Minnesota Farmer Donates Pigs to Cause
(OnFocus) Area food pantries and nonprofits were delivered 3,000 pounds of pork sausage this week thanks to a collaborative community effort.
Kevin and Kendra Schmidtke of Marshfield drove six hours to Boerboom farm in Minnesota last Friday to pick up 48 pigs which, due to plant disruptions during COVID-19, would otherwise have been put down since there was no place to take them.
Kevin said he learned of the struggles farmers were facing through Facebook and started making dozens of tough phone calls asking for donations of animals. Through the helpful assistance of Minnesota Pork Producers Association, he was connected with the farmer who accepted.
“The main thank-you in our eyes goes out to the farmer,” Kevin said. “He basically gave us $10,000 worth of meat.”
“We are so happy to see our pigs go to families that need them,” Boerboom farm stated in a Facebook update.
To ready the meat for donation, J&S Processing employees volunteered to come in on Saturday to process 1,000 pounds each of plain pork, Italian, and breakfast sausage. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture even offered a free inspection so the business didn’t have to disrupt its normal production schedule, while Ultrasource generously donated seasoning.
The meat was turned over to the Schmidtkes for distribution to food pantries and nonprofits.
Recipients included Soup or Socks, St. Vincent de Paul Outreach, Mary’s Place, Shirley’s House of Hope, PDC Orenda Center, Cedar Rail, the Hannah Center, Auburndale school and Pittsville district dairy drives, the Neighborhood Table in Wisconsin Rapids, and SWETS food pantry. Distribution to south Wood County pantries was undertaken by volunteer Lucie Cutler and son Travis.
Soup or Socks will add the meat to its emergency food boxes starting next week. In eight weeks of the new distribution program while the pantry is closed for in-person visits during COVID-19, Soup or Socks has served an average of 120 families each week, given out 1,000 boxes, and served 3,000 people from Marshfield and surrounding communities which it serves, according to Director Cheryl Lewis Hartl.
The food pantry plans to continue distributing the emergency food boxes and remain closed for the rest of May, she said.
The donation also corresponded with a food drive through Weiler Convenience Store by Walmart, which ends May 20. For every 10 items donated, the individual is entered into a prize drawing. The first round of the drive collected over 900 food items.
“Soup or Socks is near and dear to us, and there’s so many people who are hungry,” Kevin said. “You’ve got to try to take the time to help where you can.”
Funds have been raised for the farmer and thank-you letters with donations are appreciated.
3173 State Highway 19
Marshall, MN 56258