Pork for people

Perrydale FFA uses county fair to help hungry people

PERRYDALE -- The Perrydale FFA chapter's Pork for People program continues to grow -- and it's not just for pigs anymore.

The idea is for students to raise pigs, show them at the Polk County Fair Aug. 7 to 10 and sell them on the market.

Community residents and businesses buy the pigs and then donate them back to Pork for People, which in turn gives the meat to local charities.

Last year, they got more than they bargained for, said Kirk Hutchinson, FFA adviser and agriculture teacher at Perrydale. People donated 12 pigs, two cattle and 23 chickens.

The group is looking for sponsors to help offset the costs of raising the pigs and packaging the meat.

Sponsorship packages are available from $25 to $250. More sponsorships means that more of the pork will end up with local charities.

Raising pigs teaches students responsibility and the process of how animals become food, Hutchinson said. Pork for People makes sure that food gets to those who need it through the Union Gospel Mission, H20 and Willamette Valley Food Assistance.

"The purpose is to allow people in Polk County and Marion counties to have a high-quality source of protein and more food on the table," Hutchinson said.

This is the third year of the Perrydale Pork for People program, started by Western Oregon University student Andi Kohlmeyer, the current director. Students Kami Coy and Kaylin Hutchinson manage the program together.

The pigs that will be shown at this year's fair weighed less than two pounds when they were born. By the time they reach the fair, they'll weigh in around 230 to 260 pounds.

"They're born in February and they eat like pigs," Hutchinson said. "They go hog wild."

More information is available by calling 503-835-3184.


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