Farms to Foodbanks: Community foundations partner to supply foodbanks

Food chain disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in meat processing bottlenecks. Grocery and food pantry refrigerators and freezers are empty, despite increased need for healthy proteins.

Ohio Farm Bureau, Pickaway County Community Foundation (PCCF) and Delaware County Foundation are working with local farmers to supply local foodbanks with Ohio raised pork.

“We are always looking to generate win-win opportunities,” said Chris Baker, president and CEO of the Delaware County Foundation. “As the number of residents out of work and seeking assistance from food banks increases, some farmers have struggled due to disruptions at processing facilities. With a modest grant from the Foundation’s Community Crisis Fund we are pleased to be able to feed hundreds of people while supporting local businesses.”

When partners learned the meat processing plant in Orient was reopening after temporary closure they sprung to action and purchased 30 hogs from Ohio producers to process for local foodbanks. The hogs were processed Monday, May 18 and distributed to individuals in need through foodbanks in Delaware and Pickaway counties.

“This is a great opportunity for our county to work with the Pickaway County Farm Bureau, and our local foodbanks to bring fresh pork to our county at a time when food insecurities are so high,” said Jan Shannon, Executive Director of the Pickaway County Community Foundation.  “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 one issue that was paramount in solving when this opportunity arose was storage.  However, through partnerships, the organizations were able to reach out to two local schools and they will be utilizing their walk-in freezers to store the pork until distribution.

“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 Foodbanks local impact aligns with the Farm Bureau’s mission to work together with Ohio farmers to advance agriculture and strengthen communities.”

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