The farm and ranch families of Farm Bureau raised more than $1.2 million and donated a record of nearly 42 million pounds of food to assist hungry Americans as part of Farm Bureau’s “Harvest for All” program in partnership with Feeding America. Combined, the monetary and food donations also reached a record level of the equivalent of more than 46 million meals.
Now in its 13th 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. In all, 23 state Farm Bureaus and the American Farm Bureau Federation heeded the call to action. The joint effort between Farm Bureau and Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger relief organization, is a national community action program through which farmers and ranchers can help ensure every American enjoys the bounty of food they produce.
In addition to raising food and funds for the initiative, farmers and ranchers tallied nearly 14,000 volunteer friend hours assisting local hunger groups in 2014.
“By working together and sharing our bounty, we’re able to help nourish those who need help the most,” said Jon Hegeman, a greenhouse grower from Alabama who chairs the AFBF YF&R committee.
“No one in America should have to go without food,” Hegeman said. “Through the coordinated efforts of America’s farmers and ranchers and Harvest for All, the equivalent of 46 million meals made it to the tables of those who needed it the during the past year.”
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 a few years ago, many Americans still need the help provided by Feeding America and its national network of local food assistance organizations, according to Hegeman.
“The American Farm Bureau and its Young Farmers & Ranchers have consistently contributed to Harvest for All throughout our 13-year partnership, providing much-needed assistance for the one in six Americans who are struggling with hunger,” said James Borys, regional produce manager at Feeding America.
The Florida Farm Bureau took top honors for donating the most food in 2014, 16,978,541 pounds. Illinois Farm Bureau raised the most money, $1,034,541. Illinois Farm Bureau also tallied the most volunteer friend hours, 4,043. Thanks to the generosity of Chevrolet, each of those state organizations received a $1,250 grant to donate to a local food bank of their choice or for another Harvest for All project.
Second-place winners were the California Farm Bureau for food donated at 12,775,725 pounds; Indiana Farm Bureau for donated funds at $46,836; and Michigan Farm Bureau for volunteer time at 3,640. Each of the second-place winners received a $750 grant from Chevrolet to donate to the local food bank of their choice.
In addition, three state YF&R committees received $500 grants from Chevrolet for “most innovative” programs. Those winners were Georgia, Arizona and North Carolina.
The awards were presented during AFBF’s FUSION Conference in Nashville earlier this month. Since Harvest for All was launched, Farm Bureau families have gathered more than 147 million pounds of food, logged more than 97,000 volunteer hours and raised more than $4.8 million in donations. Combined, the food and money donations are the equivalent of more than 166 million meals.