Cultivate Food Rescue will use livestock it purchased at the St. Joseph County Fair to supply tens of thousands of meals to local food banks. The non-profit said it purchased 79 animals but also received 40 donated animals.
Jim Conklin, the Executive Director of Cultivate Food Rescue, said that it is incredible to see such a large donation to the non-profit organization.
“We go to the auction just like other auction bidders,” said Conklin, “we purchased 79 animals and had 40 donated. Some of the largest donors at the auction were local companies. What is really cool is that the St. Joseph County 4H Auction allows us to be the turn-buyer. So, when somebody bids on animals and wins that bid, they can select to donate.”
Conklin said the benefits of this go well-beyond just the donation of food. He said that the food itself will stay local, literally from farm to tables in St. Joseph County. Cultivate is sending that livestock to Martin’s Custom Butchering, the processing costs are covered by Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry, a state program.
By purchasing livestock at the 4H auction, kids in the 4H shows are also supported in this partnership.
“Without Cultivate, we wouldn’t have sold almost 120 animals,” said Brittni Gendron, 4H Youth Development Educator. “So that’s 120 projects that are then funded for next year. So that’s incredible. We have about 936 kids in our program this year and we hope that that grows so that we can have more kids donating more animals to Cultivate. This project that we have here, I’m hoping will inspire others to do the same.”
Almost 31-thousand pounds of meat is expected to return to Cultivate. That is expected to be enough for 62,000 meals. Leaders of both organizations said this is a great way to teach kids about community while serving St. Joseph County.