The longstanding tradition of Farm Bureau giving back to help those in need, especially in times of disaster and crisis, continues across the country.
Through the Helping Hands co-op contribution program, Texas Farm Bureau and county Farm Bureaus donated $262,197 to community food and emergency relief efforts following February’s winter storm.
The Lone Star State faced a tough start to the year when the storm dealt another blow to Texans who were still reeling from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Resources were stretched thin, and the list of people and organizations needing assistance after the record-breaking winter storm was long.
The Helping Hands program established by TFB aimed to meet a variety of needs in communities across the state.
“This unprecedented weather event brought new hardships to Texans who were already struggling with loss of employment, fewer resources available and other issues related to the pandemic,” TFB President Russell Boening said. “This program assisted county Farm Bureaus in lending a helping hand to the local communities.”
In 2020 and 2021, TFB and county Farm Bureaus contributed a total of $815,996 in community food and emergency relief efforts. Donations in 2020 were made through Feeding the Need and Feeding Texas co-op contribution programs.
Through the Helping Hands program, TFB provided a 2-to-1 match for county Farm Bureau contributions up to $750 for any qualified donation. Entities that provide food and shelter or meet other basic needs were a priority, as well as other non-profits that were affected by this historic weather event.
A total of 123 county Farm Bureaus participated in the program, donating $98,384 directly to local food and emergency relief organizations. TFB matched $163,813, further increasing the impact of the statewide program.
“This program put the decision of how best to make an impact in the hands of county Farm Bureaus to maximize the co-op contribution from the state organization,” Boening said. “Our county organizations and Farm Bureau members stepped up to help provide assistance in a time of high demand.”
Several county Farm Bureaus made donations to Meals on Wheels, food pantries, volunteer fire departments and a weekend snack program for kids. Others donated to community and charitable groups.
Donations came in all shapes, sizes and amounts. County leaders also contributed their time and coordinated logistics for donations.
“We’re proud our county Farm Bureaus and state organization could lend a hand during these trying times. Farm Bureau considers itself one big family, and we set out to help as many folks as we could during this time of need—just like family would do,” Boening said. “Farm Bureau’s commitment to agriculture and communities has never wavered during a time of need, including Winter Storm Uri and the ongoing pandemic.”
The program ran from Feb. 18 through April 30.
This article was originally distributed as a Texas Farm Bureau news release and is republished with permission.