The farm and ranch families of Farm Bureau raised more than $1.1 million and donated a record of more than 28.9 million pounds of food to assist hungry Americans in 2016 as part of Farm Bureau’s “Harvest for All” program. Combined, the monetary and food donations also reached a record level of the equivalent of more than 31 million meals.
Now in its 15th year, Harvest for All is spearheaded by members of Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers & Ranchers program, but Farm Bureau members of all ages from across the nation contribute to the effort. By heeding the call to action, they help ensure Americans in need can enjoy the bounty of food farmers and ranchers produce.
In addition to raising food and funds for the initiative, farmers and ranchers tallied 9,067 volunteer hours assisting local hunger groups in 2016.
“Farm Bureau has a long tradition of helping provide nourishment for those who need it the most,” said Kalena Bruce, a cattle farmer from Missouri who chairs AFBF’s national YF&R committee. “More than 50 percent of Americans struggling with hunger live in rural areas and farming communities. We’re pleased to help families in our communities who are in need.”
Harvest for All is one of the most important community service efforts undertaken by Farm Bureau members. Although the U.S. economy is stronger overall compared to several years ago, many Americans still need help securing adequate food for their families.
The California Farm Bureau took top honors for donating the most food in 2016, 15.1 million pounds. Illinois Farm Bureau raised the most money, $978,000. Illinois Farm Bureau also tallied the most volunteer hours, 3,292 .Thanks to the generosity of Nationwide, each of those state organizations received a $750 grant to donate to a local food bank of their choice or for another Harvest for All project.
Second-place winners were the New York Farm Bureau for food donated at 13.2 million pounds; Tennessee Farm Bureau for donated funds at $48,000; and Michigan Farm Bureau for volunteer time at 1,815. Each of the second-place winners received a $500 grant from Nationwide to donate to the local food bank of their choice.
In addition, three state YF&R committees received $250 grants from Nationwide for “most innovative” programs. Those winners were Michigan, New Hampshire and Tennessee.
The awards were presented during AFBF’s FUSION Conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, earlier this month. Since Harvest for All was launched, Farm Bureau families have gathered more than 223 million pounds of food, logged more than 121,000 volunteer hours and raised $7 million in donations.