From fair to food pantry

Clay’s Mauch donates prized pig to the needy

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ORANGE PARK — A Clay High sophomore who hoped to get a top bid at the county fair auction wound up donating his prized pig to a local food bank.

Clay High sophomore and 4-H member Brody Mauch spent months raising his piglet into a full-grown hog in preparation for the annual Clay County Agricultural Fair livestock auction. He not only wanted to showcase his pig at the fair, but he wanted others to know the story behind raising pigs from birth.

COVID-19 changed everything. The fair was canceled, leaving Mauch with a 280-pound pig.

“I was thinking of ways I could share my project and I decided to donate my pig...to Orange Park Methodist’s Food Pantry,” Mauch said.

Mauch paid for the processing fees to have the pig butchered and last Saturday, he delivered 200 pounds of sausage and pork chops to the food bank. Lead volunteer of Good Samaritan Food Pantry, which is run by the Orange Park United Methodist church, Julie Williams, said it’s so wonderful Mauch did this.

She said that much meat will translate to enough food to feed 30 to 40 families of four, meaning Mauch’s donation could feed up to 120 people.

“He’s really just a Good Samaritan,” Williams said. “Community help like this is always welcome. It’s a big part of why we’re able to do what we do and for him to do something like this, free of charge to us, it’s incredible.”

Mauch said this is his eighth year he’s raised a piglet into a full pig for auction but that this year, he always had plans to do something more impactful. He wanted his project to touch a wider community than the single buyer at the fairgrounds.

“I had this idea in mind before we heard about COVID but whenever we found out the fair was canceled, I knew I had a way to help people in need with my pig,” he said.

Mauch said he was sad about missing out on the fair this year but knowing how much good he could do with his pig brightened his spirits. Williams said for Mauch to do something like this, at his age, especially when he could have easily sold it that could have gone into his pockets, it really means a lot.

It was the honorable thing to do for Mauch.

“Usually I’m doing this in such a way that I’m not impacting as many people,” Mauch said. “I don’t do it for selfish reasons, but my one pig usually goes to one person at the auction and then it’s out of my hands. This time, it’s different.

“It feels great and awesome to be able to supply meat to feed that many people during a time of need like this. People are struggling in a lot of ways and to be able to maybe help some of those people, you can’t beat that feeling.”

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