State Farm Bureaus Provide Record-Breaking Support to Food Banks
WASHINGTON, D.C., February 9, 2009 – Farm Bureau and its farm and ranch families last year raised more than $160,000 and donated more than 6.7 million pounds of food to hungry Americans through the organization’s “Harvest for All” program. Combined, the monetary and food donations provided the equivalent of 6.4 million meals through Feeding America-affiliated food banks across the country.
Both the money raised and food amount donated are the highest ever annual totals in the program’s six-year history.
Members of Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers program spearhead the Harvest for All program across the nation, but all facets of Farm Bureau contribute to the effort. The joint effort between Farm Bureau and Feeding America, formerly named America’s Second Harvest, is a national community-action program through which farmers can help ensure that every American can enjoy the bounty produced on America’s farms and ranches.
“America’s farmers and ranchers are committed to hunger relief through Harvest for All and Feeding America,” said Mathew Meals, AFBF YF&R chairman, who owns and operates a farm near Newville, Penn. “Young farmers and ranchers know they are blessed to earn a living by providing food, fuel and fiber to America and the world. As Farm Bureau members, we are dedicated to helping those less fortunate than we are, and Harvest for All is a great way to share our bounty.”
Aside from raising food and funds for the initiative, farmers and ranchers tallied 5,738 volunteer hours assisting hunger groups through the Harvest for All program.
“We are deeply grateful to Farm Bureau,” said Vicki Escarra, president and CEO of Feeding America. “Through their Harvest for All program, they make a tremendous contribution to our efforts to help provide food to millions of Americans who live at risk of hunger. Their donations of time, food, and funds have been invaluable to us. Their sustained efforts supporting us year after year have made a significant difference in the lives of many people,”
The Illinois Farm Bureau took top honors for raising the most funds this past year at $66,978. The New York Farm Bureau was number one in food donated at 3,986,592 pounds. The top honor for volunteer time went to the Michigan Farm Bureau at 1,954 hours. Each YF&R Committee from those three winning states was presented a $3,000 grant from the American Farm Bureau Federation for donating in their name to the food bank of their choice.
The Illinois YF&R Committee also received second place in donations of food and volunteer hours while the Indiana YF&R Committee received second place honors in funds donated. Second place winners received $2,000 grants for each category to donate.
In addition, five state YF&R Committees received $1,000 grants for most innovative programs. The winners are North Dakota for its “Fill the Dome” food drive; Michigan for its 4-H Club, county Farm Bureau food drive contest; Kansas for its “Food 4 Kids” fundraiser at the Kansas Farm Bureau annual meeting; Illinois for its “Penny Wars” county Farm Bureau yearlong fundraising competition and Indiana for its traveling “Piggy Bank Competition.”
The awards were presented this week, during AFBF’s YF&R Conference in Sacramento, Calif.
Since Harvest for All was launched six years ago, Farm Bureau families have gathered nearly 16 million pounds of food, logged more than 30,000 volunteer hours and raised more than $778,000 in donations. Combined, the food and monetary donations amount to nearly 18 million meals.
AFBF President Bob Stallman said support for Feeding America through the Harvest for All program remains an important priority for Farm Bureau this year.
“The effort is all the more important in these difficult economic times,” Stallman said. “More people are relying on food banks to help feed themselves and their families. Farm Bureau and our farm and ranch families are committed to help meet this need through Harvest for All.”
|Contacts:|| Tracy Taylor Grondine