More than 20,000 people in Kern County who are in need of food received support Tuesday after a generous anonymous donation made at the Kern County Fair.
Since 2013 an anonymous person who goes by, "Buyer Number 9," has made substantial offers at the Kern County Fair auction, purchasing live stock showcased by Future Farmers of America (FFA) students. This year the anonymous buyer used their purchase to give back to more than 60 food banks in Kern County to help address food insecurity.
The FFA is an organization that provides students with first hand agricultural education and skills, “I raised a pig literally in my backyard and it's such an interesting experience, but not only that but you get such a bond with the animals. One of the biggest things is it benefits is what you learn here and the skills you learn like budgeting and marketing and money management and time management you can apply that to any industry and any career you wanted to do," FFA Student Ben Stevens said.
Thanks to students like Stevens, the Community Action Partnership of Kern (CAPK), the Kern County Fair and of course the anonymous Buyer Number 9. 68 food banks in Kern County will be readily stalked with meat, "Our angel buyer, Buyer Number 9 and they procure a large portion of the junior livestock that are shown at the fair and they process and deliver meat from those animals to us," James Burger of CAPK told 23ABC.
It’s a beneficial situation where students can receive profits from the auction sale of their animals at the fair and those in need get an extra free meal.
Even though CAPK conducts various food drives over the course of the year to keep the food banks stocked according to Burger and a University of California study of Kern County's food system, of the roughly 857,000 people that lived in Kern County in 2014 30.4 percent of low income individuals reported experiencing food insecurity.
Since the insecurity is still prevalent in Kern County, CAPK has been on a mission to feed more people in need for the last seven years and Burger said Buyer Number 9 is helping combat the issue with their yearly donation, "That buyer purchased and delivered just under 400,000 pounds of processed meat to our food bank."
Buyer Number 9 contributes between 84 and 87,000 pounds of various meats including beef, pork, lamb and goat from the Kern County Fair each year. Fair organizers and CAPK are not sure how much all of the meat sold this year is worth or how many animals were exactly sold but they do know how many mouths it will help feed and the difference it will make in the community this year, "We estimate that based off the size of the meat packets that are produced, that are bout two to five pounds a piece about 24,000 people will be able to get some meat throughout the next few months. Especially during the holidays and Christmas and Thanksgiving, New Years and be able to bring that into their diet and into their family," Burger said.
CAPK helps feed 100,000 people each year from their local food banks in Kern County and Buyer Number 9 is insuring a portion of those people don't miss a meal either. It's still unknown at this time who Buyer Number 9 is but organizers expect to see him or her again next year and FFA students will be showcasing livestock next year as well the fair.