CLINTON, Ind. (WTHI) - As Vermillion county 4-Hers tend to their animals and food pantry volunteers tend to shelves, farmer Ed Shew is tending to more than his fields.
Ed Shew says, "Well, I get a good feeling from it. It's my opportunity to give back to the community a little bit."
Shew collects money each summer and uses it to bid on livestock at the county fair. The pigs are processed and the meat goes to area food pantries. He's been doing this for roughly twenty years.
Shew says, "I think the first year I had 15-18 businesses that I do business with on a regular basis and now I'm up to 30-35 from year to year."
Each business gives twenty to fifty dollars. Some give more. It means Shew has four to five thousand dollars to work with come auction time. He was able to buy around sixteen hogs last year.
Shew says, "That amounted to about two thousand pounds of meat that went to food pantries here in Clinton and also in Cayuga."
The Vermillion County Community Foundation, local churches and individuals also support the initiative.
Vermillion County Food Pantry Volunteer Audrey Lientz says the food bank has served eighty families just this month and more are in need. She says the donations have a real impact.
Lientz says, "A lot of them are just people that have worked all their life but right now they're out of a job or they're on bad luck or some of the people that live on a limited income and they have a family to feed. There's just no way that they can manage."
Shew says it's a win-win for donors.
"They help support the livestock auction and they also help support the food pantry and so in their minds, all of them have told me, that that's an excellent way to spend their money."
Part of Shew's efforts are aimed at helping kids new to selling livestock get a good return on their investment.
"One of the goals I had, too, was to help set a floor for the new kids that didn't have anybody they really knew and try to make sure they got a baseline price."
Shew plans to bid on hogs this Friday.
If you'd like to donate, Shew says you can contact the Vermillion County Community Foundation, Vermillion County 4-H Office of the food pantry.
The Vermillion County Food Pantry is open the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month and every Thursday, for two hours.