Missouri organizations partner to donate nearly 70,000 pounds of pork

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COLUMBIA - Nearly 70,000 pounds of pork will be going to Missouri families after a donation from the Missouri Pork Association, Smithfield Foods, Inc. and Prairie Fresh Pork.

Half of the pork products came from Smithfield Foods, while the other half came from Prairie Fresh Pork.

The donations will be released from the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri and will be distributed to each of the six food banks in Missouri. Every county in the state will be impacted by the donation.

In addition, the Missouri Pork Association is donating $5,000 to Feeding Missouri, an organization aiming to provide hunger relief in the state.

One Smithfield Foods representative said this donation is about enabling people to do more.

"All of a sudden, a senior citizen doesn't have to worry about choosing between their medicine or their food for that week," Jonathan Toms said. "A parent doesn't have to think about whether they will send their kid to school with lunch or school supplies. And other folks can focus on medical bills, utility bills."

Building protein into a daily diet is especially difficult for families who utilize food banks.

Scott Baker, the executive director for Feeding Missouri, said protein is often difficult to secure.

"Protein is the most expensive to get in terms of unit costs," Baker said. "When you compare it to produce, canned goods, things of that nature, protein can be quite expensive."

More than 800,000 people in Missouri struggle with hunger, according to a 2019 study. Nearly 250,000 of those are children.

This is despite the state being listed in the top 10 for pork production.

Chris Chinn, the director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture, said improving these children's lives excites her.

"Protein is a very important part of a child's developing brain," she said. "So, knowing that kids who are in school, when they come home at night, they are going to have some protein to help fuel them for that next day of school."

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