The River Bend Foodbank on Thursday announced a bulk donation of meat from four Illinois agricultural associations but said it always can use more food.
About 4,583 pounds of ground pork is now in River Bend's freezers, awaiting distribution, according to a news release.
The 2.5 tons is part of a larger overall donation of 38,000 pounds of ground pork being distributed to food banks throughout the state as part of the Pork Power program, a joint donation effort by the Illinois Pork Producers Association, Illinois Corn Marketing Board, Illinois Soybean Association and Illinois Association of Meat Processors, the release states.
The program began in 2008. Since then, Pork Power has distributed about 300,000 pounds of meat.
"It's one of the best donations we receive all year long," River Bend executive director Tom Laughlin said.
Meat is one of the harder items for the food bank to come by because of its expense, Mr. Laughlin said. He said the pork donation is probably the largest donation of meat River Bend receives each year.
More than two tons of meat may sound like a lot of food, but it actually is a drop in the bucket when it comes to the amount of food needed and distributed by River Bend.
"Hunger is a year-long problem," Mr. Laughlin said.
So far this year, the food bank has handled about 5 million pounds of food and is on pace to match last year's total of 7 million pounds, he said.
River Bend also could use more "one-can" meals such as tuna, beef stew, ravioli and soup, he said.
Many food drives through the year each bring in 100 to 1,000 pounds of food, said Caren Laughlin, who heads marketing for River Bend. Those help keep the food bank operating between larger drives such as the Letter Carrier Food Drive and Student Hunger Drive, she said.
Food donations are accepted at any size and can be made directly at the River Bend warehouse, 309 12th St., Moline. The hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Food donations also can be made directly to the various groups that River Bend serves. A list is available on the website.
Any food items donated must be in the original packages and must be unopened. The package also must be unexpired.
Monetary donations can be mailed to the warehouse or also can be made on the website.
Anyone wishing to contact River Bend or get more information can do so these ways:
Telephone: (309) 764-7434. Fax: (309) 764-9388. Email: -- Executive director Tom Laughlin at email@example.com. -- For marketing, food drives, special events and backpack program: Caren Laughlin at firstname.lastname@example.org. -- For the warehouse: Steve Wagenecht at email@example.com. -- For agency relations and volunteers: Diane Erickson at firstname.lastname@example.org. Web site: riverbendfoodbank.org/index.htm