Community Action Against Hunger
Keener Farm Charitable Organization Joins Hunger-Relief Efforts
By Lauren Tappel, Development and Marketing Manager, and Kelsi Steinkamp from Keener Farm Charitable Organization
You know what weighs the same as two tractor tires and is heavier than 17 bushels of apples?
The 850 pounds of beef donated last week to The Foodbank, Inc. in Dayton!
In June, the nearly two-century-old family-owned Keener Farm launched a charity initiative to fight hunger in the community while supporting local farm economies across Ohio: Keener Farm Charitable Organization. KFCO purchases cattle from local farmers, processes the cattle into ground beef, and then donates the meat directly to Ohio food banks, pantries, soup kitchens, and faith-based organizations.
Matthew Keener (Keener Farm Charitable Organization) and
Michelle L. Riley (CEO of The Foodbank, Inc.)
standing next to the first donation of ground beef
This is a welcomed operation during the current period of economic instability with supply shortages, inflation, and increasing numbers of people in need of support.
The Foodbank works to supply a network of more than 100 local nonprofits with the nutritious foods needed to alleviate hunger across the Miami Valley each day. While most food is sourced through food drives, state and federal food programs, and retail donations, The Foodbank also purchases wholesale food items needed to fill gaps on the shelves. Inflation has affected everyone’s grocery budget, and it has also impacted The Foodbank’s wholesale food purchasing budget as purchases doubled from $0.55/pound in fiscal year 2021 to $1.07/pound in fiscal year 2022.
The idea for KFCO began one year ago around the Thanksgiving table as Matthew Keener, founder of KFCO, discussed with family the challenging financial times this country was descending into. Matthew is a strong believer that, especially in tough times, those who are able to give have a responsibility to do so. As conversation progressed on that Thanksgiving Day, a path to help began to unfold. Many people have donated their time and expertise to design and implement this charitable model, and now it’s a tried-and-true process, with cattle purchases, processing and donation having occurred!
Montgomery County Commissioners Judy Dodge and Carolyn Rice
stand with Matthew Keener in front of The Foodbank, Inc.
“At The Foodbank, we pride ourselves on being good stewards of donated funds. When we need to mitigate gaps on our shelves, a lot of effort is put into purchasing food in a fiscally responsible manner. Even when inflation is low, purchasing fresh protein can be a challenge” Lauren Tappel, Development and Marketing Manager for The Foodbank explains, “In particular, it can be difficult to justify the purchase of beef when The Foodbank could purchase a more affordable option, such as chicken, at a lower price. Support from Keener Farm Charitable Organization provides our food bank with local, high-quality beef not often seen in the charitable food system.”
“When an individual is food insecure, they often skip meals or buy less groceries to pay for other expenses such as rent, utilities, gas, medications, and so on,” Tappel continues, “Keeping this in mind, KFCO’s donation makes a significant impact as the retail price for ground beef is often above what our neighbors experiencing food insecurity can afford. We are so grateful for their partnership and for providing the opportunity to offer such a fresh, healthy protein option to families in need.”
The Foodbank was a grateful recipient of this donation, which will benefit 98 partner agencies across Montgomery, Greene and Preble counties. Having the product delivered directly from the farm to The Foodbank’s location will not only ensure freshness, but also grant a longer time frame for distribution into the community.
To join the fight against hunger, you can learn more and support the Keener Farms Charitable Organization by visiting keenerfarmcharity.org. Follow KFCO along on this journey on Instagram and Facebook @keenerfarmcharity.
The for-profit, parent-company Keener Farm has historically supported sustainable, local food systems. As a Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm, it has worked to better connect producers and consumers ultimately to strengthen our local food system. The Keener Farm Charitable Organization is taking this work a step further by addressing increasing food insecurity in the community. The mission is to fight hunger and support American farmers.