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24,000 dozen eggs donated by Iowans for Iowans

By Staff | Aug 27, 2010

Howard Helmer flips an omelet during the Aug. 10 egg donation drive. He holds the world record for the fastest cooked omelet at 42 seconds.

DES MOINES – Iowa’s egg farmers proved once again that they are good eggs themselves by donating nearly 285,000 eggs, about 24,000 dozen, to the Food Bank of Iowa on Aug. 10.

The truckload donation of eggs was the first of its kind for the Iowa Egg Council, which made the donation through the checkoff program of Iowa’s egg farmers. The checkoff program uses 2.5 cents of every 30 dozen case of eggs sold for promotion and education efforts.

The Food Bank of Iowa will distribute the eggs to 280 partner agencies in 42 Iowa counties, including dozens of agencies in northcentral Iowa. “It’s incredible to get a donation like this,” said Sarah Bonefas, program coordinator for the Food Bank of Iowa. “Eggs are such an excellent product. They are high in nutrition and high in protein and they are such a versatile product. This is just awesome.”

The food banks partners include food pantries, churches, domestic abuse shelters and other nonprofit agencies that help families in need.

The Food Bank of Iowa distributed 5.6 million pounds of food to needy families in the last fiscal year. The egg donation will help meet a growing need for the Food Bank of Iowa.

Andrew Kaldenberg, left, with Rose Acre farms, and kevin Vinchalle, of the Iowa Egge Council, stand beside a pallet of eggs that were part of a truckload of eggs donated Aug. 10 to the Food Bank of Iowa.

With more and more families in need due to layoffs and other crises, the Food Bank’s request for food donations increased by 30 percent this past year.

“The food goes out of here almost as quickly as it comes in,” Bonefas said.

Kevin Vinchattle, executive director of the Iowa Egg Council, said the large donation of eggs is part of a national effort, called the Good Egg Project, to use egg checkoff dollars to help feed the hungry throughout the nation and educate consumers on the high nutrition, low-cost qualities of eggs. “In Iowa, our job is to feed the world and we take that role seriously. This (donation) is a way we can demonstrate that,” Vinchattle said. “Eggs have the least cost, highest-quality protein you can buy.”

While the truckload donation of eggs was a one-time donation, the Iowa Egg Council plans to give, on a smaller scale, to the Food Bank of Iowa as an ongoing effort from its checkoff program. “Hopefully, it will become a routine part of what we do,” Vinchattle said.

Iowa is the nation’s leading producer of eggs, with about 57 million hens producing 14 billion eggs each year.

Contact David DeValois by e-mail at dwdevalois@yahoo.com.

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