PRINCETON — Every year, one farmer in the county is selected as a winner in America’s Farmers Grow Communities, which is sponsored by the Monsanto Fund. The winner is given $2,500 to donate to a local nonprofit organization of their choice.
This year, Barbara Schlund of Selby Township was the winner and chose to donate her monies to the Tri-County Opportunities Council.
As a teacher at Malden Grade School, Schlund said she is faced with hungry children every day.
“This was a win-win situation for me,” she said. “It seemed like the right mix, and I want to make sure everyone gets a chance to eat.”
Vanessa Hoffeditz of Tri-County Opportunities Council was thankful for the donation, which will actually purchase $25,000 worth of food. She explained every dollar donated to the food pantry can purchased $10 worth of food.
The food pantry serves 10 communities throughout Bureau County, including Dover, Kasbeer, Malden, Manlius, New Bedford, Ohio, Princeton, Tampico, Tiskilwa and Van Orin.
Last month, the food pantry served 438 individuals. Based on the monthly average of individuals who are served at the food pantry, 35 percent are children under the age of 17.
Brian Joehl, a representative of the Monsanto Co., explained the Monsanto Fund is the philanthropic arm of the company.
The fund, which started in 2010, is made up of employee donations and fines collected from farmers participating in illegal practices.
The program covers eligible farmers in 1,289 counties across 39 states.
“We want as many farmers to sign up for this opportunity,” he said. “If one county only has one farmer sign up, then that farmer is the winner. If there are 1,000 farmers in one county, they we have a drawing to select that one winner.”
More than 82,000 farmers across the country participated in the program this year. The purpose of the program is to recognize and celebrate the important contributions farmers make to rural America, and to help them grow their communities by supporting local organizations that are important to them.
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