What’s a blog without a little neglect now and then? Ok, it’s not as good as a blog without a little neglect. And everyone is busy, so I’m not going to start the excuse-making. Instead, I’d love to share the story of a project I was working on, while I was not posting on the blog.
Here in Washington, we have this program called Beef Counts: Washington’s Beef Community United Against Hunger. In short, Beef Counts was created by Washington’s Beef Community to help get more beef into the food bank system. It makes it easier for farmers and ranchers to donate beef. You can’t just go and drop off a steer at the local food pantry, now can you.
Our food bank partners Second Harvest (Eastern WA) and Food Lifeline (Western WA) illuminated the issue for us beef raising rancher types: in Eastern Washington, before Beef Counts, only four percent of food bank donations were high quality protein. Problem is, everyone needs the protein and nutrition found in beef to be healthy.
This is especially true for the most vulnerable in our communities served by food banks – children who are growing, and the elderly, who are often fighting off illnesses and diseases that can accompany their age. Half of the people served by food banks are children and seniors.
Beef Counts is a partnership of Agri-Beef Co., Washington Cattle Feeders Association, Washington Cattlemen’s and Cattlewomen’s Associations, Washington Livestock Marketer’s Association (the cattle auctions in Washington), and the Washington State Beef Commission. Thanks to Agri-Beef’s long standing commitment of a generous $50,000 a year (minimum) investment, as well as the in-kind processing, packaging, and shipping of the beef, Beef Counts launched with a great deal of momentum. Individual donations, proceeds from rollover auctions, and outreach at the local level have fueled the program’s success at addressing the need for beef to reach food banks.
Since the program launched in 2010, Beef Counts has delivered over half a million beef servings to people in need. This is a good news story. The kind the media rarely covers, but sometimes they do!
This Spring, Beef Counts teamed up with Haggen and Top Foods stores across Western Washington to raise funds and raise awareness of the need for protein to reach food banks. Beef sales and donations at the cash register raised over $20,500 for Beef Counts!
Stay tuned for more posts showing exactly what I was up to in March and earlier this month in support of Beef Counts! In the meantime, you can help! A secure, tax-deductible donation can be made online at anytime through this link. One-hundred percent of your donation provides beef to Second Harvest in Eastern Washington or Food Lifeline in Western Washington (your choice).