The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Lauren Schuster
For The Sentinel 

'Beef Counts' distributes food to those in need



HERE'S THE BEEF: Volunteers prepare to distribute food for the Beef Counts program.

Beef Counts. What do those words mean? It means that beef counts towards a well-rounded diet. The Beef Counts program was created to provide a consistent supply of zinc, iron and protein rich beef to those in need. The program is a relatively new, starting in 2010, when ranchers and the ranching community learned of the severe lack of high-quality protein reaching the food bank system. The event is open to anyone, but the goal is to reach those in need. Since 2010, various county cattlemen and women's associations have been giving back to their communities by hosting Beef Counts Events throughout Washington and Idaho. Beef is a staple hand out and the other items depend on what is in season and what has been donated.

Most recently, the Klickitat County Cattlemen and women, in Washington State, partnered with 2nd Harvest on Tuesday, June 19, at Goldendale High School to serve food to more than 180 households. This year, along with beef, potatoes, cherries, onions, apples, lemonade, brownies, and bread were given out. Recipes were given out on how to prepare the hamburger, too. The local Central Klickitat 4-H group help with preparation and handing out food during the program too. This is a recognized leadership and community service opportunity for the youth. It is very much an event for the community by the community.

Jane Lee, local cattlewoman, first brought the event to Klickitat County in 2011, recognizing that some of Klickitat County's residents were in need of a quality protein at the food bank level. Since then, it has been an annual event, and the program tries to coincide with the school being out of session. In order to supply the Beef Counts Program with money to purchase the beef, at the annual county cattlemen's banquet a Yeti brand cooler full of supplies needed to work cattle is auctioned through a live auction and proceeds then donated back to Washington States Beef Counts Program. Statewide, in addition to a donation of at least $50,000 each year, Agri Beef Co. processes and ships the donated beef in-kind from their Washington Beef plant in Toppenish. This means that 100 percent of every contribution from farmers and ranchers or the public is used to supply more beef to those in need-not overhead or promotion ( Toppenish Livestock Auction also sells an animal multiple times, with the proceeds going to the Beef Counts Program.

The cattlemen and women are a lively group of people with a goal of promoting the beef industry, providing accurate facts and reliable information to consumers concerning the nutritional value of beef, and raising beef in a way that is sustainable for the future. They are proud partners with their families, friends, and neighbors in the beef industry.

For more information on the Beef Counts Program, local or state Cattlemen/women associations, see the links below.


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