In the aftermath of severe storms that dumped more than 13 in. of rain on Nashville, TN, in two days, the swollen Cumberland River has caused massive damage from the Grand ‘Ole Opry to local hospitals and schools.

In response, pork producers have stepped up to help those in need from the Nashville flood.

“The Tennessee Pork Producers reached out to us and said, ‘You know, that trailer that we take to the Titans (Tennessee’s pro football team) game to feed thousands of people during pork promotions? How about bringing it down and feeding thousands of people to provide some disaster relief help?” says Nicole Boettger, producer services director for the Pork Checkoff.

In 24 hours, National Pork Board staff traveled from Des Moines to Nashville, picked up pork and coordinated with about 20 Tennessee pork producers to help serve the food to relief workers, public safety workers and those displaced by the disaster.

“People have told us, “Whatever we need to do, we’ll make it happen,’” says Boettger, who points out that the Pork Board is cooperating with the Red Cross on the project. “That’s one cool thing about working with America’s pork producers. It’s more than just giving people a hot meal. It’s part of knowing that we’re part of the fabric that makes America a great country to live in.”

Providing a safe, wholesome pork meal is an important way producers can contribute as local residents try to clean up and Nashville strives to get back on its feet, Boettger adds.

“We always talk about how producers care for their animals, but this truly demonstrates that we care for people and our communities even more. This is a huge opportunity for producers to give back to others in need, and it demonstrates how we live out the ethical principles of the pork industry’s We Care initiative every day.”