Pork donations stock Wisconsin food pantries thanks to the National Pork Board’s new Hams Across America charitable giving campaign.
Pig farmers have a long tradition of giving hams and other pork products to friends and community members during the holidays. So, in 2016, when the Wisconsin Pork Association heard about the National Pork Board’s new Hams Across America charitable giving campaign, it had no problem enlisting participants.
With the help of farmers, processors, veterinarians, and other association members, WPA—a state affiliate of the Pork Board—organized the donation of more than 1,600 pounds of pork loin roast for food pantries right before the holidays. This past December, WPA’s second effort brought in 2,500 pounds.
WPA supporter Natural Food Holdings, Inc., donated the cost of freight and delivered the meat to Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin in Madison, the region’s largest hunger-relief charity. Second Harvest then distributed 1,600 pounds in hard-to-reach areas through its mobile food pantry program, while the rest went to food pantries across the state. WPA board members volunteered to personally deliver products to pantries in their local communities.
WPA Executive Vice President Tammy Vaassen says the pork donations were particularly welcome because “protein is one of the things that food banks rarely have donated.” WPA members, says Vaassen, were delighted to be able to give “high-quality pork to families in need, especially during the holidays when family budgets are strapped.” More than 1,000 families were able to put ham on the table because of the initiative.
To celebrate the project and promote it for next year, donors were encouraged to post photos on WPA’s Facebook page with the hashtag #HamsAcross America.