It’s time to celebrate community.
On Monday, April 5, the Denison community was the focus of a “Thank You” celebration from Iowa’s pig farmers for the support shown to those who work in bringing food from farm to table.
“Lifting spirits on challenging days and providing inspiration to help others clear the hurdles in front of them are ways you have touched the hearts of farmers,” said the president of the Iowa Pork Producers, Dennis Liljedahl of Essex. “The way you make people feel matters. And the Denison community showed up to support every segment of the food supply chain – farmers, plant workers, and those working in grocery stores and restaurants. Thank you.”
As part of their “Thank You” celebration, the Iowa pork producers donated $500 to the local Temporary Aid Program (TAP), which is a food pantry in Denison that works to alleviate hunger. The pork producers also provided pork coupons seven local grocery stores for consumers to use, and pork thank-you baskets to local first responders.
The day wrapped up with a giveaway of nearly 6,000 pounds of pork to Denison-area residents. That giveaway equals almost 24,000 meals or servings of pork. This took place in a drive-through event at the United Presbyterian Church in Denison. Families each received a four-to-five-pound pork loin, and a package of bacon. The pork was made available through donations from both Smithfield Foods and Quality Food Processors.
Brian Rank, the hog procurement business manager at Smithfield’s Denison plant, said the company owes a debt of gratitude to the farmers and food workers who kept working this past year to make sure there was food to put on the table for everyone. “Feeding the hungry is a cornerstone of Smithfield’s work,” he said, pointing out that the company provided $1.6 million in charitable donations in Iowa this past year, and providing pork donation to provide 220 million pork servings across the nation.
Eric Kohler, the general manager of Quality Food Processors, expressed his appreciation not only to pig farmers, but to the Denison and other surrounding communities for their support. “We just do bacon, and there was great demand for it this past year,” he said. The company processed 90 million pounds of bacon in 2020 and its goal is to produce 110 million pounds in 2021.
“Our business is reliant on those farmers and food workers who are working every day to help fight against hunger,” Kohler said.
The past 12 months have reminded us about the importance of community when times are challenging and uncertain. Uncertainty and challenges are still ahead. “It matters that we all work together in keeping people safe as our work continues to feed your families, neighbors, and others,” Liljedahl said.
IPPA will hold similar Thank You events in Ottumwa, Sioux City and Storm Lake. A Thank You event was also held in Waterloo on March 23 and in Marshalltown on March 31.