It’s time to celebrate community.
On Wednesday, April 21, the Storm Lake 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. Local pig farmers Mike and Michelle Ehlers told Storm Lake residents why they were thankful to be part of the community.
“This community provided support and encouragement at a time that was incredibly stressful to every link in the food supply chain. Our community members stepped up and encouraged each other while inspiring others to creatively clear hurdles all around,” said Michelle Ehlers of Marathon. “What is critical is how you have made us feel. We know we can continue to work together to keep our communities, neighborhoods and families fed in a safe, responsible way.”
At the kick-off event, Storm Lake Mayor Mike Porsch said he was proud of the community, and how every part of the food supply chain kept things going this past year. That includes the food pantry groups in the community that worked together. The Storm Lake community “came together in challenging times and put neighbors ahead of themselves to see that everyone is cared for,” Porsch said.
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig said “Storm Lake is a real model of Iowans working together to take care of Iowans.”
The work of Tyson employees, farmers, grocery stores and restaurants in Storm Lake “showed creativity, resiliency and generosity come together to work things out,” he said. Naig also noted that “Programs like Pass the Pork – which gets ground pork to food banks and pantries – put protein on the plate of hungry Iowans. Along with giving programs from beef and turkey farmers, such efforts have provided 1.75 million servings of meat to Iowans,” he said.
As part of their “Thank You” celebration, the Iowa pork producers donated $500 in pork value to Storm Lake food pantries, which provides food assistance in Buena Vista County. The pork producers also provided pork coupons and educational materials to local grocery stores for distribution to consumers, and pork thank-you baskets to local first responders.
The day wrapped up with a pork giveaway at St. Mark Lutheran Church’s parking lot. Nearly 5000 pounds of pork were distributed to area residents. “That’s 2-and-a-half tons of protein delivered to the Storm Lake community in one afternoon,” Mayor Porsch said. That equals almost 20,000 meals or servings of pork.
The past 12 months have reminded us about the importance of community when times are challenging and uncertain. Uncertainty and challenges are still ahead. “Keeping our communities safe while providing healthy and nutritious foods is a critical matter,” Mike Ehlers said.