Free pork loins bring holiday cheer to Iowans

Free pork loins bring holiday cheer to Iowans

Posted Dec. 19, 2013

Iowa Select Farms handed out free pork loins yesterday during a special remote broadcast of WHO Radio’s “Van and Bonnie” program at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

Santa Claus joined Iowa Select Farms employees wearing festive Santa hats in handing out nearly 3,500 pork loins to a long line of motorists who crowded the west end of the Grand Concourse. With a combined weight of 7.8 tons and a value of $36,697, the pork loins will provide approximately 84,000 servings.

Although the giveaway ran from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m., the first car arrived at 1:26 a.m. to be at the head of the line. Another five vehicles lined up over the next 10 minutes.

In addition to the giveaway at the fairgrounds, Iowa Select Farms and the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation has delivered 7,200 fresh pork loins to nearly 60 community organizations, food shelves, pantries and food banks across rural Iowa in recent weeks. These pork loins, with a combined weight of 16.2 tons and a combined value of $75,492, will provide 172,800 servings to Iowa families in need during the holiday season. Total donations amounted to 24 tons and 256,800 servings of nutrient-rich pork.

“People who are in need have needs year-round, but the Christmas season brings extra stress,” says Carey Miller, executive director of the Food Bank of Iowa. “What Iowa Select Farms and the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation do with this event, and throughout the year, help us meet the needs of Iowa families year-round.”

Gratitude abounded at the fairgrounds, where many recipients wished Santa and his helpers a Merry Christmas. One couple presented a Christmas card addressed to Iowa Select Farms after receiving their pork loin. The handwritten message inside the card said: “God bless you. Thank you for your generosity and caring. Merry Christmas!”

More than 400,000 Iowans struggle to access sufficient, high-quality food, according to an analysis by Feeding America. This means one in eight Iowans lack adequate food and one in five Iowa children regularly go hungry.

“Hunger is a serious problem in Iowa, where our Iowa-based company and employees are dedicated to providing quality, wholesome pork,” says Iowa Select Farms President and CEO Jeff Hansen. “There’s no better time than the holiday season for us to share our nutrient-rich pork with hungry Iowans who could use a helping hand.”

Iowa Select Farms, based in Iowa Falls, is Iowa’s largest pork producer with nearly 1,000 employees and 300 producers in Iowa. The owners of Iowa Select established the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation in 2006. Providing hunger relief for Iowans is one of the core missions of the foundation, which to date has donated more than 1.5 million servings of pork to food banks, pantries and shelves across Iowa.