With the help of the Texas Farm Bureau Feeding Texas Co-op Contribution Program, several counties across the Lone Star State have donated thousands of dollars to feed hundreds of families in their communities.
The program, established by TFB in May in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, aims to pair food banks and other food-relief entities with local restaurants and caterers. TFB is matching a county Farm Bureau donation of up to $1,000 for any food-related project during the pandemic.
“The coronavirus pandemic has created real food hardships for many across Texas, from those who are most vulnerable to food disruption, to restaurants and meal providers,” said TFB Executive Director/COO Si Cook.
To date, 119 county Farm Bureaus have donated nearly $200,000 through participation in the program.
Waller County Farm Bureau, located in Southeast Texas, used the Texas Farm Bureau Feeding Texas Co-op Contribution Program to provide $3,000 in funding to area caterers, who then worked through local school districts to distribute heat-and-eat family-sized meals to those in need. Each food distribution package contained enough food to feed four-to-six people.
“It worked out well, and we’re very proud to have been able to help local businesses affected by the pandemic, as well as supply food to families who need it,” said Waller CFB President Tom Paben. “And it was really gratifying to see those families receive food that farmers and ranchers work hard to grow.”
In the northwestern part of the state, Bailey County Farm Bureau participated in the Feeding Texas Co-op Contribution Program by donating $750 each to three organizations, the Bailey County Ministerial Alliance Food Pantry, Bailey County Oneita Wagnon Senior Center and Muleshoe Meals on Wheels.
“There are numerous families in the county relying on those services,” said Bailey CFB President Kem Bales. “We’re proud to be able to help them feed our citizens and lend a hand in these trying times.”
Walker County Farm Bureau, located in the east central part of the state, used the Feeding Texas Co-op Contribution Program to help the Houston Food Bank provide groceries to those in need.
Walker CFB already sponsored a bi-monthly food donation event, but board member Colt Christian said the organization was able to do more by using the TFB matching grant program.
“We buy the food from Houston Food Bank,” Christian said in an interview with the Texas Farm Bureau Radio Network. “We sponsor an 18-wheeler truck where they deliver the food, and then we help box it, bag it up and send it out.”
Though cars started arriving three hours before the drive-thru event was scheduled to start, Christian said they were able to provide something for everyone who showed up.
DeWitt County Farm Bureau, in Southeast Texas, leveraged the TFB grant with another program provided by a local non-profit, the Cuero Community Foundation.
The three food banks in DeWitt County were “all facing increased distribution right now, so we wanted to do everything we could to help out,” said Warren Seidel, DeWitt CFB board member.
DeWitt CFB made a total donation of $2,000 to Cuero Area Ministerial Alliance House of Cuero, Yorktown Assistance Ministries and Yoakum’s First Baptist Food Pantry.
Also in Southeast Texas, Victoria County Farm Bureau used the Texas Farm Bureau Program to help feed local senior citizens.
“We normally do our Food Connections event at the senior citizens’ center where we serve them a meal and do some food and monetary donations,” Victoria CFB President Leann Hempel said. “But this year we thought that might not be what we needed, so we called, and they said they could really use more funds for Meals on Wheels.”
By taking advantage of the matching grant funds offered, Victoria CFB presented Meals on Wheels Victoria with a $2,000 check.
Baylor County Farm Bureau, located in the northern part of the state, donated $2,000 to the Seymour Meals on Wheels organization using the Feeding Texas Co-op Contribution Program.
“We try to do everything we can to help people in our community and donating funds to help keep food coming to area residents is a worthwhile cause,” said Baylor CFB President James Tucker.
The Feeding Texas Co-Op Contribution Program concludes on Aug. 31.
The information and quotes presented in this article were originally published on the Texas Farm Bureau website and are reprinted with permission.