10,000 pounds of ground beef. 10,000 pounds of potatoes. 4,700 gallons of milk. 2,000 dozen eggs. 2,000 pounds of cheese. The City of Amarillo, High Plains Food Bank and Hillside Christian Church joined forces with local agriculture producers last week to provide these commodities to families in need.
Amidst the economic and social challenges our communities face due to COVID-19, those in agriculture remain committed to giving back. Why? They care about feeding people. And when there is a need, they find a way to help. This commitment along with community volunteers and local hunger initiatives; the High Plains Food Bank Pop-Up Pantry was able to serve 2,000 families in the Amarillo area.
“When the agriculture community recognizes a need, they find a way to respond,” said Wayne Craig, executive director of Cactus Cares. “Each of our industries has a commitment to serve our community, and this is just one way we can reach out and help our neighbors.”
According to the HPFB, requests for food assistance increased nearly 20-fold throughout the Panhandle network since mid-March. In addition, HPFB’s distribution has increased 34% since March, and in April distributed over 845,000 pounds of food, the highest amount for that month in the organization’s history.
“The High Plains is rich with agriculture production,” said Zack Wilson, executive director of the High Plains Food Bank. “We’re thankful to team up with our local farmers and ranchers as well as Hillside Christian Church to facilitate a drive-thru food pantry that will help fill the gap for families who may need a little extra to get them through this tough time.”
McKenzie Hettinga, a dairy farmer from Farwell, Texas said those involved with the event were grateful to provide some stability as the community works through this time together.
Supporters of the event include Affiliated Foods, Baptist Community Services, Cactus Cares, Cal-Maine Foods, Caviness Beef Packers, City of Amarillo, High Plains Food Bank, Hillside Christian Church, Hilmar Cheese Company, Inc., Jax Transport, Larsen Farms, Nutra Blend, Sarah Farms, Snack Pak 4 Kids, Southwest Dairy Farmers and the Texas Cattle Feeders Association.
The Amarillo area beef and dairy communities presented a check for $163,600 to the Snack Pak 4 Kids Program (SP4K). The money will provide 218,000 beef sticks to hungry students through the Snack Pak weekend hunger program. The check was presented at the first Beef 4 Kids Golf Classic (B4K), an event coordinated and led by TCFA.
“When agriculture sees a need, they go and find a way to fill it,” said Dyron Howell, founder of SP4K. “There is so much negative talk about agriculture, especially about the beef and dairy industries, but what isn’t talked about enough is the commitment these industries have to serving their communities.”
Howell said that, because the beef community saw a need and decided to address it, at-risk kids in the Texas Panhandle will now have access to 68 grams of beef and dairy protein each weekend.
“This is protein these children would not have access to otherwise,” Howell said.
The SP4K Beef Stik Program launched in October 2017 during the TCFA Convention. The program was designed to provide more protein to kids in need and allows consumers to purchase Snack Pak Beef Stiks online or in convenience stores with every purchased stick providing an additional stick to a child in need.
The BOGO program combined with the money raised through the B4K tournament will provide two beef sticks for every kid at no additional cost.
“This was our goal and vision when we started this project four years ago, but now this is a reality,” Howell said. “When we first started, kids would get about 10-12 grams of protein in their bags each weekend, which is woefully inadequate. Today, kids are getting 68 grams of protein in their bags.”
Beef provides ten essential nutrients and vitamins, including protein, zinc and iron — three key nutrients that are essential for proper growth and development of children. The SP4K Beef Stik is made of 100% chuck roast and brisket, making it the most premium beef stick on the market.
How you can contribute:
TCFA would like to congratulate XIT Feeders on winning the tournament with a score of 54. A big thanks to all of the sponsors and golfers who made this event possible. Major sponsoring organizations include Cactus Feeders, Cargill, Nutra Blend, Caviness Beef Packers, Champion Feeders, Hi-Pro Feeds, Jax Transportation, Micro Technologies, Texas Cattle Feeders Association, Tyson Foods, Baptist Community Services, Family Medical Center, Friona Industries and Kemin Industries.
See coverage of the event from the Amarillo Globe News, Beef Magazine and KAMR.
Wednesday marks National Jerky Day which means people from across the country will head to social media to proclaim their love for one of America's favorite snack foods. Rightfully so. Research shows that spreading protein intake evenly throughout the day - about 25 to 30 grams per meal or snack - may be the most beneficial for overall health and wellness. Snacking on beef jerky is a great way to help meet those goals.
But for cattle feeders, National Jerky Day, has a deeper meaning. A few years ago, a local charity organization in the Panhandle, Snack Pak 4 Kids, came to the beef and dairy community with a need. The organization had a system in place to help end weekend hunger for local children by providing a backpack filled with kid-friendly snacks each Friday of the school year, but one key element was missing from the backpack: animal protein. And what better protein to help fuel the body and mind of a young child than beef and milk.
Fast forward a few years later, and the need sparked an idea that became a reality. Now, more than 10,000 kids in the Texas Panhandle and 24,000 across the nation receive weekend bags filled with nutritious food, including the SP4K Beef Stik and Fairlife Milk, to sustain them through the weekend. The beef stick is made from 100% premium beef chuck roast and brisket and produced locally in the Texas Panhandle.
The addition of these products added an extra 54 grams of protein to each bag. That's a tremendous nutritional improvement, and it is making a difference. In fact, teachers from participating schools report better attendance, academic performance and behavior.
It gets better. For every beef stick you buy, another is provided for a child in need.
You can help provide protein for kids in need in a number of ways:
1. Buy SP4K Beef Stiks. You can order a case online, or you can purchase in-store at Pak-A-Sak,
Toot 'n Totum, Allsup's or Texas Tea.
2. Consider SP4K Beef Stiks for your next school fundraiser. Raise money for your school,
club or cause and support hungry kids.
3. Sponsor protein or dairy for your local school's SP4K Program.
4. Donate live animals to the SP4K Beef Fund. Call (806) 337-5252 for logistical information.
5. Give out SP4K Beef Stiks. What better way to spread the story of the beef and dairy communities working to end childhood hunger than by giving out sticks at your next event or meeting.
Every stick purchased provides another for a child in need. So far, because of your support, we've been able to provide over 160,000 beef sticks to kids, and that number keeps growing.