Hog farmers give back to processing workers

Sofina Foods workers had their lunch paid for by hog farmers

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Hog farmers and their local and provincial associations recently donated lunch to pork processing plant workers.

The event was part of the Pork Industry Gratitude Project, started in Perth County.

Front-line workers at the Sofina Foods Inc. processing plant in Burlington got lunch from hog farmers on May 13, to show their appreciation for their work.

Why it matters: Processing plant workers are considered essential and have continued to work through the COVID-19 pandemic. Some processing plants have had outbreaks of the disease, although the Sofina plant in Burlington has only had one case in an employee.

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“These front-line workers play an essential role in helping to keep fresh, high quality Ontario pork on the plates of consumers,” explained Eric Schwindt, Ontario Pork board chair.

Foodies Anonymous, a Guelph-based catering firm and a brand partner with Ontario Pork, worked to create and deliver safe and delicious, individually packaged meals for more than 800 workers at the pork processing facility in Burlington. The lunches were distributed to workers throughout the day, following health and safety protocols at the plant.

“Thank you to our Ontario farmers. Our employees were delighted and touched by this kind gesture,” said Kelly Gray, director, operations at Sofina. “It’s not just a lunch to them. It’s recognition for their dedication and hard work to keep the grocery store shelves stocked with nutritious pork products made in Ontario.”

The lunches were made possible by donations by local pork associations in Perth, Grey-Bruce, Kawartha Lakes, Oxford, Lambton and Niagara, as well as funding from the Ontario Pork board.

“We truly are all in this together,” said Perth County pork producer John Nyenhuis. “Even as producers face challenges themselves they recognize the importance of stepping up to help others.”

The donation is part of the Pork Industry Gratitude Project, a grassroots fundraising and positivity movement initiated by pork producers in Perth County.

The Pork Industry Gratitude Project is a grassroots fundraising and positivity movement initiated by producers in Perth County. The project is designed to enhance a spirit of cross-industry collaboration and promote food-focused giving. In addition to showing appreciation to plant workers in Ontario, the initiative will also help increase donations of fresh ground pork to food banks across Ontario.

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