Humeston, Parkersburg, Riceville, Osage, Lake City, Sac City, and Pocahontas, where the team will be giving away 6,000 additional pork loins.