It’s a simple fact, proven time and again: hog farmers are generous with their time and resources. They care about their neighbors and fellow citizens. They believe in giving back.
The North Carolina Pork Council plays a major role in efforts to help others. In addition to the $11 billion annual economic impact that we have on NC, here’s just a sampling of some of our programs and initiatives.
Fighting Hunger in North Carolina
North Carolina has one of the country’s worst problems with hunger, especially among our state’s children. Pork producers in North Carolina, as part of an essential industry that feeds the world, believe they have a responsibility to help reduce the number of North Carolina’s families who experience hunger.
In addition to making contributions of food and financial support, the N.C. Pork Council has also launched a number of special initiatives designed to support and strengthen North Carolina’s food banks and hunger-fighting network, as well as raise awareness about the severity of the problem.
The Food Effect
In 2011, the N.C. Pork Council created The Food Effect—an online network designed to educate, involve, and unite citizens in the fight against childhood hunger. Partnering with the North Carolina Association of Feeding America Food Banks, The Food Effect made nearly a half million people aware of the issue, recruited thousands of volunteers, and raised over $132,000.
The Food Effect was one of the initial supporters of the Association, helping it expand its reach, grow its network, and gain its footing. In 2015, the Association assumed control of The Food Effect’s social networks, which provided the group with a strong online community who support the important, life-changing work of our state’s food banks. Visit the N.C. Association of Feeding America Food Banks to learn more, sign up to volunteer, or donate to the food bank closest to you.
Whole Hog Barbecue and the Food Shuttle
Each year since 2013, the N.C. Pork Council has partnered with the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle (IFFS) during NCPC’s Whole Hog Barbecue Championship. After the hogs are judged, the meat is donated to IFFS, who chop and sell the award-winning barbecue by the sandwich or quart. The fundraiser has raised as much as $20,000 for IFFS’s work to fight hunger across seven counties.
Produce Capture Initiative
One of the greatest needs of our state’s food banks is fresh fruit and vegetables. The irony is that every year, North Carolina’s farmers generate 200 million pounds more produce than they sell. Much of this produce—including sweet potatoes, watermelons, cabbage, and tomatoes—goes unharvested. The farmers would love to get this healthy produce into the hands of families who need it most, but logistics, manpower, and transportation are all obstacles.
That’s why the N.C. Pork Council has supported the N.C. Association of Feeding America Food Banks’ initiative to study the actual surplus and determine how our state’s food banks and farmers could work together to ensure that this food does not go to waste.
In the last few years, several farms and food banks have undertaken pilot programs to test the model. We are hopeful that this initiative can be successful statewide.
One of the ethical principles that pork producers follow is community involvement. The North Carolina Pork Council is proud of its many efforts on behalf of communities across the state.
A few examples:
- Since 1985, the Pork Council has organized and sanctioned the Whole Hog Barbecue Championship, the culmination of local contests statewide. Every year, the series of competitions raises more than $115,000 for local charities. In 2013 and 2014, the pork from the championship event was donated to the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, which sold sandwiches and raised over $40,000 combined.
- The North Carolina Pork Council provides funds annually to sponsor student internships for high school and college students as well as scholarships for students pursuing careers in the pork industry.
- The Pork Council was one of three sponsors—the other two are firms in our industry—that each donated $100,000 for a new Environmental Education Center at Camp Don Lee, which hosts as many as 7,000 children each summer.