Meat+Poultry - February 2021 - 19

So, Kiolbassa talked with Stiles about how to help as food
insecurity rose.
" Wendy and I were visiting, and I said, 'how can we
redirect this to something that can really give purpose?' "
Kiolbassa said. " It just happened to be right after San
Antonio was on the national news and the front page of the
New York Times with a lot of cars at the food bank trying to
get food, and we recognized that food insecurity has been
magnified with COVID. "
After seeing the response needed in the area, the entire
Kiolbassa team decided to come together to develop the
new program. Kiolbassa then created the Links of Love pork
sausage specifically to distribute to people in need of food.
When launching the Links of Love sausage, Kiolbassa
explained that it is made with small batches like the rest
of its products that are sold in stores throughout the
United States.
" We can make it for a lot less. It's high-quality ingredients,
high-quality spices, and then the premium cuts of pork, but
we can get a lot more bang for our buck using all pork, "
Stiles said.
Kiolbassa continued, " When developing this program, it
was very important to us that its recipients receive the same
high-quality, delicious sausage that is available in stores. We
realize that the people we serve are facing difficult challenges.
We may be serving people on what could be the most difficult
day of their lives. We hope that the food we are providing
gives them a little happiness, encouragement and hope. "
The all-pork dinner sausage is a fully cooked product
that's easy to prepare.
" One of the beauties of our sausage that we found in
responding to disasters is that it cooks quickly. Anybody
can cook it, " Stiles said. " So, if you're somebody who maybe
wasn't used to cooking, and here you are having to make
meals for your family...if you have this in a box that you
receive from the food bank, you're able to cook it with ease. "
While working with the food committee for the San
Antonio Food Bank for more than 10 years before COVID19, Stiles learned about what was needed to get donations
to where they were needed. She said she also learned what
people with food insecurity really needed - a can of green
beans and a box of crackers can't really make a meal,
she said.
" It isn't just about having cereal or having a can of this or
can of that...a center-of-the-plate protein is really what your
meals are built around, " Stiles said.

MEETING NEEDS
Kiolbassa partnered with Mercy Chefs and Feeding America
to get its products where they were needed most. Mercy
Chefs serves chef-prepared meals for victims, volunteers
and first responders in national emergencies and natural
disasters. Feeding America is a network of more than

The Links of Love
program has pledged
to donate 10,000 lbs of
its sausage each month.

200 food banks, 60,000 food pantries and meal programs
throughout the United States.
In the past, Kiolbassa worked with the Houston Food
Bank, the Special Olympics and the March of Dimes to raise
funds and donate meat products to those in need.
To help with logistics of distributing the product, the
meat processor is working with its supply chain to get more
donations. Victory Packaging plans to donate shipping
boxes, GP Labels will offer donated labels, Sealed Air will
give film to be used for the packages and Bee Trucking will
provide a delivery driver.
The company has worked with Mercy Chefs since 2015,
helping to respond to natural disasters.
Kiolbassa started its Links of Love distribution in Panama
City, Fla., at the end of 2020 with Mercy Chefs. The town is
still dealing with the effects of Hurricane Michael from 2018.
Before Links of Love, Kiolbassa's community donations
were just known about through word of mouth and served
in areas that needed help in San Antonio and around the
country. To help with its new initiative, Kiolbassa pushed its
Links of Love message out on social media and branded the
truck that travels to food banks and emergency sites with
the campaign's logo.
Michael Kiolbassa hopes to continue to build on this
effort so there will always be food readily available when
there's a need.
" This is really core to our purpose of enriching lives, " he
said. " That's why we exist as a company, and this is a big part
of it. We wanted to really build some structure and resources
around this program so that we can grow even bigger in the
future. "
www.meatpoultry.com | 02.21 | MEAT+ POULTRY

19


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Meat+Poultry - February 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meat+Poultry - February 2021

Meat+Poultry - February 2021 - 1
Meat+Poultry - February 2021 - 1
Meat+Poultry - February 2021 - 2
Meat+Poultry - February 2021 - 3
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Meat+Poultry - February 2021 - vdg - 1
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