Area food pantries whose resources have been stretched because of the COVID-19 crisis got a boost Wednesday.

In a virtual press conference, the United Way of the Mark Twain Area announced a new effort to address the increasing need for food at area senior centers and food pantries.

A coalition of community partners is donating 100 hogs to feed individuals in need in Northeast Missouri.

Marion County farmer Joe Kendrick approached the United Way about donating the hogs if they could cover the $9,500 bill for processing.

Officials with Continental Cement provided the necessary funding. A Fulton firm will turn the hogs into nearly 15,000 pounds of pork, enough for about 60,000 meals. A local trucker will bring the pork back home to be distributed to senior centers and food pantries in Lewis, Marion, Monroe, Ralls and Shelby counties.

The contribution comes in light of the sudden needs of food pantries, caused by job loss and the closing of area businesses.