CIRCLEVILLE — The Pickaway County Community Foundation, Ohio Farm Bureau, the Delaware County Foundation and local farmers have partnered together to bring one ton of pork to local food shelters.

After learning about the reopening of a processing plant near Orient after a temporary closure, the two foundations purchased 30 hogs from Ohio producers to process for local food banks, which will generate the approximately 2,000 pounds of pork. Due to similar shutdowns, there have been supply chain disruptions that have slowed the amount of processed meat to local grocery stores.

“This is a great opportunity for our county to work with the Pickaway County Farm Bureau and our local food banks to bring fresh pork to our county at a time when food insecurities are so high,” said Jan Shannon, the Pickaway County Community Foundation Executive Director. “The coordination efforts through working with the Delaware County Foundation have been a great opportunity to show how local foundations can partner with each other, as well as other organizations, such as the local farm bureau to make an important impact on our service areas.”

The hogs were processed on Monday and will be distributed to people in need through local food banks in the two counties.

“The Orient facility reached out and said they had an opportunity to schedule us to be first in line for processing at a time of urgent need,” Shannon added. “Food pantries are receiving increased requests because of the economic situation. With the restrictions in grocery stores, we thought this would be able to help with that.”

Shannon called the opportunity a win-win for everyone involved.

“It’s a great partnership; each group had one piece of this to accomplish and we all worked together quickly to source it,” she continued.

One hurdle that the foundations needed to handle was how to properly store the meat after it had been processed, but before distribution, and once again, partnering paid off. Two local schools will allow the foundation to use their walk-in freezers to store the pork.

“In addition to the generosity of our community foundation partners, the Ohio Pork Council provided financial support through their Pork Power Program,” said Ivory Harlow, Pickaway County Farm Bureau Organization Director. “Farm to Food Banks’ local impact aligns with the farm bureau’s mission to work together with Ohio farmers to advance agriculture and strengthen communities.”

Shannon said Circleville City Schools and Westfall Local schools have agreed to allow their freezer space to be used while distribution is worked out. Shannon said Westfall Cares, the Pickaway County Emergency Cleaning House and the Ashville Food Pantry would all receive a portion of the meat. She added that there wasn’t yet a distribution date, but that would come soon.

“Any food pantry in Pickaway County is eligible, they just need to reach out to us if they’re interested,” Shannon told The Circleville Herald.

Looking ahead, Shannon said she’d like to do more of this in the future.

“We’d love to be able to do this with beef at some point if we can find a way to source it,” she commented.

To reach out for program assistance, contact Shannon via email at jan.shannon@yourpccf.org.

To donate to the program, checks can be sent to PCCF food Insecurities Program by mailing them to PCCF — 770 North Court Street, Circleville.

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