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Foodgrains projects generate over $1M in relief

Posted on November 27, 2013 by Sunny South News

A pair of local Canadian Foodgrains Bank projects have wrapped up this year’s efforts and have been able to generate enough funds to provide over a million dollars in relief to battle Third World starvation.

The Coaldale-Lethbridge project raised $150,000 while the Picture Butte project generated $98,000 this year. The funds are matched 4:1 by the Canadian government meaning over $1.2 million will be going to the foodgrains bank on behalf of volunteers and donors from this region.

This is the 12th year for the Picture Butte growing project and one of the organizers, Leighton Kolk said this year’s crop was a reasonable crop given the growing conditions.

“It was an average crop.”

He said it was the support of buyers and donors that made it possible to raise close to $100,000 this year with the project.

“We had a very successful project.”

He said the location for the project, right on Highway 25 just north of Picture Butte, was ideal and helped generate a lot of interest on harvest day. A crowd of people turned up to help with the harvest, enjoy the barbecue and just be part of the event.

“We ended up having a really good year.”

With commodity prices lower in other parts of the world right now, Kolk said the funds generated by the local foodgrains projects will be able to buy more than in previous years.

“A dollar goes farther than it did a year or two ago.”

The funds donated to the foodgrains bank are used to buy locally grown products in other parts of the world where hunger relief is needed. In this manner those who need the food can get it and those that grow it can sell it creating a win-win situation in Third World countries.

“We’re happy with the project and looking forward to next year.”

The local committee is currently seeking land for the 2014 project.

“We’re hoping to secure land by January.”

Kolk said the organizing committee appreciates the annual support generated for the project. He noted there are always a core of traditional supporters, those who participate every year but there are also new people every year who come to the project and provide additional support.

“They help breathe new life into it.”

The Coaldale-Lethbridge project has just completed its sixth crop for the foodgrains bank but that doesn’t mean donations can’t continue to be made.

“You can donate all year long,” said Herb Wall, project treasurer.

Even in the face of some nasty weather earlier this year the Coaldale-Lethbridge project manage to escape damage even as fields around it were destroyed by hail.

Larry Penner, an organizer with the project, said there were members of the organizing committee that saw their own crops destroyed.

“We were unbelievably blessed.”

“A lot of our board members experienced a major loss but this particular field survived.”

He was impressed with the number of people who turned out for the harvest day.

There was a major influx of donations on the day of the harvest with over $15,000 generated in that one day. Penner said the harvest day donations have never been that high before.

He noted people are not just coming out for the free barbecue, they are taking the opportunity to get involved, sponsoring acres and donating to the project.

The $150,000 raised this year was up about $23,000 over what the local project has been able to generate previously.

He was pleasantly surprised by the number and is already looking ahead to next year. Land has already been secured for the 2014 project and will be announced in the new year.

“We’re looking forward to next year’s crop.”

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