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Ohio's pork gift - strengthening food security

Ohio's pork gift - strengthening food security

By Andi Anderson

In northwest Ohio, where food insecurity hovers around 16%, well above the national average, the Ohio Pork Council (OPC) has taken significant steps to alleviate this pressing issue through its annual Pork Power program.

This initiative has become crucial in providing high-quality, nutrient-dense pork to those who struggle to access affordable meals.

On behalf of the state’s pork producers, OPC has partnered with community-based nonprofits like Toledo’s SAME Café and the Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank.

For the year 2024, the OPC has committed to providing $3,000 worth of fresh pork or equivalent funds to each organization. This effort is part of a broader commitment to support both rural and urban communities across Ohio.

“A meat donation like this is beyond words,” expressed Courtney Schmidtke, Head Chef of SAME Café. She emphasized the importance of such donations, explaining that for many guests, especially those without stable shelter, high-quality protein is essential for health and energy.

SAME Café, which opened its Toledo location in 2022 following the model of its Denver counterpart, operates on a donation-based system where meals are provided regardless of a person’s ability to pay.

This model fosters community support and ensures that all guests, irrespective of their financial situation, have access to healthy food.

James Caldwell, president and CEO of the Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank also highlighted the impact of the Pork Power program. “We are very appreciative of this donation and for the ongoing relationship we have with the Ohio Pork Council,” he said.

His organization, celebrating 40 years of service, collaborates with local farmers to enhance their food distribution efforts across an eight-county area.

Nick Seger, president of the Ohio Pork Council and a pork producer from Minster, reflected on the ethos behind their efforts.

“For us as farmers, giving back to our state’s various communities is ingrained in our DNA,” he stated, underscoring the commitment to supporting organizations that offer critical services like SAME Café and the Food Bank.

Through these partnerships, the OPC  provides immediate food assistance and also reinforces the agricultural community's role in supporting statewide initiatives aimed at reducing food insecurity and promoting public health.

Photo Credit: gettyimages-mg7

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Categories: Ohio, Livestock, Hogs

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