The ever-increasing demand for wholesome, high-quality Manitoba pork has played a significant economic and social role in the province, creating jobs, and building communities. While the objective of the hog sector is to provide a high-quality, affordable protein to the world, hog farmers are passionate about supporting the well-being of the communities where they live and work. As food producers, a guiding principle for their philanthropic activities is to help ensure food security in their communities. The pandemic has further brought issues of food security to the forefront and intensified the need for quality food for those challenged to access it.
Health Canada defines food insecurity as “the inability to acquire or consume an adequate diet quality or sufficient quality of food in socially acceptable ways, or the uncertainty that one will be able to do so.” Information from Statistics Canada shows that 14.6 percent of households in Canada have experienced food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic, and data from Harvest Manitoba indicates that 1 in 8 Manitobans live in a food-insecure home. Children and seniors tend to be the most vulnerable in times such as these.
Food insecurity is experienced in a variety of different ways, including running out of food before being able to buy more, missing meals, not being able to afford to follow healthy eating advice to protect overall health and guard against disease, or not eating at all. Lack of food goes beyond hunger and the stress and anxiety that goes with the uncertainty of being able to access wholesome food. Food insecurity ultimately affects all aspects of a person’s life; it negatively impacts an individual’s physical, mental, and social health, and results in a greater risk of obesity, diabetes, malnutrition, and chronic illness.
Every year, on behalf of its farmers, Manitoba Pork donates more than two tonnes of fresh and further processed pork products to food banks and humanitarian organizations. Past partnerships have included support for Samaritan House in Brandon, Ste. Anne Foodbank, Southeast Helping Hands, Agape Table in Winnipeg, Harvest Manitoba, The Salvation Army, Siloam Mission, and the Christmas Cheer Board. These organizations play a vital role in ensuring those experiencing food insecurity or poverty have access to pantry staples and nutritious food, by providing extra support to hungry children, struggling adults, and the working poor.
Since 2011, Manitoba Pork has provided Siloam Mission with financial support and more than 20,000 pounds of wholesome protein. As a founding member of Siloam’s “Sponsor the Meal” program, Manitoba Pork is helping to create positive changes for those experiencing poverty and homelessness. As part of Siloam’s expansion plan, Manitoba Pork donated a walk-in cooler for the new kitchen area. During the pandemic, Manitoba Pork also donated take-out containers to continue to support meal delivery.
Just ahead of the Easter weekend, Manitoba Pork partnered with H@ms Marketing Services Co-op to donate a combined $10,000 worth of pork breakfast sausages and ground pork, and financial support to Harvest Manitoba. This donation supports communities across the province with high-quality protein and much-needed pantry staples. Harvest Manitoba shares 11 million pounds of healthy and nutritious food each year with Manitobans who are food insecure.
Manitoba Pork supports numerous worthwhile local community causes and events across the province, through both financial support and product donations. In 2019, Manitoba Pork was honoured with the Outstanding Contribution to Philanthropy Award (Organization Under 100) for the contributions the hog sector makes to local communities. Through the numerous causes and organizations Manitoba Pork works with, hog farmers showcase their dedication to the province and to making it a better place.
Hog farmers are important and significant contributors to the communities they live in, and hog farmers are passionate about supporting the well-being of all Manitobans. Manitoba’s pork sector is proud to make a meaningful social impact by supporting sustainable food security.
To learn more, visit manitobapork.com/community