"Feeding the Hungry"
Over 12-million children and 15-million households are currently suffering from food insecurity. Realizing this vast number needed to drop, I interviewed Kendra Graham, a Field Specialist in Livestock at the University of Missouri, and Josh Wilson, the Executive Director of Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry to get their opinion on how this number could lower.
Kendra Graham’s job with Extension provide a research-based education to producers. A way she is able to assist those in need of food is to provide those with information and knowledge to raise their own livestock. “Other ways University Extension can help is through the food and nutrition program. Specialists in nutrition can visit with people to help them sign up for food assistance. These specialists can also teach healthy eating habits and educate on food types and how to prepare it.” Graham states.
Josh Wilson is in charge of Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry (FHFH), which provides nutritious meat from donated deer, elk and livestock to local food banks and ministries that feed those in need. Hunters and farmers are invited to donate their deer and livestock to participating local butcher shops who process and package the meat at a discounted price for the organization. Financial donations to the organization are used to pay the meat processing bills so that hunters, farmers, and the organizations that receive the meat can participate free of charge.
I asked them both if they had any ideas on how people in a community can help out those struggling with hunger and Graham and Wilson both agreed that to help out those in need people can donate food, money, or their time at local food banks. FFA students may also participate by conducting a local food drive to raise awareness on feeding those that are in need of food.
I asked them how they think agribusinesses can use their managing to help the hungry. The two agreed, if there are supplies that exceeds demand the product could be distributed. Graham mentioned, “There are cases where product supply exceeds demand and the extra product needs to be utilized quickly before spoiling. In this situation that extra product can be sent to organizations that distribute food to the people that need it.” Wilson also made a great point that, “They could also work to educate farmers who have hunters on their property to help control deer numbers and crop damage about programs like FHFH that can use harvested deer to provide meat to the needy.”
My final question was, what are some ways you think that farmers could benefit the hungry? Both Graham and Wilson agreed that farmers could participate in local food drives and organizations. Wilson also mentioned, “Another idea would be to plant a few extra rows or an extra field and invite a local gleaning program to come and harvest it for use in feeding the needy of the community.”
Whether you are a farmer, an FFA student, or wanting to help someone in need, if we work to waste less food, donate more time, and participate in local food drives we can reduce the percentage of those that are hungry.