By Anna Skinner
The Hamilton County Harvest Food Bank has joined forces with students involved in 4-H for MEATing the Need, to assist county food pantries.
HCH will purchase beef from the 4-H Beef and Dairy Projects July 26 to provide hamburger to various food pantries around the county. Six 4-H girls have teamed up with HCH for the pilot program.
“Meat for the pantries is always a huge need,” said Anita Hagen, president of the HCH board of directors. “Protein is a nutritional component, and it’s hard to supply for the clients’ needs and expensive for clients to purchase. The 4-H (participants) spent the whole year with their animals, and when they sell them at the auction, they want to know that their animals go on to help feed the hungry in our county. It makes it a lot more meaningful.”
Madeline Teal, Hayley Williams, Chloe Henderson, Karly Dean, Chaney Smith and Mackenzie Smith all paired with HCH for their 4-H projects.
Hagen said HCH is hoping for 3,000 pounds of hamburger from the six steers. With approximately 25 food pantries receiving the meat, she said she hopes each pantry receives more than 100 pounds of frozen hamburger meat.
To purchase the steers at the auction, HCH needs $15,000. As of press time, it had raised $8,500. Donors include St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church in Carmel, Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry and the food pantries of HCH. Funds are needed by July 1.
“I think it’s good for us to donate our meat to the community to help others in need,” said Dean, 13, who is in her sixth year of 4-H. “I will be doing it again next year.”
“I think it’s great I can donate my steer to the community, because I know what my hard work is going toward and what it’s being used for,” said Henderson, 14, who is also in her sixth year of 4-H.
Hagan said HCH will be searching for 4-H participants to work with the program next year as well. Those interested can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“This is a pilot project, but if it goes really well we are looking to expand to other livestock projects, probably pork and lamb,” Hagan said.
Donations can be made online at hchfoodbank.org or via check addressed to Hamilton County Harvest Food Bank, Inc., and mailed to P.O. Box 881, Noblesville, IN 46061.