FFA bounty will go to several food pantries in the county

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 December 2013 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers – Members of the Albion FFA pause briefly for a group photo by a tractor trailer loaded with 19,000 poinds of food donated by farmers in Genesee, Monroe and Orleans counties.

ALBION – Sara Millspaugh and Kellie O’Hearn, both Albion FFA members, made the phone calls, asking local farmers if they wanted to donate produce to Community Action and local food pantries.

The farmers eagerly accepted, and gave 19,000 pounds of produce – apples, onions, cabbage, potatoes and other fruits and vegetables. The farmers also gave beef, eggs and juice, and the Orleans County Farm Bureau chipped in with $1,000 to buy ham at a discount from Pawlak’s Save-A-Lot.

“They were willing to help,” Millspaugh, the FFA president, said about the food donations.

This is the fourth year the FFA has collected food for Community Action. This year’s effort topped the 17,000 pounds last year, 9,000 pounds in 2011 and 3,000 pounds the first year.

Riley Kelly reaches for a bag of potatoes from Brian Bentley. The two FFA members were busy this morning loading and then unpacking a tractor trailer of food.

Many of the farmers have donated since the first food drive. They set aside some of their harvest for the local food pantries. The FFA connected with some new donors this food drive, and is trying harder to get a variety of fruits and vegetables, Millspaugh said.

This morning the big bounty was dropped off at Community Action on East State Street. The agency will use a lot of the food for its pantry that assists needy families. Many other churches and organizations with food pantries also collected food from the FFA harvest.

“It’s very, very helpful,” said Bonnie Eaton, who works with the food pantry at Calvary Tabernacle Church in Medina. “A lot of people can’t afford to buy apples and fresh produce because it’s expensive.”

Two other churches in Medina – Glad Tidings and St. Peters Lutheran Church – also picked up food for their pantries. Three churches in Lyndonville, the Eastern Orleans Community Center in Holley, two other pantries in Albion and the Lord’s House in Waterport all stopped by this morning to bolster their pantries.

Community Action volunteers and representatives from local food pantries worked with the FFA to unload the truck.

“It will help us to get more fresh food to the community,” said Antonio Duenas, a placement and career services developer for PathStone in Albion. “When the food is fresh, it’s always better.”

The following farms contributed food: Bannisters (Excelsior Farms), Brown’s Berry Patch, CY Farms, Kludt Brothers, Jim Kirby, Kreher’s, Martin Farms, Panek, Patryka Farms, Root Brothers, Steve Nesbitt, Steve Starowitz, Torrey Farms, Triple G and Poverty Hill (the Neal family.)