The College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR) at the University of Missouri is planning to donate 1,000 lbs. of lean pork sausage worth about $2,000 to The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri.
The donation is part of a year-long commitment by CAFNR to boost food donations to The Food Bank. The project, called Collaborating for a Healthy Future, utilizes the College’s expertise, partnerships and knowledge in areas of agriculture, economics and nutrition.
The sausage is being processed at the Mizzou Meat Market, a student sales and processing laboratory in CAFNR that combines traditional learning with hands-on, entrepreneurial experience.
“Recent statistics show that one in six people in our service area are food insecure, which means that they do not always know where they will get their next meal,” said Peggy Kirkpatrick, executive director of The Food Bank. “The same statistic is worse for children. One in four children in our community experience food insecurity.”
In addition to the meat donation, CAFNR has planted two acres of fresh sweet corn at its Bradford Research Center to provide 14,000-28,000 ears for the Food Bank. CAFNR students volunteered in The Food Bank’s Buddy Pack Program, where each week more than 8,600 children receive food to supplement their weekend meals. Sandy Rikoon, Professor and Curators Distinguished Teaching Professor in Rural Sociology at CAFNR, is heading a Food Pantry Nutrition Project to determine best practices in obtaining and distributing healthy food.
Bryon Wiegand, associate professor of animal science, is coordinating the donation. He said many people who are food insecure have diets too high in starchy and high-carb foods. Protein-rich pork sausage is an important addition to that diet.
Wiegand and the Mizzou Meat Market have donated to The Food Bank before. Missouri State Fair Champion cows and hogs donated to The Food Bank are processed for free in the Meat Market.
“Since its founding in 1870, CAFNR has been at the forefront of ensuring a safe and plentiful food supply for America and the world,” said Tom Payne, Vice Chancellor and Dean of CAFNR. “It is critical for us to employ our knowledge and expertise to emphasize the healthy food aspects in our own backyard and serve as an example for others to follow.”
In April, CAFNR will hold its inaugural fundraiser called the Float Your Boat for The Food Bank cardboard regatta. Here, college and community teams will build cardboard boats to race across a lake.
The Food Bank distributes free food to 138 elementary schools through the Buddy Pack Program, a weekend food service for children; and 135 hunger-relief agencies, such as food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters. The network helps to feed nearly 100,000 people per month in 32 counties in central and northeast Missouri.