Local pork producers give back with 5,000 pounds of free pork

T-R PHOTOS BY TREVOR BABCOCK The city parking lot on West Church Street where cars lined up to receive thousands of pounds of free pork.

More than 5,000 pounds of pork loin equaling more than 20,000 meals were given away in Marshalltown on Wednesday.

To celebrate support from the community, the Iowa Pork Producers Association organized a “Thank You Marshalltown” event giving back to those who supported Iowa’s pig farmers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Marshalltown-area residents flocked to the city parking lot on West Church Street starting at 4 p.m., driving through to pick up free five pound frozen pork loins. Iowa Pork Queen Leah Marek and Iowa Pork Youth Ambassador Reagan Gibson were there along with other volunteers to help pass out pork loins to Marshalltown residents.

The available supply of pork lasted just over an hour until it was all gone. At one point the line of cars waiting for pork was three blocks long, with a steady stream of people coming for free pork throughout the giveaway.

Along with Iowa pork producers, the pork loins were made available through assistance from the local JBS plant.

Marshalltown food providers, The Salvation Army, the House of Compassion and the Emergency Food Box receive a donation from Iowa Pork Producers Association.

Local leaders and pork producers spoke at the Marshalltown fire and police building earlier in the afternoon to formally thank Marshalltown community members.

“Today the Iowa Pork Association, Iowa pig farmers and our local JBS plant are here to thank the Marshalltown community for supporting farmers and plant workers,” Marshalltown City Council member Al Hoop. “They work to keep a safe food supply available to our community and to others across the nation.”

Representing Iowa pig farmers at the event, local pig farmer from State Center Blake Edler thanked Marshalltown’s people and local leaders. He said the COVID-19 pandemic has been especially challenging for food producers, who have had to put in extra work to keep workers safe and their food healthy.

“This community provided support and encouragement in a time that was very stressful, lifting spirits on challenging days and providing inspiration to help others clear the hurdles in front of them are ways you have touched the hearts of farmers,” Edler said. “The way you make people feel matters, and the Marshalltown community showed up to support every segment of the food supply chain; farmers, plant workers, and those working in grocery stores and restaurants. Thank you.”

Local food pantries The Salvation Army, the House of Compassion and the Emergency Food Box received donations of pork products and $500 from the Iowa Pork Producers Association. Members of each food pantry attended the event to receive the donations.

Iowa Pork Queen Leah Marek helping to give away thousands of pounds of pork to Marshalltown residents.

Local first responders were given thank-you baskets filled with pork products, and pork coupons were given to local Fareway and Hy-Vee stores for customers to use.

“It matters that we all work together in keeping people safe as our work continues to feed your families, neighbors and others,” Edler said.


Contact Trevor Babcock at 641-753-6611 or tbabcock@timesrepublican.com.


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