Belmont County School Backpack Program showcased in Austin

Belmont County Farm Bureau received one of the 24 County Activities of Excellence awards presented by the American Farm Bureau. The awards celebrate unique, local, volunteer-driven programming and serve as models of innovation for local program development. The winning counties received a grant to fund participation in the Farm Bureau CAE Showcase at the 2020 American Farm Bureau Annual Convention and IDEAg Trade Show in Austin, Texas in January. AFBF received more than 100 entries across all membership categories. 

The award winning project for Belmont County Farm Bureau was a School Backpack Program. This program focused on the need of food for students on the weekend when school meals are not being provided. In Belmont County, 260 backpacks need supplied with food each week and the number continues to rise.  Contributions from 189 donors provided $43,972 which was used to purchase 10.4 tons of bulk ingredients from The Outreach Program. With each person working varying amounts of time, 381 volunteers of all ages, packaged macaroni and cheese, apple cinnamon oatmeal, and minestrone soup meals during a 13 hour time period. This effort resulted in 25,000 packages of meals, for a total of 150,000 servings of food. The packaged meals were then distributed to the four schools in Belmont County that had expressed a need. 

Belmont County Farm Bureau members Devin and Allie Cain, Debbie Cook and Sheryl Schaner had the opportunity to share information about the project at the Convention. Devin Cain, who serves on the county board of trustees, was instrumental in the implementation and success of the School Backpack Program.

“I want to thank everyone that donated their time or money to the Belmont County Farm Bureau School Backpack Program. There were many hours spent developing and implementing this program. Because of generous donations, and our loving and caring communities, we are able to send nutritious meals home every weekend for the underprivileged kids in Belmont County, he said. “Without all the help we received, this program would have never been a success. Thank you all again.”

Belmont County Farm Bureau is a grassroots membership organization that works to support our county’s food and farm community. For more information, or to become a member, contact Belmont County Farm Bureau, 740-425-3681, 100 Colonel Drive, Barnesville, OH, 43713.

Pictured representing Belmont County Farm Bureau at the AFBF Convention in Austin, were Devin and Allie Cain and son, Emery; back row, Debbie Cook and Sheryl Schaner