It’s not every day that hundreds of lives are impacted for the better. On Tuesday, August 22 Operation Feed La Porte County donated over 5,000 pounds of fresh protein to 29 food pantries throughout La Porte County. People laughed, smiled, and bonded as they came together to make sure the less fortunate individuals in La Porte County would have access to fresh meals for weeks to come.
Every year, businesses and individuals from all over La Porte County come together to purchase animals at the local 4-H auction in July so they can be butchered and donated to local food pantries. Some businesses contribute to the cause by buying whole cows, goats, and pigs, while others help make the initiative possible by covering the meat processing fee. Each food pantry that came out this year received about 165 pounds of fresh protein.
“The big thing that we realized is that these food pantries don’t have a way to get fresh protein. A lot of people will donate dry goods and stuff that can be held onto, but there’s not enough protein being provided. This is a big deal,” said Mark Parkman president of La Porte County Farm Bureau.
Operation Feed La Porte County is always touching, but this year was especially meaningful as the event grew tremendously. Last year about 2,500 pounds of protein were donated, but this year an astounding 5,000 pounds were donated. Not to mention, over 6,000 pounds of non-perishable items were donated as well; during the La Porte County Fair, people had the opportunity to donate non-perishable items to the 4-Her’s Fight the Hunger, Stock the Trailer challenge.
One last thing that made this year even more special is that several local farmers came out to donate all kinds of fresh produce including everything from green beans to corn to even cantaloupes. People from the food pantry loaded up their carts as full as they could, eager to share the food with people in need.
Center Township Trustee Lisa Pierzakowski came out to collect food for the Resource Center Food Pantry and was touched by the amount of food being donated. She emphasized that donating such a large amount of food is no small act of kindness–it’s a deed that impacts countless lives.
“There’s such a high demand for food right now but the prices have been going up so much that it’s difficult for us to provide. A lot of us pay for the stuff we provide through our organizations. Not only is this going to fill the freezer for the Resource Center Food Pantry, but it’s also going to fill food boxes around La Porte with all kinds of fresh produce. Knowing that someone might get a cantaloupe in the food box tonight is really exciting,” said Pierzakowski.
La Porte County 4-Her Weston Fracier shared that several of his pigs, sheep, and goats were bought during the auction for the Operation Feed La Porte County cause. He’s always known that raising livestock is important, but after spending the day helping people from the food pantries load up their carts he realized just how much of a difference he can make.
“This has been a big learning experience for me. There are so many people who need help, and livestock are a great source of food. This has shown me that I have the power to help people in my community,” said Fracier.
The day was just as enlightening to all the businesses and individuals who contributed. The CompressAir team paid for the processing fee on two pigs and explained that they couldn’t wait to get even more involved in the future.
“We’re always looking for ways to give back to our community and the great thing about this is that all of these food pantries are located right here in La Porte County. It’s a great way to give back to our community instantly. It’s exciting to see how it’s grown over the years and we can’t wait to continue being a part of it. I think we’ll always be a part of Operation Feed La Porte County now,” said Brittany Smith, CompressAir’s marketing specialist.
Other big contributors to this year’s Operation Feed La Porte County initiative included 1st Source Bank, La Porte County Farm Bureau, La Porte County Fair, CLH CPAs and Consultants, S&B Kessler, the Old Sheep Farm, and Sims Meat Processing.
Looking around at all the smiling faces as people picked up essential goods for their food pantries, it was clear that the 2023 Operation Feed La Porte County event couldn’t have been more impactful.
“Everybody’s just really enjoying it. The volunteers are all having fun, they’re talking to the food pantry folks as they’re coming in, and everybody’s meeting one another. It’s just been great,” said Steve Mrozinski, president of La Porte County Agricultural Association.
Everyone involved with the initiative can’t wait to see how the initiative continues to grow in the future. The team is currently in the process of making the organization a 501(c)(3) nonprofit so it can get approved by Hoosier Feeding the Hungry to have its meat processing fee covered. That way businesses can donate even more food instead of donating money for the processing fee.
“I easily think this could get twice as big next year. As more businesses get involved and are able to buy animals during the auction even more food is going to go straight to our community’s food banks,” said Mrozinski.
Of course, this year’s initiative wouldn’t have been possible without all of the businesses, organizations, and individuals that provided their time and funds. The local food pantries won’t ever forget their kindness.
“Seeing the community working together to make this happen is just so wonderful. We appreciate it so much,” said Pierzakowski.
To learn more about CompressAir and how it gives back to our community, visit https://www.compressair.net/.