Hunger nonprofit seeks donations for meat processing costs

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) – A nonprofit organization in northeastern Indiana, which supplies meat to food banks, is seeking public help because some processing plants have been shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Hoosiers Feeding the hungry in Garrett has an abundance of pigs sent from farmers because the meat processing factories with which it partners are closed or slow production due to the virus outbreak.

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The nonprofit organization received 28,000 pigs in donations, said Deb Treesh, the group's executive director.

"If you don't process them, these animals will go to waste," she told The (Fort Wayne) Journal Gazette.

Meanwhile, the non-profit organization expects at least 500 additional pigs a week to move forward. The group said that processing a pig costs $ 200. The organization is encouraging people to donate through the website or send a check or money order to help offset processing costs.

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Tyson Foods closed its pig factory in Logansport for nearly two weeks, after hundreds of workers tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

In Orland, Miller Poultry said 136 of its nearly 800 employees tested positive for the virus last week, noting that these numbers are low compared to other plants across the country.

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"This shows that the many preventive measures implemented weeks ago, together with the additional ones (personal protective equipment), are working," the company said in a statement.

US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told governors in a letter that meat and poultry processors are "critical industries" that need to remain open.

"It is essential that we work together to ensure the health and safety of those who help keep food on the table during this unprecedented period," he wrote.

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