OTTUMWA — In the freezing Food Bank of Iowa warehouse, a small crowd gathered. Then all of a sudden, by the dozens, a forklift dropped more 8,400 pounds of pork loin, all packaged up.
Hy-Vee and Pipestone Veterinary Services donated the pork loin. They partnered together for the third annual “Give a Helping Ham” campaign. For each ham that was purchased at Hy-Vee stores from Nov. 18-27, Pipestone and Hy-Vee donated a pound of pork to the food bank.
“With all the Pipestone locations this year,” Pipestone Practice Manager Ashlynn Groom said, “110,000 pounds of pork loin was donated all over the Midwest.”
Groom said Pipestone participated because of how the donated meat benefited the community.
“I think for us one of the reasons why we wanted to involved again is because we can give back to the community we live in,” she said. “Part of our company is involved in pork production, but we also know protein is one of the least donated items to food banks. It’s amazing we’re able to give back to the community.”
Hy-Vee Store Director Dillon Murray plans to continue the partnership with Pipestone and the food bank in the future because he believes more partnerships will equate to more food donations.
“It’s amazing — the amount that will feed its community, it does nothing to help in our community,” Murray said. “We also had a lot more push behind it as well. Overall the campaign is great. We have a lot of initiatives that tie in with it, whether it be giving back peanut butter or different promotions. It will continue going forward.”
Operations Coordinator Sandra McReynolds was happy to receive.“We’re always very pleased they choose us as a partner,” she said. “It impacts so many people. It really is a versatile product. Clean proteins are definitely a high need for us; it’s always the most expensive. When we can get a generous donation like that, it really is helpful and we’re very thankful to get it.”
McReynolds said with food insecurity on the rise in Wapello County, protein becomes a higher need. “Every donation is a fight against food insecurity,” she said. “We get especially sentimental this time of year, we have our holiday meals with our families. So it’s just a really nice little extra generous donation they can have access too, so they can have those traditional holiday meals with their families as well.”