Farm Credit Mid-America farmers and team members from across the cooperative’s four-state territory came together in 2019 to provide fruit and produce to families in underserved communities.
More than 280 volunteers from Farm Credit Mid-America helped glean more than 17,500 pounds of fruit and produce from four farms, or prepared boxes for distribution at more than a dozen distribution centers, to support Farms to Food Banks programs. Over the last four years, Farm Credit Mid-America’s help has provided or supplemented meals for more than 1 million families, says Bill Johnson, president and CEO of Farm Credit Mid-America.
“Farms to Food Banks connects farmers in our territory and local communities in need,” he says. “Working alongside our farmer friends and with distribution centers, we're helping make healthy food available to the public, and strengthening the communities where we live and work.”
Farms to Food Banks directs surplus and donated agriculture products from farmers to food banks. The program partners with agencies to help get food on people’s tables, with volunteers harvesting farmer-grown produce and food banks processing and distributing the produce to families in need.
In addition to providing volunteers, Farm Credit financially supports the initiative through its corporate citizenship program. Participating farmers say they are thankful because it gives them the chance to provide food to people who need it, instead of turning it into compost.
Farm Credit employees want to help neighbors
Employees appreciate the opportunity as well.
“We helped out in the Community Cupboard, which provides families in need the feel of a grocery store shopping experience,” says Brent Ditmars, regional vice president, agriculture lending in Franklin, Ind. “The cupboard is open four days a week and serves thousands of people each month. The day really put things in perspective on how fortunate we all are.”
“Helping our neighbors is extremely important,” says Chuck Millhollan, senior vice president, operational process excellence, business technology. “Our neighbors may be miles away, but we can always do things which support the cause of feeding our neighbors.”
“Our commitment to rural communities extends beyond providing financial services,” says Johnson. “Helping share the value and importance of agriculture to citizens who are three and four generations removed from the farm demonstrates our purpose to secure the future of rural communities and agriculture. It’s a powerful and visible way to show that it’s farmers who put food on tables across all our communities.”