The numbers are starting to trickle in following the California Mid State Fair virtual livestock auction.
The auction went virtual this year when the fair was canceled because of COVID-19.
A major buyer - the Wood-Claeyssens Foundation - also pulled out of the auction this year because of COVID-19, so members of the James W. Brabeck Youth Legacy Fund stepped up to help fill the void.
They formed the Buyer's Coalition to make up for the money the students would lose on their projects.
The Buyer's Coalition raised more than $203,000 through community donations and the money was used to purchase livestock at the auction, which was then donated to the SLO Food Bank.
It was enough money to help every exhibitor at the auction.
"So we actually put money on every kid that exhibited at the California Mid State Fair Virtual Auction and Show," Todd Ventura said, a member of the Buyer's Coalition.
The Buyer's Coalition purchased 20 steers and 86 other animals, totaling nearly 50,000 pounds of protein to be donated to the SLO Food Bank.
"We were concerned we were not going to receive any fair meat that accounts for about 30-35 percent of our annual protein inventory, so that would've been a detrimental loss," said the SLO Food Bank's Director of Development Branna Still.
Templeton and Visalia Livestock Markets and Central Valley Meat Harris Feeding Company are processing the meat for the SLO Food Bank, making it a 'true, outright donation.'
"We are excited to fill our coolers with the anticipated 48,000-50,000 pounds of protein that'll be packaged in the size and quantities that are preferred from our clients," Still said.
Ventura stressed community involvement was key to the Buyer's Coaltion's success. "Reaching out to community partners, JB Dewar, Farm Supply, the Miossi Family Trust and others really stepped up and helped us put the money together so we can support the kids, exhibitors, as well as the food bank," he said.
In total, the virtual auction raised more than $1.2 million.
Final numbers will be released tomorrow.