June 27, 2016

Mostly cloudy

Sharon Twp. farmer donates winnings to food pantry

SHARON TWP. — Several thousand dollars in prize money was donated Thursday by a township farmer to help feed local people in need.

A $5,000 donation split between two checks from the St. Louis-based Monsanto fund’s America’s Farmers Grow Communities contest was presented Thursday to the Sharing Center Food Pantry in Sharon Township. From left, are farmers Christina Berry, Lois Berry and Jim Berry; the Rev. Judy McGuire of St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church; Mike Yoder, of Monsanto; and Karen Edwards, of the Sharing Center pantry. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY STEVE GRAZIER)

Lois Berry, of Berry Farm II, 7756 Ridge Road, was the winner of the annual America’s Farmers Grow Communities contest, which is sponsored by the Monsanto fund of St. Louis. Berry gave the $5,000 to the Sharing Center Food Pantry during a Thursday morning ceremony at St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church, 6462 Ridge Road.

Money from the contest is directed to the winner’s favorite local nonprofit organization.

“We’ve donated food in the past to the Sharing Center, so this was a no-brainer,” Berry said. “After the holidays, a lot of people forget about giving or maybe can’t afford it.”

Last year, the Berrys purchased roundup ready beans from Monsanto to grow on their farm. They were notified about the contest via email in October, and Berry said she soon thereafter filled out an online form to enter the contest.

The Berry Farm II grows beans, corn and wheat on approximately 3,000 acres. The family has been farming for about 30 years.

About 60,000 farmers from 1,271 counties in 39 states had a chance to win a $2,500 donation for their favorite community nonprofit, according to Sugarcreek resident Mike Yoder, a representative from Monsanto. He was unsure about the total number of contestants nationwide but said there was one winner for each county.

Monetary awards in some of the counties, including Medina County, were doubled to $5,000 due to drought designations by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Yoder said.

Karen Edwards, of the Sharing Center pantry, said the $5,000 would provide about three months’ worth of food for the pantry, which feeds between 120 and 130 Medina County families per month.

Cereal, cheese, frozen meats, juices and canned goods will be purchased with the money, Edwards said.

“We’re always glad for some assistance, and this really helps,” she said.

Contact reporter Steve Grazier at (330) 721-4012 or sgrazier@medina-gazette.com.