Pork producers from across Iowa are donating several thousand pounds of meat to the state’s five main food banks.

Trish Cook, a member of the Iowa Pork Producers Association board, says it’s a win-win since there’s a surplus of pork due to plant closures and an increase in demand at food banks because of the pandemic. “Pork producers decided to do what they can,” Cook says. “There’s a lot of people out there who have lost their jobs. They wanted to help out by donating ground pork to food banks in Iowa. They have 8,500 pounds of ground pork that they are distributing to food banks around state.”

Cook says its simple to cook pork and it helps to meet consumers’ protein needs.  “It’s easy to prepare, it can be used in so many different ways,” Cook says. “It’s just a versatile item that people can quickly cook up and use in their day-to-day meal preparation.”

With many restaurants closed and so many people staying home from work and school, Cook says the pandemic has radically changed what and how we eat. “There’s people probably cooking things they never thought they would ever cook before just because we’re such a society — about half of our food budget is dining out,” Cook says. “It’s a really different scenario for everybody these days.”

Each food bank is getting 1,700 pounds of pork divided into one-pound packages. The food banks receiving the donations include: The Food Bank for the Heartland serving 93 counties in Nebraska and western Iowa, as well as the food banks in Des Moines, Sioux City, Hiawatha and Waterloo.

(By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton)