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Limestone man donates 780 pounds of pork for needy

September 16, 2018

LIMESTONE — Area organizations that feed the needy rely on the generosity of area residents to accomplish this task.

Rarely, however, do they see the type of giving that came from 35-year-old Jared Mueller.

Mueller, president of Kankakee-based Another Level Tower Services Inc. and a 1999 Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School graduate, donated 780 pounds of freshly butchered pork to four Kankakee County organizations that help those in need.

Mueller purchased the hogs from area youth at the conclusion of the Kankakee County Fair.

Mueller wanted to share this story with the public. He’s not sharing it for pats on the back.

“I started out on hopes and a dream. I didn’t have any money, but businesses around me supported me,” he said. “Now, I’m able to help out others. I would like others to give back to the community as well. I’m hoping this story might help others to do the same.”

Mueller said this idea only came to him within the past couple weeks.

He’s purchased livestock from the fair in past years. After he would have it processed at the Papineau Locker, he normally shared it with his customers and employees.

He declined to reveal the cost of the hogs and the butchering process.

This year, however, while the meat was being cut, he had another idea. Why not help organizations that feed the hungry?

He put together a list of organizations that feed people and began contacting them.

The list included The Salvation Army, Gift of God Street Church and Harbor House, all in Kankakee, and Fortitude Community Outreach in Bourbonnais.

He contacted them; and they, of course, were overjoyed to receive the gift.

Dawn Broers, the founder of Fortitude Community Outreach, an organization that helps feed and clothe the needy, had a problem. Her organization had no freezer.

Mueller said not to worry. He contacted JoAnne Keen, owner of Frank’s Appliance in Bradley. Keen donated a 16-cubic-foot upright freezer to the organization.

So, why is Mueller doing these good works? Is he seeking fame? A pat on the back?

He said he isn’t.

“I want to get other people involved with giving,” he said. “There is so much people can do. If you can’t afford to give due to finances, then volunteer. Get involved.

“Let’s slow down the world a little bit and enjoy each other a little bit more. We’ve gone from helping a person who was down to using them as a doormat.”

Raised by Teresa Mueller, a single mother and school teacher, Mueller said the silver spoon never was in his mouth. He worked mowing lawns and shoveling snow as a youth. But, he also knows, there are many people in need of help.

So does Lt. Scott Parnell, the director of The Salvation Army in Kankakee.

“For us, this is huge,” he said. The Salvation Army typically feeds 60 to 100 people lunch five days per week.

“Seeing the generosity here is mind blowing. Because of the generosity, we are able to add things to our menu. This is super generous.”

Parnell said the pork could last upward of two to three months.

“Meat is always something we need,” he said.

Parnell said the freezer items needed to be moved around and organized to make room for the meat, but that was a good problem to address.

“Donations are always a pleasant surprise, but the generosity here is fantastic,” Parnell said.

Parnell said the organization never knows where its food will come from, but they always have enough.

“We don’t always know how we are going to provide, but we trust in God,” he said.

But it’s sure nice to have people like Mueller — someone thinking of others {span}—{/span} within the community.

Mueller summarized by saying, “So many people don’t realize how many people are struggling. If there is no support, you are alone; and it can be a cold, cruel world out there.”

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