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More Than 60 Tons of Pork Donated to Iowans During Operation Christmas Meal

West Des Moines, Iowa – The Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation believes everyone deserves a good meal, especially during the holidays. The Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation’s ongoing commitment to support food security continued in December with the annual Operation Christmas Meal event, giving away 24,000 pork loins to 23 communities across Iowa in six days.

Now in its 13th year, Operation Christmas Meal has provided more than 2 million Christmas meals to nearly 690,000 Iowa families. From Dec. 1 to 14, Operation Christmas Meal donated 24,000 boneless pork loin roasts at 23 different events across Iowa with the help of more than 250 employee volunteers. In total this year, more than 60 tons (121,000 pounds) of pork were donated. The pork loin totes included a recipe booklet created by Kelsey Byrnes, a local Iowan and popular food blogger (Dance Around the Kitchen). 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that from 2021 to 2022, families saw a 9.5% increase in meat prices at the grocery store and saw additional increases in 2023.

“As farmers, it’s hard for us to see hunger exist in this world, we’re dedicated to taking care of our communities by offering free pork loins” said Jen Sorenson, Communications Director for Iowa Select Farms.  “During an especially financially difficult time for families, Operation Christmas Meal helps create a happy holiday for all Iowans, no matter their circumstances or level of income.”

In addition, the Ignite the Spirit program awarded cases of pork loins and $500 in cash to nearly 80 local FFA, 4-H and school-based organizations throughout the counties where Iowa Select Farms has employees and farms – a new record. The donations and event kits helped youth organizations host a community meal, organize and distribute holiday food baskets, or develop their idea for providing a meal to families in need. 

“Ignite the Spirit is an additional component of Operation Christmas Meal that increases awareness of hunger locally and helps even more families during the holiday season,” Sorenson said. “We are encouraged to see so many student organizations working to better understand hunger, plan unique projects or events, and partner with organizations that provide different areas of support to local families.”

This year’s Operation Christmas Meal events took place in:

  • Ackley
  • Alta
  • Belmond
  • Chariton
  • Cresco
  • Des Moines
  • Diagonal
  • Dows
  • Garner
  • Hampton
  • Holstein
  • Humeston
  • Ida Grove
  • Iowa Falls
  • Jewell
  • Leon
  • Lime Springs
  • Murray
  • Osage
  • Pocahontas
  • Riceville
  • Rockwell City
  • Sac City
Photo courtesy of Iowa Select Farms

About the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation
The Hansens, who founded Iowa Select Farms and New Modern Concepts in Iowa Falls, Iowa, established the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation in 2006 to relieve hunger, support military families and strengthen efforts to find a cure for childhood cancer while improving the quality of life for cancer patients and their families.

About Iowa Select Farms
Iowa Select Farms is the largest pork producer in Iowa and is committed to responsibly producing safe, nutritious, and high-quality pork for its customers and the food companies they serve. The company has 242,500 sows and annually produces 1.5B pounds of pork. With 800 swine farms across the state, Iowa Select Farms is one of the leading economic engines to Iowa’s rural communities through employing more than 1,200 people, contracting with more than 650 farmers and supporting hundreds of local businesses throughout the state.

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