Pig Farmers Donate to Pork for Packs Backpack Program

– The Oklahoma Pork Council announced its annual donation to the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma’s Pork for Packs program in the amount of $10,000.

“We are so grateful to have the support of the Oklahoma Pork Council and the pork producers they represent in the fight against hunger,” said Stacy Dykstra, chief executive officer of the Regional Food Bank. “It takes all of us working together to help end hunger.”

Pork for Packs utilizes donated hogs from Oklahoma 4-H and FFA members to create protein sticks for the Food for Kids backpack program for elementary students. This innovative program was started by the Regional Food Bank in 2003 when they recognized the need to help supplement children’s diets when the school lunch program was unavailable.

The program provides chronically hungry children with backpacks filled with non-perishable, kid-friendly food including the protein sticks to sustain them throughout weekends and school holidays.

Between the Regional Food Bank and the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma, the program serves 596 schools in all 77 Oklahoma counties, providing backpacks to more than 35,000 chronically hungry children each week.

The monetary donation will assist in processing 28,572 pork sticks.

“Giving back to our local communities has become second nature for Oklahoma pig farmers,” said Kylee Deniz, Oklahoma Pork Council executive director. “With the rising cost of protein, we see the need more now than ever. Our farmers are honored to play a role in ensuring no child goes to bed hungry, and we are proud of the Oklahoma 4-H and FFA members who make the program possible by donating their animals.”

Pork for Packs is a collaboration between the Oklahoma Pork Council, Oklahoma Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture, Oklahoma Farm Bureau, Regional Food Bank and the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma.

Oklahoma is the fourth hungriest state in the nation. Most people served by the Regional Food Bank are chronically hungry children, seniors living on limited incomes and hardworking families struggling to make ends meet.

For information about donating your show pig to next year’s Pork for Packs, contact the Oklahoma Pork Council.