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FAO affiliates’ 2023 campaigns yield thousands of pounds of pork to feed those in need

174 hogs donated to Fill the Freezer and Fair to Family programs

NELSONVILLE, Ohio – Food pantry freezers are a lot fuller in four Appalachian Ohio counties, thanks to local campaigns and generous communities that banded together to help neighbors in need.

Four geographic affiliates of the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio (FAO) spearheaded campaigns this summer that invited buyers at their county fairs’ livestock sales to donate their hog purchases to help stock the freezers of local food pantries and fight hunger – one pig at a time. The result? Generous individuals and businesses in Gallia, Hocking, Perry and Vinton counties donated a total of 174 pigs, as well as thousands of dollars to help cover meat processing costs.

The Community Foundation for Perry County (CFPC) piloted the Fill the Freezer campaign in the region in 2021, followed by the Hocking County Community Fund (HCCF) in 2022. This summer saw the Gallia Community Foundation (GCF) debut its first Fill the Freezer campaign and the Vinton County Community Fund (VCCF) assume ownership of a similar Fair to Family program launched by a local teacher in 2019.

“These campaigns showcase our communities at their finest and the love and generosity that have always defined Appalachian Ohio,” said Tracy Mann, FAO senior director of outreach. “Witnessing our affiliate foundations unite residents of all ages, businesses and community partners to achieve profound impact in a single day shows how we can all make a difference in the lives in and livelihoods of the places we love by working together.”

CFPC’s 2023 Fill the Freezer campaign, with corporate sponsorship from Columbia Gas and the NiSource Charitable Foundation, resulted in 71 hogs donated and an additional 49 purchased through the community foundation – for a total of 120 hogs. The approximately 13,215 pounds of sausage, valued at more than $59,400, is expected to fill the freezers of Perry County’s food pantries for an entire year.

HCCF’s 2023 campaign generated 20 donated hogs while GCF’s Fill the Freezer, with corporate sponsorship from Columbia Gas and the NiSource Charitable Foundation, netted 25 donated hogs. Eight of the 30 hogs purchased at the Vinton County Junior Fair’s livestock sale were donated to VCCF’s Fair to Family with a local family giving an extra hog, yielding nearly triple the impact of the program’s previous years.

Each of these campaigns is held in partnership with the county fair boards, local 4-H members, local food pantries and meat processors. The Fill the Freezer campaign partners with the Southeast Ohio Foodbank, which stores and distributes the meat to its member food pantries in each county, while the Fair to Family program partners with the St. Francis Evangelization Center’s food pantry in McArthur.

For more information about these campaigns and how you can help fill needs and create opportunities throughout Appalachian Ohio, email or call 740.753.1111.