Local families donate 750 pounds of fresh pork to area food pantries

May 20, 2020 10:02:00 AM/ by Rebecca Prescott

 

Where there is a problem, there is usually a solution. Sometimes, there’s a silver lining.

This story has all three.

Across the Midwest, meat packing plants are closing to mitigate and manage COVID-19 outbreaks among their workforce. Farmers are left with nowhere to send their hogs for processing, and face hard decisions on how to manage their inventories. At the same time, food pantries are facing shortages due to the severe economic impact of the virus.

To combat that need, three local families teamed up to purchase 750 pounds of pork from Keith Henry Berkshire Hogs to donate to food pantries across Warren County.

Locally, producers like Keith and Marie Henry, who operate Keith Henry Family Berkshire Hogs, typically send their fat hogs to the processing plant once they achieve market weight.

“The hogs are outgrowing barns and occupying space needed by younger pigs,” Keith Henry said. “When your usual buyer is off the market, you start looking for alternatives.”

The smaller, locally-owned processors are flooded with customers who need processing, as people turn locally to get their food in the face of shortages at traditional grocery stores. Farmers with inventory have to turn away buyers because there’s nowhere to process the animals.

There’s supply. There’s demand. But there’s no way to get the product to the family table.

On the other side of this supply chain is the local food pantries, who are facing incredible demand from individuals and families.

“Food insecurity has always been a problem, but the pandemic has amplified the situation” said Sue Wilson, executive director of the Helping Hand Food Pantry in Indianola.

In addition, they are serving clients four days a week, and by appointment, and have delivered over 3,500 pounds of food to lower income people living in senior complexes, low income housing, and apartments.

The Milo Locker, owned by Angie and Darrel Goering, will handle the processing for the hogs purchased by John and Rhonda Marshall, Bob and Ardene Downing, and Kevin and Cheryl Halterman. The Goerings have contributed greatly to communities over the last 20 years, purchasing and processing product from multiple 4-H County Fairs and they were eager to help out again.

“Taking care of our own is the right thing to do, and it helps reduce stress for families during this trying time,” said John Marshall.

Helping Hand’s Sue Wilson said the timing couldn’t be better.

“Families are struggling and the need for food and particularly protein has never been greater,” she said.

For Kevin Halterman, president of Peoples Bank in Indianola, this was the perfect storm.

“It brought us together for a great cause that is helping a lot of our neighbors and bringing some stability to our communities. A problem solved by a community effort.”

Sidebar info

Indianola’s Helping Hand food pantry has seen an unbelieve increase in demand, according to Executive Director Sue Wilson.

The numbers of families served has increased drastically:

 

2019

2020

March

68

220

April

75

170

 

 

Peoples Bank is a locally-owned and independent community bank. Founded in 1998, Peoples Bank has more than $320 million in assets with six locations in south central Iowa. To learn more about Peoples Bank, visit the website at www.mybankpsb.com. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mybankpsb.

Topics: Community Involvement

Written by Rebecca Prescott

Rebecca Prescott is the marketing manager for Peoples Bank, based in Indianola.

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