The Hog Heaven Swine Club raised money to purchase an under-weight pig that they will donate to a family in need

by: PHOTO BY KATHY PUCKETT - LEFT TO RIGHT: Mica Allen, Raquel Middaugh, Cameron Kleffner, EJ Allen and Jerad Puckett stand in front of the under-weight pig raised by Kleffner that the Hog Heaven Swine Club raised money to purchase and will donate to a family in need.

Back in May of this year, Cindy Middaugh and Kathy Puckett — both leaders of the 4H Hog Heaven Swine Club in Prineville — came up with a unique project for the club members.

They knew that when the Crook County Fair rolled around, not all pigs would “make weight,” meaning they would not reach the required market selling weight of 220 pounds. This can be hard on the 4H members who put a lot of time and effort into raising their pigs with the hope of getting a good price at the end of the fair.

Not wanting to disappoint any of the young pig owners, Middaugh and Puckett decided to raise money in the months prior to the fair in order to purchase a pig and bring a sense of accomplishment to a young owner.

They also knew that their purchase could do more than help out a young owner. They knew that needy families in the area could use the meat.

“My husband, Ryan, knew of a family in the area that had been having a hard time. So, ahead of time, we knew what we wanted to do with the meat once processed,” said Middaugh.

So the Hog Heaven Swine Club started fundraising in coordination with Ray’s Food Place. They coordinated a bottle and can drive in Ray’s parking lot and bagged groceries to raise money for the pig purchase.

“The whole club got involved and we raised $900! I was amazed at how much money we made,” said Cindy Middaugh.

“The kids were great. Caleb Arnold, Chole Arnold, Victor Lopez, Shelia Rogers, Zach Young, Mica Allen, Raquel Middaugh, EJ Allen, and Jerad Puckett all pitched in,” said Kathy Puckett.

When fair time rolled around, the club kept their eyes open for a pig that didn’t “make weight” and likely wouldn’t be sold. They found the perfect swine.

Cameron Kleffner raised a pig that weighed in just shy of the 220 pound requirement. At 213 pounds, his pig was seven pounds under weight.

“He (Cameron) was disappointed that his pig didn’t make weight. The pig just wouldn’t eat, not even glazed donuts, so having the Club step up and purchase the pig was a tremendous thing. It really made him feel good about his effort,” said Devin Kleffner, Cameron’s father.

The Hog Heaven Swine Club paid Cameron $700 and decided to have Butcher Boys process the pig.

When Lanny Berman of Butcher Boys heard the story about donating the meat to a needy family, he decided to do the butchering, cutting, and wrapping for free as a donation. The entire pig will be given to the family in the near future.

The success of the fundraising drive, swine purchase, and meat donation has blessed many along the way, not the least of which are the members of the Hog Heaven Swine Club.

"We plan to do this again because it was so successful. It touched many hearts and we want to thank everyone who donated cans and bottles, a big thank you to Ray's Food Place for allowing us to park our trailer in their lot, and also to Butcher Boys," said Cindy Middaugh.

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