Three million families in rural America face food insecurity, according to Feeding America, the nation's largest domestic hunger relief organization. These rural families do not have access to enough food to sustain a healthy lifestyle. Now, thanks to the upcoming America's Farmers Food Drive, farmers can help put more food on the tables of rural Nebraskans.
The fourth annual America's Farmers Food Drive, sponsored by Monsanto in conjunction with Farm Progress and the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, will take place at Husker Harvest Days on Sept. 11-13 in Grand Island, Nebraska. The food drive, in conjunction with the Heartland United Way, will direct donations to local food programs and food pantries including Central Nebraska Community Services, Crisis Center, Hope Harbor and Salvation Army pantries. The area food pantries serve approximately 300 to 500 individuals per month in the Grand Island area.
"Community meals, food pantry shelves and local school food backpack programs need food to provide help when it is needed most," says Karen Rathke, president of Heartland United Way in Grand Island. "In 2011 more than half the youth in Hall County qualified for the free and reduce lunch program at school, another sign family budgets are stretched beyond their limits."
This is the fourth year Monsanto has sponsored a food drive at Husker Harvest Days. Since 2009, the food drive has raised the equivalent of 43,280 pounds of food for the local community.
"The food that is collected will stay local and benefit the communities of those who donated," says Linda Arnold, Monsanto customer advocacy lead. "Through the America's Farmers Food Drive, we strive to raise awareness of rural hunger. We hope to surpass 11,000 pounds, which was raised at last year's Husker Harvest Days."
Each day, the first 250 guests who donate food will receive free admission and a gift from Monsanto.
FFA and 4-H students who donate will also receive free admission to the show. Additionally, the top FFA chapters and top 4-H clubs that donate the highest amount of food, per pound, will be awarded $250 each. For every pound of food collected, Monsanto will donate $1 (up to $10,000) to Heartland United Way, and the Howard G. Buffett Foundation will donate $1 (up to $10,000) to Feeding America.
"America's farmers are already leaders in trying to create a more food secure world," says Howard G. Buffett, HGBF president. "But we must always remember that 50 million Americans struggle to keep food on the table every day; the America's Farmers Food Drive is an opportunity for farmers to do what they do best: help feed our families, friends and neighbors."
Visitors to the 2012 Husker Harvest Days can donate food at collection centers located at the four public entrance gates, in addition to the vendor entrance gate, Sept.11 through 13.
To learn more about Monsanto's commitment to farmers across America, please visit www.AmericasFarmers.com.
About The Howard G. Buffett Foundation
Established in 1999, The Howard G. Buffett Foundation's primary mission is to combat hunger and improve the standard of living for vulnerable populations throughout the world. The Foundation invests in a full spectrum of initiatives to address global hunger and food insecurity including: direct humanitarian aid for populations in crisis; agricultural development for smallholder farmers, particularly women; livelihood improvement for smallholders through commercial market access; academic and field research to increase farmer productivity in resource-constrained contexts; and advocacy campaigns to sustain and scale best practices. Learn more at www.thehowardgbuffettfoundation.org.