Area hunger ‘meats’ its match

By on November 20, 2019

Local residents will be less hungry this winter thanks to a new initiative adopted in Ephrata.

Founded by the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, the program is called Bid. Buy. Donate.

Here’s how it works: local FFA and 4-H members raise competitive livestock like lamb, beef, goats, and hogs. The animals are then auctioned off at local fairs and farm shows. The highest bidder — often local businesses — then have the option to donate the meat to the Pennsylvania Food Bank, where it will then be processed and re-distributed to families in need across the region.

This year, entries from the livestock division of the Ephrata Fair were donated towards the cause.

“The meat will be distributed to our local central Pennsylvania food banks; there are several in Ephrata including the Ephrata Area Social Services,” said Jennifer Oberholtzer, who serves as the livestock sale chairperson for the fair.

“Having Northern Lancaster County individuals purchase livestock in an auction and donate that meat back to EASS (Ephrata Area Social Services) not only celebrates our agricultural roots but also shows the incredible generosity of our communities,” said Joy Ashley, executive director of Ephrata Area Social Services. “We help an average of 220 families per month.”

This month, her organization was scheduled to receive 731 pounds of the processed meat.

Joy Ashley (left), executive director of Ephrata Area Social Services and Jennifer Oberholtzer.
Photo by Cory Van Brookhoven.

“The Central Pennsylvania Food Bank started a version of this program in 2014 with the Manheim Fair,” said Jennifer Sands, communications and marketing manager for the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank. “This year, we received more than 2,000 pounds of protein from the Ephrata Fair, with more than 730 pounds of that allocated to Ephrata Social Services, one of our partner agencies.”

Over a ton of meat was donated locally through the cause this year, comprising 13 hogs (1,726 lbs.), three lambs (13l lbs.), and one dairy beef (318lbs.). Local businesses who were the highest bidders during the fair included Ephrata Agway, Martin’s Paving, Snavely’s Mill, Fulton Bank, and Sensenig’s Feed Mill.

Ephrata Agway owner Dave Smith says he sees many advantages to the program.

“It’s awesome,” he said. “When you can support the youth in purchasing their animals and then in turn support social services in regards to the food bank, it’s a no-brainer. A lot of the meat stays local which is great. You can help the kids as well as the community.”

“I think this year’s program was a success and I look forward to doing it again next year,” Oberholtzer said.

Cory Van Brookhoven is a staff writer for The Ephrata Review. He welcomes your comments at or 717-721-4423. 


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