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View from the Cab: Give a ham

By: Kent Casson

Since its inception in 2017, the Illinois Pork Producers Association (IPPA) has been participating in the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) #GiveaHam challenge, an annual social media campaign that encourages people across the country to donate pork to organizations serving the food insecure.

This year, in conjunction with The National Day of Giving, the IPPA is taking part in the #GiveaHam challenge by celebrating “Hams for Heroes”, an original campaign created by the IPPA to supply military families in need with holiday hams.

IPPA President, Thomas Titus of Elkhart, Illinois, attended the event and presented 180 half boneless hams to Lt. Col. Michael Legler of the IL Army & Reserve Air National Guard based out of Springfield. Legler will arrange for 13 military family readiness specialists in Illinois to coordinate the delivery of the donated hams to military families across our state. Group locations for the military readiness group include 1 in Machesney Park, near Rockford; 4 in the Chicago area, and 1 in Marseilles. The other 8 stretch from Milan to Marion.

"Many pig farmers have loved ones who currently serve or have served our country," Said IPPA President Thomas Titus. "These hams are just a small token of the Illinois Pork Producers Association's appreciation to the men and women who serve in the military. Personally, my grandfather, my uncle, and my brother have all served, and it it makes me proud to be a part of today's event."

Once the “Hams for Heroes” donation commenced, Titus challenged the Director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA), Jerry Costello, to continue the cycle of giving by donating hams to a donee of the Illinois Department of Agriculture's s choice. Costello then challenged Commissioner Tom Peterson of the State of Minnesota to Give-A-Ham to a donee of his choice.

Anyone can take part in the Give-A-Ham Challenge by gifting a ham this holiday season. Some examples of who to gift your ham to are local food pantries, emergency personnel, organizations that are special to you and families in need. To help IPPA spread awareness of the campaign, post about your donation to social media and tag Illinois Pork Producers with the hashtags #GiveAHam and #PoundsOfPork.

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