Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes
ST. GEORGE — Some families in southern Utah are feeling relief following another project from Farmers Feeding Utah, which takes excess food from local farmers and donates it to groups and food banks across the Beehive State.
No one in line truly wanted to be at the Dixie Convention Center Friday. However, sometimes the choice is simple.
Eat, or don't.
"For a lot of families, it's really tough," said Martha Barton.
Barton has friends in her St. George neighborhood who often worry about where their next meals are coming from.
So when he heard free food was going to be available in St. George Friday night, the decision was easy.
She had to go to help her friends out.
"A lot of them don't have cars or any way to get here, so I figured I could get them the food," said Barton. "It's nice to be able to feed our families."
The group providing the food is Farmers Feeding Utah.
Since so many restaurants have been closed or have less business because of COVID-19, many farmers across Utah have been left with too much food.
The @FeedingUtah program was in St. George tonight. 1292 families now don't have to worry where their next meals are coming from. We're doing a story on this program for @KSL5TV at 10. #ksltv#farmersfeedingutahpic.twitter.com/pIpqHB8GWv— Alex Cabrero (@KSL_AlexCabrero) January 30, 2021
But instead of letting that food go to waste, the Utah Farm Bureau created the Farmers Feeding Utah Program as a way to give that extra food to families and food banks who need it.
"We've targeted St. George because of the data we have with the unemployment rates and we go to where the greatest need is, and so St. George came up on our list," said Clayton Beckstead with Farmers Feeding Utah.
Program managers said they delivered more than 1 million pounds of food to several towns and cities throughout Utah last year.
"Farmers Feeding Utah has been a bright spot in 2020, and here we are in 2021 and we love it," said Ron Gibson, Utah Farm Bureau president.
For farmers to not take a big loss, people purchase food with a donation on the Farmers Feeding Utah website while knowing that food will be given to families.
"We have apples from Utah County, we have onions from Davis County, potatoes from Weber County, we have hamburger from all over the state," said Gibson. "Farmers and ranchers are giving people. We love to feed people. That's who we are. That's our mission."
Just under 1,300 families were helped Friday night with leftovers sent to the Utah Food Bank.
That's a lot of families who won't have to worry about where their food will be coming from for a few days.
"I just felt so emotional because this is such a great help for so many people out there," said Valeria Severe, who lives in St. George.
It's all because of farmers who couldn't throw away perfectly good food.
"What they do is amazing," said Barton. "They really take care of us a lot."