Iowa Groups Come Together for ‘Lend a Ham’ Event

Iowa Groups Come Together for ‘Lend a Ham’ Event

Kevin Rasmussen, president of the Iowa Pork Producers Association, helps deliver hearty pork breakfast meals to clients at Central Iowa Shelter & Services in Des Moines.

For the sixth year, Iowa pork producers and Fareway joined together to prepare and deliver hearty breakfast meals to adults experiencing homelessness in the Des Moines area. The effort, called Lend a Ham, takes place on Giving Tuesday each year, and serves clients of Central Iowa Shelter & Services (CISS) in Des Moines.

As Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig described it: “It’s a partnership of farmers and a great Iowa company that is providing meals to more than 300 Iowans, and that’s amazing.”

“Giving to our communities is one of our passions,” said Iowa pig farmer Kevin Rasmussen of Goldfield. Rasmussen is president of the Iowa Pork Producers Association.

“The shelter is doing amazing things for its clients by working with the community to engage so many to volunteer and help out,” said Jeff Cook, vice president of market operations at Fareway. “At Fareway, we’re proud to be a part of the initiative and annual tradition on Giving Tuesday.”

Melissa O’Neil, CEO of CISS, said CISS relies on collaborations such as this to bring new volunteers to its efforts. For many that attend the event to help, this is the first time they’ve been involved in a CISS activity, and it shows them ways they can make a difference for Iowans in need. “As the months get colder, we need more volunteers, especially in January and February,” she said.

Not new as volunteers in helping to serve the meals were Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and Secretary of Agriculture Naig. Both have attended past Lend a Ham events, helping to serve CISS clients.

The food donations for the event come through Fareway and many of their suppliers. Even though you may have prepared hearty meals for family and friends through the holidays, those donations included 100 lbs. of bacon, 50 lbs. of sausage patties, 120 lbs. of eggs, 48 packages of hashbrowns, 85 loaves of cinnamon raisin bread, 240 lbs. of oranges, 200 lbs. of apples, 12 cans of coffee, more than 750 packets of hot cocoa, 500 individual servings of orange juice, 500 individual servings of milk, and more than 500 bottled waters.


About the Iowa Pork Producers Association: The mission of the Iowa Pork Producers Association is promoting, educating and providing a leading voice for a sustainable, socially responsible, and globally competitive pork industry. See for more information.

About Fareway
Fareway Stores, Inc. is a growing Midwest grocery company currently operating 133 stores in a seven-state region. Fareway’s mission is to provide the highest quality products, while treating customers like family, and valuing dedicated employees. Its stores are known for their unmatched, full-service meat departments, farm-fresh produce, and exceptional to-your-car customer service. Fareway is a family-owned business, recognized as a top 10 employer in Iowa, and has more than 12,000 total employees. Visit for more information or shop online by visiting

Lead with Love is part of Fareway’s mission aimed at supporting local communities through charitable giving efforts and other initiatives by direct involvement and donated resources. Lead with Love is a valued philosophy held by Fareway and inspired by its outstanding employees. Visit for more information.

About Central Iowa Shelter & Services (CISS)
Central Iowa Shelter & Services is the largest low-barrier shelter in Iowa. Its mission is to provide shelter, meals and support services to adults experiencing homelessness and to facilitate their move toward self-sufficiency. Learn more at