More than a half a million pounds of pork comprising of nearly 2.2 million services were distributed in the Hams Across America campaign. National Pork Board public relations director Claire Masker reviews this successful effort in this edition of Pork Pod.
Claire Masker, Public Relations Director, National Pork Board
Don Wick: 00:00 From the Pork Checkoff in Des Moines, Iowa, it’s Pork Pod. Pork Pod, a look at the hot topics in today’s pork industry. The Pork Checkoff is working for you through various forms of research, promotion, and consumer information projects. I’m Don Wick speaking on behalf of the Pork Checkoff. And today our guest is Claire Masker, who’s the director of public relations for the National Pork Board. In the fourth quarter of 2018, we talked about the Hams Across America program. The latest details are now available. Claire, let’s maybe start by way of introduction. Tell us about this program itself, the campaign Hams Across America.
Claire Masker: 00:36 Yeah, our Hams Across America program last from Giving Tuesday, which in 2018 was November 27th though the Christmas holiday. And it’s really about how pig farmers pay it forward in their communities, either through donations to food banks or you know, giving a Christmas ham to their neighbors and how that they pay it forward with the product they’re so proud to raise.
Don Wick: 01:00 What kind of results have we seen this past year?
Claire Masker: 01:03 In 2018, the campaign saw more than half a million pounds of pork that was donated and that’s nearly two point 2 million servings of pork. You know, a lot of that was done through donations. And we had over 120 individuals and businesses who contributed time and resources to the project this year.
Don Wick: 01:27 Always talked about food insecurity and some of those kinds of challenges, this really serves into that need.
Claire Masker: 01:33 Yeah. You know, we were able to do events in North Carolina, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Nebraska, Ohio, Minnesota, and in Illinois too. So we were just able to donate product to food banks, you know, with the help of Seaboard Foods and Smithfield Foods. We were able to donate products and do donations to food banks in North Carolina and Illinois. And then through other partners, you know, in Iowa we served breakfast at the homeless shelter in Des Moines. I’m in Pennsylvania we handed out holiday food boxes to areas and to residents in Harrisburg that had relocated because of the hurricane in Puerto Rico. And so that was over a year ago, but there’s still that need of people who are food insecure in our communities.
Don Wick: 02:21 This isn’t the first year do we see a growing response when we look at Hams Across America?
Claire Masker: 02:27 You know, we saw a growing response in the amount of participation that we had from our state pork associations as well as just individuals who participated, and businesses who participated in this past year. And the goal is to grow it in 2019 and make it even bigger than previous years.
Don Wick: 02:46 There’s also a social media component, people are able to share that story. What kind of results did we see with that Claire?
Claire Masker: 02:53 Yeah, we had more than 400 public social media mentions that featured Hams Across America in there. So, you know, just tracking all of that was wonderful to see how many people were excited to participate in the program this year. You know, the holiday season is always a great time to show our We Care ethical principal community. It’s something that producers and farmers across the country do throughout the year. But that holiday season, everyone, you know, wants to do more during the holiday season for their neighbors. We know it can be a tough time. It’s colder out. Trying to provide gifts to family members. So if we can help provide a happy meal for our neighbors, that’s an awesome experience for us.
Don Wick: 03:42 I’m sure they can go back to that hashtag and see those results.
Claire Masker: 03:47 Yeah. They can just search it on any social media platform. #HamsAcrossAmerica. And they can see all of the great work that farmers across the country and everyone in the pork industry did the past holiday season.
Don Wick: 04:00 Claire Masker from the National Pork Board. Thank you for listening to this edition of Pork Pod. For more information on this topic or the Pork Checkoff itself, visit pork.org.