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Grain Going A Long Way

Posted at: 12/14/2012 6:46 PM
Updated at: 12/14/2012 6:51 PM
By: John Doetkott

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- The fields in northern Iowa have been barren for several months now, but that doesn't mean they're done producing food for the season.

Thanks to a program through the United Way, those fields are helping feed kids in need long after the harvest.

“When farmers are taking their grain to the elevators to make that sale for themselves, it's easy, they can donate a portion of that back to us,” said Drew Norton, regional director for United Way of North Central Iowa

That's right, United Way officials aren't asking for money, but rather grain. They said it's an easy way for farmers and other members of the agricultural community to give back.

“Here in rural areas of Iowa we don't always have opportunities to donate in traditional ways," said Kelly Hansen, general manager of POET Biorefining.

And by adopting this notably untraditional method, officials said they hope to make donating more accessible.

“It's a farmer's regular routine to make these stops at the elevator, that's where they're going throughout their day, and it just makes it an easy way for them to make a donation," Norton said.

The United Way recently launched a program called “Backpack Buddies” where needy kids take a backpack full of food home for the weekend. Proceeds from the grain donations help fill those backpacks.

The program has already raised over five thousand dollars for local kids, despite poor crop yields.

“We know that crops were pretty bad this year, but we just wanted to have farmers keep us in the back of their mind," Norton said.