When the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association initiated its Beef Drive for Saskatchewan food banks last year, it had modest goals. “Our members just wanted to pitch in and help people,” SSGA President Shane Jahnke said.
The SSGA thought 1,000 pounds of packaged ground beef would be a realistic target. By the end of the inaugural campaign, Saskatchewan ranchers had donated 8,500 pounds of beef worth $48,000.
This year their goal is to contribute 10,000 pounds of fresh ground beef, and they’re well on their way. On World Food Day October 16, the SSGA donated 3,000 pounds to the food banks and have already donated a total of 4,000 pounds this fall.
Producers donate beef cattle or cash towards processing, and three packers –Treen Packers, West Bridgeford Meats and Western Prime Meat Processor – process the meat. The Beef Drive got a $10,000 US boost from Elanco Animal Health’s 100 Communities initiative, whose goal is to eliminate hunger in 100 communities worldwide.
“Our first year was an overwhelming success and with Elanco’s help we hope to donate even more this year,” Jahnke said.
“The food banks are doing fantastic work to help people put good, nutritious food on the table. Ranchers are always willing to help out a neighbour, and the Beef Drive is our way of supporting the food banks and their clients.”
Steve Compton, Executive Director of Food Banks of Saskatchewan, said the Beef Drive fills an important need. “Nutritious protein such as ground beef is very difficult for Saskatchewan food banks to provide to families looking for assistance during difficult times,” he said.
“Thanks to this amazing campaign by the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association and Elanco Animal Health, food banks can ensure that emergency hampers are well rounded and can provide multiple menu options.”
For more information on how you can contribute to the Beef Drive, contact the SSGA office at (306) 757-8523.