County Fairs Set New Record for “Farmers Care” Food Drives
Hoosiers helping those in need is part of Indiana’s culture, and an effort underway, led by the Indiana State Fair and Dow AgroSciences, is making a difference in record numbers. Through a partnership with the Indiana Association of Fairs (INAF) and Feeding Indiana’s Hungry (FIsH), “Farmers Care” Food Drives will take place in 30 counties around Indiana this summer, more than double the number of counties who took part in similar efforts last year. Food drives will take place at the following county fairs: Adams, Allen, Cass, Clark, Clay, Clinton, Dearborn, Fayette, Grant, Hancock, Hamilton, Harrison, Hendricks, Jasper, Jay, Jefferson, Jennings, Marion, Miami, Monroe, Newton, Perry, Pike, Porter, Shelby, Vanderburgh, Vermillion, Washington, Wells, and White. Leaders in these counties are working with local food banks to secure donations during the county fair that benefit local hunger relief efforts. Participants of Farmers Care received an allotment of Indiana State Fair tickets to help incentivize donations at the food drives. Before the Indiana State Fair begins on Friday, Aug. 7, the “Top Five” county food drives will be announced, with winners being determined by the amount of food collected. During the State Fair, there will be a display of the Top Five in the Harvest Pavilion, with State Fair visitors being able to engage in the fight against hunger by placing loose pocket change into jars representing these counties. “By joining with our partners we have tasked the county fairs to bring local hunger to the forefront and to think of ways each community can come together to help their fellow Hoosiers,” said Cindy Hoye, Executive Director of the State Fair Commission. “The amount of responses we received this year from counties wanting to get involved with the initiative was really encouraging, and we’re hoping that sense of participation will carry over and inspire the Indiana State Fair guests to contribute.” In previous food drives, participating counties collected 11,429 pounds of food in addition to cash donations of $23,769 that helped Hoosiers around the state impacted by hunger. “Today, one in every six Hoosiers is food insecure and unsure of the source of their next meal. We can all do our part to address this critical problem, and efforts like the Farmers Care Food Drives provide each of us the opportunity to truly help those in need,” said Rolando Meninato, Vice President, Seeds, Dow AgroSciences, and Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana Board Member and volunteer. State Fair guests will have a chance to join the fight against hunger on Dow AgroSciences Farmers’ Day, Wednesday, Aug. 19. Fairgoers will be asked as they enter the grounds if they would like to donate $1 to the fight against hunger. The funds that are raised from the gate promotion, as well as in the “Top Five” jars in the Harvest Pavilion, will be divided evenly between Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana and AMPATH Ag Nutrition (The Academic Model for Prevention and Treatment of HIV/AIDS). Gleaners helps lead the fight against hunger in Central and Southeast Indiana by collecting, storing, and distributing food to those in need through a network of over 250 partner agencies. The AMPATH Agriculture and Nutrition program, based in Indiana University and now partnering with Purdue University and Dow AgroSciences, works to improve the nutritional status of patients in Kenya. For more information on the Farmers Care program, please visit this link on the Fair’s website.