By DOUG GRAVES
VERSAILLES, Ohio – Egg farmers across America donated more than 5.5 million eggs to local food banks during the three weeks leading up to Easter and Passover as part of the “Fighting Hunger by the Dozens” initiative. This is one of the largest egg donation drives in history.
“High-quality, nutritious food matters to everyone, and egg farmers nationwide mobilized to ensure people had eggs on their tables over the spring holiday season,” said Emily Metz, president and CEO of the American Egg Board. “From dyeing and decorating to their prominent position on the seder plate, eggs are such an important part of Easter, Passover and other springtime holidays and traditions. Our farmers were committed to ensuring that all who hold their traditions dear could celebrate with eggs this year.”
Metz added that year-round, high-quality protein is something that many foodbanks struggle to obtain. Each spring, Metz says, egg farmers work to ensure that eggs are available during the spring months and throughout the remainder of the year.
Twenty-five egg farms from Indiana, Ohio, Arizona, Iowa, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon and Pennsylvania contributed to the cause.
Ohio contributors included Weaver Eggs, Cooper Eggs, Hertzfeld Poultry and Nature Pure. Indiana contributors included Creighton Brothers LLC, Rose Acre, Wabash Valley Produce and MPS Egg Farms.
“It’s our responsibility as farmers and providers of food to do what we can to help address hunger,” said Tim Weaver Jr., a fourth-generation egg farmer. “We do what we can to help support the front-line organizations for hunger relief such as The Foodbank Inc.”
Hertzfeld Poultry Farms, based in Grand Rapids, Ohio, donated 64,800 eggs by truck to the local foodbank, which serves several counties in the area including Lucas, Wood, Ottawa, Henry, Sandusky, Defiance and Williams counties.
“It came at a really good time for us,” said Johnathan Nichols, coordinator of development and programs at Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank. “A lot of families were really in need and that need has increased. We kind of saw a decrease during COVID but with the SNAP benefits being cut back in March, the need increased once again,” he said in reference to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
Tom Hertzfeld, sales manager of Hertzfeld Poultry Farms, said the egg farm has helped fight hunger in the community for four generations.
Rose Acre Farms of Seymour, Indiana, donated 43,200 eggs to the Midwest Food Bank in Indianapolis, which distributed more than $66 million in food to nearly 300 agencies across Indiana in 2022. Hoosier needs for food support rose by 28 percent last year, according to a news release from Rose Acre Farms.
Creighton Brothers of northern Indiana provided 10,800 eggs to the cause.
“We don’t work a lot with retail outlets, so through this effort maybe somebody that can’t get it from a grocery store can get them through food banks that we work with,” said Mindy Creighton-Truex of Creighton Brothers Poultry Farm.
“America’s egg farmers are proud to join together in a nationwide effort to provide nutritious eggs to our neighbors in need,” said Alex Simpson, American Egg Board chairman and president of Simpson’s Eggs in Monroe, North Carolina. “It’s our responsibility as farmers to do what we can to help address hunger, and give all the support we can to help those who are on the front lines at hunger relief organizations.”
Simpson, a fourth-generation egg farmer, donated 43,000 eggs to the Food Bank of Metrolina in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“Ohio’s egg, chicken and turkey farmers are passionate about lending a helping hand and producing nutritious food,” said Jim Chakeres, executive vice president of the Ohio Poultry Association. “Our farmers are dedicated to making a different in their local communities year-round.”