The Buena Vista County Food for Life Program was generously donated a sign from Farm Bureau last week. The sign was donated in order to display the day and time of collection of the program to the community.
The Food for Life Program is a local mission project for the Lakeside Presbyterian Church that helps eligible families receive meat through Upper Des Moines Opportunity, Inc. The families must qualify for the program by meeting certain guidelines, including being 150 percent of poverty level and they have to live in Buena Vista County. Families are then able to receive one package per household in their home every month.
Food for Life was established in 1983 and has helped thousands of families. The concept for the program was developed by a Paullina farmer who approached a Presbytery pastor in regards to the non-thrifty hogs on his farm. It was decided that the otherwise unmarketable hogs should be donated to those who are in need.
Since its establishment, the Food for Life Program has assisted an average of 450 to 500 families a year. Each your approximately 5,000 lbs. of processed meat is donated by producers.
The program started its first year with 40 animals, or 3,460 pounds of meat being donated. Since then, the program has donated $180,000 worth of processed meat over the past 23 years to eligible families.
"In the past we had a lot of family farms in business. Currently, the hog operations far surpass the family farms. We would like to have a breakthrough with the hog confinements and setup a way in which the companies could contribute to Food for Life," Lakeside Presbyterian Pastor Duane Queen said.
The Food for Life Program has three costs: transportation, processing, and storage. First, the donated animals have to be transported to the Paullina Locker where they are processed. The animals are taken to this particular locker because in order for the meat to be given to a third party (the families that qualify at Upper Des Moines Opportunity, Inc.), the meat must pass USDA inspection. After being transported and processed, the program must then pay for the storage of the meat at the locker. Currently, there are 23 lockers of meat in storage.
"We would like to keep the meat going as much as possible," said Dwayne Queen, Pastor of Lakeside Presbyterian Church. "The more meat that is donated, the more families we can help."
If you would like to donate an animal to Food for Life, the hours are 9 to 10:30 a.m. on Wednesdays. The trailer is located on the east end of the south lot of Hultgren Implement. For more information, call Frank Alderton at 732-2474.
"We would like to thank Jeff Hultgren of Hultgren Implement for allowing us to put our trailer and sign on his property," said Frank Alderton, Food for Life Chairman. "This is a great location and we are very appreciative."