The SLO Food Bank has started distributing the more than 48,000 pounds of meat it received following this year's California Mid-State Fair livestock auction.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the auction was held virtually this summer.
The James W. Brabeck Youth Legacy Fund formed a Buyer's Coalition and raised more than $200,000 to purchase many of the animals raised by local 4-H and FFA students.
The Templeton & Visalia Livestock Markets, Central Valley Meat/Harris Ranch, James W. Brabeck Youth Legacy Fund, The Community Foundation of San Luis Obispo County's Disaster Support Fund, and Hughes Charitable Foundation collaborated to process the beef and hog meat, which was donated to the SLO Food Bank.
"It's a very satisfying feeling to know that we were able to help so many kids in the community and simultaneously help other people in the community via the Food Bank," said Todd Ventura, James W. Brabeck Youth Legacy Fund Co-Chairman.
In years past, meat donated from the fair's livestock auction has provided up to 40% of the SLO Food Bank's annual meat protein for its clients.
With the food bank seeing nearly twice the demand as usual because of the pandemic, officials say the donation is critical.
"This is an amazing victory and it came at a time when we thought defeat was likely coming our way," said Garret Olson, SLO Food Bank CEO.