"How can you possibly provide free food to families in need?" is a question I'm asked a lot. My wife and I have been picking up fruit, vegetables, spent grains, and waste vegetable oil from a few local distributors for quite some time, using these resources to feed our livestock, make fuel, and keep our food costs down for our clients. Many of the vegetables we'd pick up, however, were in wonderful shape, so we decided to reach out to see if there were any local families in need who may be interested in a free food source.
The response was overwhelming. Families began flooding to the farm, showering us with gratitude and appreciation for sharing the "extra" produce we had. I was shocked at the number of families in our backyard who are struggling to put food on the table, so we increased what we were picking up in an effort to allow everyone in need to glean whatever fruits, vegetables, and local grains they can for their family (and friends) to use-free of charge.
We have been doing this for nearly 12 months now, and the demand is growing faster than we've been able to keep up. The loads have become so large both my body and equipment are breaking. I have thrown my back out three times, I broke the axle on my livestock trailer, and blew through the lock-hitch on my old flatbed trying to bring food back to the farm. My wife and I have finally come to the realization we are unable to continue this crusade without help; we need safer equipment. When we announced this to the community, there was an outcry, and they begged us to run a fundraising campaign.
What we need is very simple. The relationships with the distributors are already established, and the families are already showing up. I have done all the promotion and networking necessary, and have multiple distributors ready to donate more food as soon as I am able to haul it. My farm truck is not capable of hauling the quantity of food the community needs, so a vehicle capable of towing 10,000 lbs up a fairly steep hill is the first priority. Next, we need a trailer that's safe (as none of the current trailers even have brakes). A cooler to store food for families unable to show up on Fridays, will not only make it possible for people to show up and receive food assistance seven days a week, substantially increasing the number of people who benefit from what we do, but it will also radically increase and enhance food safety. Additional funding will be used to install a simple lift-gate on the truck, fix the tractor, and repair the brakes to our existing forklift so we can load and unload safely.
I am a farmer. I have no issue with working hard, and I am accustomed to pinching pennies, repairing my own equipment, and stretching everything we have. Every penny will be well-used, and every step of the project will be documented (so you can follow along) on Facebook.
I have found a few trucks capable of hauling 3 tons in the bed and towing the remaining weight, and all have been between $8,000 and $12,000. I am confident we can secure one for under $10,000.
I have a gentleman with a wonderful 5-ton flatbed trailer with new brakes willing to sell it for $10,000 (a reduction of $3000 to support the cause).
The lift gate will be $1,000 installed, and we can get the tractor and forklift repaired for $6,000 total.
The remaining funds will be used to purchase and install a walk-in cooler. I have an electrical company willing to do the installation at 50% of the retail rates (because of the immense need for what we do in the community), and I can purchase the cooler unit used for $6,000.
Any extra money we raise (above the fees we will need to pay) will be used to improve on-site facilities.
As I've said before, I am willing to do the work. I have poured thousands of dollars out already, and am more than willing to continue to do so to provide for those in need...I just need a little help to increase safety and expand the number of families we can serve.
The success of this project will allow me to serve families in need in Washington, Multnomah, Clackamas, and Yamhill Counties for the next 20+ years.
Other Ways You Can Help
Some people just can’t contribute, but that doesn’t mean you can’t help:
- Share our vision, our passion and our mission. Help us by sharing this along on your Facebook page.
- Do you have connections? If you can help us find a vehicle, trailer, equipment repair, or other tools/materials, please message us/share.
- Use the Indiegogo share tools located on this page.
- Come out to the farm to see for yourself! We offer free tours Fridays at 11:00 am and 2:00 pm, and on Saturdays at 2:00 pm.