Two million servings strong: Hams Across America tackles food insecurity
DES MOINES, Iowa — More than half a million pounds of pork comprising nearly 2.2 million servings were distributed in 2018 through the Hams Across America program.
“As pig farmers, our We Care ethical principles are the core of who we are as farmers, and it is important for us to not only to talk about them, but to live them out every day,” said Steve Rommereim, president of the National Pork Board and a pig farmer from Alcester, S.D. “Hams Across America allows me and other farmers to live the We Care ethical principles and share our love of the product that we produce.”
The program that lasts from “Giving Tuesday,” Nov. 27, through the Christmas holiday is dedicated to helping overcome the challenge of food insecurity. In 2018 in the United States, Hams Across America was supported by a record number of participants, with more than 120 individuals and businesses contributing time, resources and pork to the nationwide effort organized and managed by the National Pork Board, the National Pork Producers Council, state pork associations, and U.S. pig farmers.
In addition to helping ease the nation’s food insecurity problem, Hams Across America highlights the diverse products produced by the pork industry at events across the nation. In 2018, this included donation events in Illinois, North Carolina, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Nebraska, Ohio and Minnesota. In Illinois, for example, nearly 90,000 pounds of pork were donated to the Greater Chicago Food Depository. In North Carolina, 42,000 pounds of pork went to the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina.
In its third year, the pork industry responded strongly to the Hams Across America call to action in 2018. Smithfield Foods and Prairie Fresh Pork participated as major contributors to the program, showcasing and exemplifying the We Care ethical principle of contributing to a better way of life in communities around the nation. The principles are an integral part of how today’s pig farmers work, and Hams Across America is a great way to showcase farmers’ service ethic while providing pork for their communities.
The 2018 Hams Across America program also saw a sharp upturn in the number of participants, that helped to bolster donations. Farmers and many others encouraged a pay-it-forward initiative by sharing their personal stories on social media using #RealPigFarming and #HamsAcrossAmerica, creating a presence on social media. In all, more than 400 public social media mentions featured #HamsAcrossAmerica or #WeCareGiveAHam.