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For the past nine years, the Montana Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee has raised more than $56,000 for the Montana Food Bank Network through the Hoofin’ it for Hunger race. The food bank donation followed the YF&R Committee’s commitment to help provide food for those in need. Although the continuing COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the committee cancelling the race, the YF&R Committee has fortified their resolve to still raise money for the MFBN.

“I applaud our committee for making this tough decision,” said YF&R Chair J.M. Peck. “We considered many factors including that Fort Keogh Ag Research Station was still closed to the general public. However, we talked about our concern that with a cancelled race, we wouldn’t have our usual donation for the Montana Food Bank Network.”

The committee has been asking Hoofin’ it for Hunger sponsors to donate directly to the Food Bank in lieu of their sponsorship, and runners can easily donate. County Farm Bureaus are being asked to consider making a donation, as well.

“Our race has a great following and we’re hoping everyone who ran or anyone who has sponsored the race can make a donation,” said Peck. “The fact is MFBN needs help more than ever with many people losing their jobs due to COVID-19. The race was started to show that feeding people in need goes hand-in-hand with agriculture.”

Larger cities in Montana have seen up to a 300 percent increase in families needing food assistance and an increasing number of younger families have also been needing food assistance. With meat and fresh vegetables being in high demand, local farmers and ranchers have helped with the food supply at the MFBN.

According to the MFBN, Grocery Rescue has historically helped fill in the gaps, but since the onslaught of COVID-19, more families are grocery shopping resulting in food being bought instead of donated. Fortunately, because of programs like the USDA Farmers to Families Food Boxes, farmers and ranchers can still get their products to the public instead of having it go to waste. Montana Food Bank Network remains committed to getting fresh, quality food out to neighbors in need.

MFBN Chief Development Officer Bill Mathews added, “Even though we all understand that Hoofin’ it for Hunger can’t be an in-person event this year, there are many more Montanans that are at risk for food insecurity than ever before due to the pandemic. For all those who had planned to participate as a runner/walker, virtual runner, sponsor or donor to the event, please continue to help the MFBF Young Farmers & Ranchers to reach their financial goal for Hoofin’ it for Hunger and match the mission of the Montana Food Bank Network to End Hunger in Montana.”

Donations can be made via: https://runsignup.com/Race/MT/MilesCity/HoofinItForHunger. Click on “Donate Today: Help End Hunger in Montana.” To learn more about the Montana Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers visit https://mfbf.org/programs/Young-Farmers-Ranchers.

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