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Operation Christmas Meal assists local families

Iowa Select Farms hands out pork

By Kriss Nelson - Farm News editor | Dec 22, 2020



FORT DODGE ­–The vacant Younkers parking lot at Crossroads Mall in Fort Dodge became the site where 1,000 families were each gifted with a free pork loin last Thursday.

Operation Christmas Meal is made possible by Iowa Select Farms and the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation — an effort that has been in place for nine years now.

“It started as a giveaway in Des Moines as an opportunity for Iowa Select Farms to serve the community of Des Moines,” said Allyson Mathisen, a communications specialist with Iowa Select Farms. “But three years ago, we started to take Operation Christmas Meal on the go, and that’s when we started travelling to our rural Iowa communities where we have employees and contractors living and working. So far it has been a great opportunity to do additional outreach in these communities where the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation is working all year long through various programming.”

Employee volunteers and families of Iowa Select Farms and the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation help make the pork giveaways possible, as it is no easy feat to hand deliver 1,000 pork loins in just a few hours.

The pork loins that are estimated to be between five and seven pounds, are placed in an Iowa Select Farms tote and also include a recipe booklet.

“There are pages and pages of recipe ideas,” said Mathisen. “Obviously, we are big fans of easy Crock-Pot meals, but there is so many different ways to prepare this pork loin roast. We have put together a collection of our favorite recipe ideas and also some proper preparation instructions for how to prepare pork.”

Mathisen said the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation also recently sponsored “Ignite the Spirit” where FFA and 4-H organizations were invited to sign up to receive two cases of pork loins along with $250 to prepare a meal for families in need or organize food baskets to distribute.

With that effort, it is estimated Iowa Select Farms and the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation have handed out more than100,000 pounds of pork to people in need just this Christmas season.

“It is just one more opportunity for us to go into these communities we are so proud to be a part of and give back during the holidays,” Mathisen said.

Especially in a challenging year such as 2020.

“For farmers, I think it is in our DNA to give back and to help people any way we can,” she said. “We also know how important this pork loin roast has become for so many families during the holidays and what it means to them. A lot of times we have families that come through with tears in their eye so grateful because they didn’t know what they were going to find for Christmas dinner for their families.”

About Iowa Select Farms

Iowa Select Farms has 242,000 sows and annually produces 1.5 billion pounds of pork. With 800 swine farms across the state, Iowa Select Farms is one of the leading economic engines to Iowa’s rural communities, employing more than 1,200 people, contracting with more than 650 farmers and supporting hundreds of local businesses throughout the state.

About the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation

The Hansens, who founded Iowa Select Farms and New Modern Concepts in Iowa Falls, established the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation in 2006 to work with philanthropic organizations to relieve hunger, support military families and strengthen efforts to find a cure for childhood cancer while improving the quality of life for cancer patients.

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