Fill the Freezer

Project led by Foundation for Appalachian Ohio

About the project.

Fill the Freezer is an innovative approach to addressing food insecurity in local communities across our region.

First piloted in Perry County by the Community Foundation for Perry County, Fill the Freezer is a partnership between local fair boards, food pantries, processors, 4-H students, and local community funds to provide meat to local food pantries, an item that is often difficult for pantries to provide.

The local community fund works with the local fair board to include a donation option as part of the regular livestock auction. The community fund partner then facilitates connections with its local food bank to determine how meat will be delivered and distributed, working with member food pantries to determine interest and available space. The partners also work with local processors who will process the donated meat from the livestock auction. Meanwhile, a community education campaign takes place to let people know that exhibitors can choose to “keep and donate” rather than “turn” their animal.

During the livestock auction, participants can elect to donate the animal for processing, with the resulting meat going to local pantries, all while supporting the young people who have spent a year raising the animals.

Growing from a smaller scale pilot in Perry County, in 2021, contributors donated 43 pigs from the Perry County Fair Junior Livestock sale, allowing thousands of pounds of sausage to fill the freezers of eight food pantries across Perry County.

Dollars to this Cause Connector project will support Perry County’s Fill the Freezer program, but will also help FAO expand the model to other counties in Appalachian Ohio.

FAO staff comments.

Fill the Freezer represents a unique program model that connects local community foundation volunteers with the local fair board and food pantries to meet a vital need in food pantries – fresh meat.

Further, it creates an opportunity for young people to learn about philanthropy and additional ways to give back to their community, all while supporting local producers and processors and the local food system more generally.

We are excited to lift up this successful model to other counties across Appalachian Ohio in 2022.

Make a donation.

To make an online donation to this project, please use the form below. For larger gifts or to donate in other ways (e.g. stock transfer, IRA transfer, or a gift through a donor advised fund), please visit

Project Status
Areas of Investment
FAO Signature Initiative Environmental Stewardship
Funds Needed

Dollars will support the processing fees (roughly $200/pig) to provide meat to local food pantries in Appalachian Ohio.

Benefits 32 counties
  • Adams
  • Ashtabula
  • Athens
  • Belmont
  • Brown
  • Carroll
  • Clermont
  • Columbiana
  • Coshocton
  • Gallia
  • Guernsey
  • Harrison
  • Highland
  • Hocking
  • Holmes
  • Jackson
  • Jefferson
  • Lawrence
  • Mahoning
  • Meigs
  • Monroe
  • Morgan
  • Muskingum
  • Noble
  • Perry
  • Pike
  • Ross
  • Scioto
  • Trumbull
  • Tuscarawas
  • Vinton
  • Washington

Want to learn more?

Contact FAO at 740.753.1111 or with any questions.


Contact Us