The South Texas Food Bank’s Ranchers for the Hungry program literally came to “life” the week of Feb. 21-26. Thank you Laredo International Fair and Exposition (LIFE) participants.
Pancho Farias, the STFB’s coordinator of Ranchers for the Hungry, tipped his hat to LIFE, reporting several donations to the South Texas Food bank mission feeding the hungry. “We had great success at LIFE Downs,” beamed Farias. “We were received with open arms.”
Farias called out the contributors and contributions. Two of the headliners were young LIFE exhibitors, the Tijerina siblings, Bonnie, age 13, and Cayetano, 10. They are children of ranchers and business people Tano and Kimberly Walker Tijerina.Both are students are Power Christian Academy.
Bonnie showed a steer, sold it at auction, donated the money ($2,300) as well as the steer. Caye also showed a steer, donated the steer and $1,000. Farias praised, “This is a noble gesture. They are setting the example.” He noted the hard work.“These kids work the year around to make sure their animals are tamed and hand manageable. They put in a lot of time and effort.”
Additionally, the South Texas Food Bank received several other donations that included nine steers, 10 hogs (including the grand champion) and 15 lambs and goats. All will be processed and packaged to feed South Texas Food Bank clients through the adopt-a-family and Kids Café programs.
Also, rancher-businessman Jim Walker, the Tijerina children’s grandfather, made it a family affair by donating money for the meat processing of the animals.
A former pro-baseball player, Tijerina termed the LIFE weekend, “For being the first time, Ranchers for the Hungry, hit a home run. We’ve set the bar high for the future. The food bank does an incredible job of feeding the hungry through Kids Cafes and other programs. We need to be a branch of it and supply that much-needed protein.
“We as ranchers are blessed and need to step up to the plate to do our part and even a better job. We don’t realize what kind of hunger exists in our own backyard.The need is to make people aware. At the end of the day, we don’t want to see anyone going hungry. ”
The Tijerina children echoed, “There’s a lot of needy people and we need to reach out. Sometimes we’re their only help,” Bonnie said. Her brother added, “We want to help the food bank. People need food.”
The Ranchers for the Hungry turned their attention to the Zapata County Fair March 5-12, hoping for a response similar to LIFE. “In Zapata, for now we’re only accepting donations of steers,” said Farias, who noted that Tijerina is chairman of the Laredo division of Ranchers for the Hungry. “We’re looking for a chairman in Zapata and other counties that we serve,” Farias added.
Zapata County Judge Joe Rathmell pledged his support in a recent Adopt-A- Family distribution at the Helping Hands Pantryin Zapata. “We’ll do whatever it takes,” Rathmellsaid. “We know the need is here. We want to get involved.”