On December 7, Agri Beef and local beef producers marked an important milestone in the Beef Counts program. Volunteers distributed the 1 millionth serving of beef to a family in need during the monthly Mobile Food Bank at Grace Lutheran Church in the Yakima Valley. The very first beef roasts donated through the Beef Counts program were distributed at the site in December 2010.
“It’s meaningful that we recognize this milestone here, where the first Beef Counts donations reached the community,” said local rancher Justin Waddington. “When we can provide a beef roast along with these other donated ingredients, we are empowering families to put a balanced, protein rich meal on the table.”
"When the program started, it was really just a way to make it easy for farmers and ranchers in Washington to get food to local food banks," said Bridget Coon of the Washington State Beef Commission.
Today, the beef industry’s support includes providing volunteers for Mobile Food Bank distributions. They visit with clients, help them fill boxes with food and assist them to their vehicles. In addition to beef roasts, families in need receive other fresh food items such as potatoes, apples, onions, and bread products.
“We count on the meat donated through the Washington beef community to enable us to give families a complete, nutritious meal at no cost,” said Julie Humphreys, community relations at Second Harvest. “High protein, delicious beef is a much-requested food at our mobile food distributions and thanks to the generosity of area farmers and ranchers - vulnerable families, children, and the elderly have access to the same wonderful foods we all want and deserve.”
Funds to provide beef through Second Harvest Mobile Food Banks are raised throughout the year by Washington cattle ranchers. These donations add to Agri Beef’s commitment of at least $50,000 worth of beef each year.
Beef Counts serves Second Harvest of the Inland Northwest and Food Lifeline in Western Washington. Program supporters include Agri Beef Co., Washington Cattlemen’s Association, Washington Cattle Feeders Association, Washington Livestock Marketing Association, Washington CattleWomen’s Association, and the Washington State Beef Commission. Beef Counts also runs in Idaho, providing beef to the Idaho Foodbank, with support from the Idaho Cattle Association, The Idaho CattleWomen Council and the Idaho Beef Council.