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Chula Farmers’ Cooperative and Cobank donate to Backpack Buddies

Chillicothe News

Children who eat consistent, nutritious meals are healthier. They concentrate better in school, build better bonds with their peers, miss less school due to illness, and score higher on standardized tests. Food security is a key to success, but there are children in our community wondering if they will have enough food to eat today.

Shawn Hurtgen, Marketing and Outreach Director in charge of BackPack Buddies at the Grand River Area Family YMCA is pictured with Tori Overton and Shayler Keller, Sales Professionals for the Chula Farmer’s Cooperative.

The USDA defines food insecurity as meaning “consistent access to adequate food is limited by a lack of money and other resources at times during the year.”  Missouri is ranked among the top ten states in the nation for food insecurity.

Over 1,000 children in Livingston County qualify for free or reduced lunches.  But these vital programs don’t help them when the weekend comes and they’re home with an empty refrigerator.  BackPack Buddies is designed to fill in the gap.

According to a press release, the program is funded by the generous gifts of Y members and community supporters.  According to Shawn Hurtgen, Marketing and Outreach Director at the Grand River Area Family YMCA “BackPack Buddies is a tremendous blessing to so many families.  The YMCA is proud to be able to serve the children of our community, but we could not do it without the help of the individuals, businesses, and organizations that give generously to the BackPack Buddies program.”

“The BackPack Buddies program assists qualifying children by providing food for them on the weekends and holidays. This is just one way we can help our communities which can have long-lasting effects on children’s growth and their ability to learn” said Dan Murphy, general manager of Chula Farmers’ Cooperative. “We are honored to team up with CoBank to help the Grand River YMCA achieve those objectives.”

First launched in 2012 by CoBank to celebrate the United Nations’ International Year of the Cooperative, Sharing The Success has matched contributions to hundreds of charitable organizations in all 50 states over the past eight years. Together, CoBank and its customers have contributed more than $50 million to support the efforts of these organizations, the majority of which are located in rural communities.

“Sharing The Success has had a broader and deeper impact than we ever imagined,” said Tom Halverson, CoBank’s president & chief executive officer. “We are delighted with the growing participation in the program by our customers and deeply grateful to them for their assistance in identifying worthy charitable causes deserving of our support. We look forward to partnering with our customers once again this year and to sharing our success, in the best cooperative tradition.”

CoBank is one of the largest private providers of credit to the U.S. rural economy. With more than $125 billion in assets, the bank delivers loans, leases, and other financial services to agribusinesses, rural infrastructure, and Farm Credit customers in all 50 states. 

Chula Farmers’ Cooperative is a full-service, cost-efficient Cooperative that leads the field in providing safe supplies and services to the environment and people while managing equity and identity to the best interest of its members. The Chula Farmers’ Cooperative has been a strong supporter of non-profit organizations in the community receiving Sharing The Success as well as other grants for local entities for the past 15 years.