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NEW Cooperative has stepped up again this year

About 2,000 free hams are being distributed to those in need

Food, like twinkling lights and carefully wrapped presents, is a major component of the holiday season.

At family meals across the area, dining room tables will be just about creaking under the weight of all kinds of good things to eat. But unfortunately, not everyone can afford even a modest holiday meal.

NEW Cooperative Inc. has stepped up again to help meet that need and ensure that more area residents will have a good meal this holiday season.

The staff of the Fort Dodge based cooperative is doing that by distributing about 2,000 free hams. This year 1,200 of those hams were given to people who received a coupon from Upper Des Moines Opportunity Inc. Another 800 hams will be given to 17 food pantries in the 13 counties where NEW Cooperative facilities are located.

This is the third year that the effort, called Hams for Hunger, has been conducted.

Many of the hams were distributed in Fort Dodge Tuesday at the NEW Cooperative office on First Avenue South. City firefighters joined the cooperative employees and the staff of Upper Des Moines Opportunity Inc. to distribute the hams and direct traffic.

“In our minds, we’re in the business of producing food and it’s just a natural fit and a way to give back to some of the less fortunate people in these communities,” said NEW Cooperative General Manager Dan Dix.

”Our employees do all the work,” Dix added. ”They feel very good about doing it and seeing the reactions and some of the conversations with the people that we’re sharing the hams with is kind of priceless for some of them. Every year, we have people who tell us, ‘We wouldn’t have anything for Christmas if it wasn’t for this.”

The crew at NEW Cooperative Inc. didn’t have to do this hunger-fighting effort, and yet they did. We thank them for their dedication to their neighbors who need some help.

We also thank the staff of Upper Des Moines Opportunity Inc. for their constant work to help those who are less fortunate.

And we salute the city firefighters for doing yet again something to help their community.

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