Iowa Select Farms and the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation gave away 500 pork loins to families in need Monday morning in Osceola. Starting at 11 a.m., Iowa Select Farms employees began handing out free, 5-pound loins to everyone in line. The event ended at 1 p.m.
“Growing up as third-generation farmers and in the early years of Iowa Select Farms, we always did what we could to help people. It’s in the DNA of Iowa farmers,” said Jeff Hansen, CEO of Iowa Select Farms and co-founder of the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation. “It warms all of our hearts to be able to do Operation Christmas Meal every year. We believe in giving back, especially in the rural communities across the state that we call home.”
For the first time, Iowa Select Farms has decided to expand this popular event across Iowa. Osceola is one of 13 stops for Operation Christmas Meal. The Operation Christmas Meal team started in Des Moines, and the tour includes Iowa Falls, Webster City, Clarion, Creston, Humeston, Parkersburg, Riceville, Osage, Lake City, Sac City and Pocahontas, giving away 6,000 pork loins to Iowans in need.
Now in its seventh year, Operation Christmas Meal has provided more than 504,000 Christmas meals to Iowa families. The event has become a holiday tradition for the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation with hundreds of Iowa Select Farms employees volunteering to brave the cold to hand out the pork loins year after year.
The event was free and open to anyone in need who came to the Clarke County Fairgrounds.
“Volunteering for Operation Christmas Meal is my favorite part of the year, and I love hearing the stories from each family we encounter. We’re so fortunate, as employees of Iowa Select Farms, to be able to participate in the incredible work that the foundation is doing,” said Iowa Select employee Logan Sweers.
The foundation was established in 2006 as a way for Iowa Select Farms owners Jeff and Deb Hansen to give back to the local Iowa communities in which Iowa Select Farms operates. One of the three areas of the foundation’s focus is combatting hunger in Iowa, as one in eight Iowans are food insecure. Each of the 5-pound roasts provides 24 servings of lean, nutrient-rich pork.
“We are proud to be a homegrown Iowa company working in the heart of Iowa communities,” said Hansen. “Operation Christmas Meal is just one way for us to give our fellow Iowans a helping hand.”
Iowa Select employees were festively dressed while handing out the fresh pork loin roasts to a steady line of community members, many of whom took the time to share their personal stories of hardship. During an especially difficult time for families in need, Operation Christmas Meal helps create a happy holiday for all Iowans, no matter their level of income. Families also received a recipe booklet filled with easy, delicious and economical ways to prepare the fresh pork loin roast.