EVANSTON — Seven local churches and 40-plus volunteers gathered at 10 a.m., Saturday Aug. 22, to give away more than 22,000 pounds of frozen meat and cheese in Evanston. It was a well-organized event held at Western Wyoming Beverages (WWB). Until late in the afternoon, hundreds of vehicles drove in an orderly line stretching back to the golf course and at one time the Roundhouse, continuing up Commerce Drive through the Crossroads Church parking lot and up to the WWB facility.
Organizers of the event included Calvary Chapel Evanston Pastor Pete Bass, Crossroads Newlife Fellowship Church Pastor Doug Cox, Evanston Alliance Church Pastor Marc Trujillo, Revive Church of the Nazarene Pastor Jared Hunley, Bear River Community Church Pastor Aaron Legget, Abundant Life Assembly of God Pastor Tim Floyd and Our Savior Lutheran Church Pastor Jonathan Lange.
“We saw God’s hand in this whole thing from the beginning to the end in the way these churches came together,” Bass said … “[with the great volunteers, Western Wyoming Beverages [manager] Michael Searle allowing us to use the building on such short notice, the help of the city and the sheriff’s department and how everything came off without a hitch.”
Bass said the Uinta County Sheriff’s Office offered advice on developing a safe and efficient routing process for the multitude of vehicles; the City of Evanston created a ramp for vehicles and also provided the cones and barricades for safe driving on and off Wasatch Road. Searle donated the use of WWB’s freezer and facility for the distribution.
Many of the various church members and other community volunteers, including some from Kemmerer, assisted in guiding the vehicles through the planned route, handing out the boxes of frozen meat and cheese and distributing Evanston Evangelicals United (EEU) spiritual information to each car.
The food boxes consisted of three different choices: chicken tacos and two options of prepared pork meals. There were no income guidelines for accepting the donations and people could choose if they wanted one box or all three. Bass said they have some boxes left and the churches will distribute those.
The Farmers to Families Food Box Program is part of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program USDA Secretary Perdue announced on April 17. Through this program, the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is partnering with national, regional and local distributors, whose workforces have been significantly impacted by the closure of restaurants, hotels and other food service businesses, to purchase up to $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy and meat products from American producers of all sizes. The program supplies food boxes of fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products, meat products and a combination box of fresh produce, dairy or meat products. Distributors package these products into family-sized boxes, transport them to food banks, community and faith-based organizations, and other non-profits serving Americans in need.
The first round of purchases totaling up to $1.2 billion occurred from May 15 through June 30. In that first round, 35.6 million food boxes were invoiced. The second round aims to purchase up to $1.47 billion (35.1 million food boxes invoiced) July 1 through Aug. 31. AMS may extend the period of performance of the contracts, via option periods, dependent upon program success and available remaining funds, up to $3 billion.
“Working with these other churches was a blessing,” Trujillo said. “We continue to want to serve the community in this way.”