Farmers help propel funds for $47,500 matching grant
By Anna Jauhola
As farmers swing through harvest, they are also showing their generous nature.
When area farmers heard last week that the Hallock Area Community Fund received a $47,500 matching donation, there was no hesitation. Farmers agreed to the idea of “gifts of grain” and donated hundreds of bushels within two days.
“We made a list of farmers, sat down and split that up and started making phone calls,” said Todd Johnson, chairman of the Hallock Area Community Fund. “And we were just greeted with open arms. Everyone we called said, ‘Great idea. Thanks for calling.’”
Johnson said he received a call from the Northwest Minnesota Foundation on Friday, Aug. 16 with the news that a former Hallock resident wanted to donate toward the community fund. A press release on Friday, Aug. 23 announced the donor to be the Bluestem Fund, a fund founded by the Marvin and Maxine Eukel family. The Eukels owned Eukel’s Hartz grocery store in Hallock for years.
The dollars will be designated into the community fund’s Endowment Fund and will be matched up to $47,500. Plus, whatever is raised and matched, the Northwest Minnesota Foundation matches 10 percent.
“So, if we do our job, there’ll be $104,500 of new money in the fund,” he said. “And whatever interest comes off that in a year, the committee can spend on whatever they deem is the most valid project at the time.”
So far, the community fund group has been quite successful with the generous help of the community and surrounding area. By Wednesday afternoon, farmers donated $5,500 worth of grain toward the cause. And more came pouring in. As of the afternoon of Monday, Aug. 26, donors gave 3,393 bushels of wheat, amounting to $14,500 toward the matching grant fund.
Board members made appointments with farmers to meet them in the field for donations. A local farmer donated the use of his 200 bushel grain hopper and C&M Ford donated the use of a truck to pull it. Johnson Oil donated the use of a semi-truck and trailer to store the grain before selling it at the elevator.
For those farmers who want to donate but can’t coordinate a time for volunteers to pick up grain, they can designate a portion of a delivery to the elevator toward the Hallock Area Community Fund Account.
For those who are not farmers but would like to help move this matching grant forward, contact any of the board members. They are Todd Johnson, Loren Younggren, Teal Plaine, Jeff Hane, Emily Kuzel, Betty Younggren, Jill Swanson and Kelly Bengtson.
“We don’t want to stretch this out, especially with the momentum we have,” Johnson said. “Our goal is to raise our share over the next 12 months.”
Farmers have been more than generous, asking board members to come back when they’re harvesting soybeans. Others have said, “Come back tomorrow, I’ll have more (wheat) for you!”
“I’m just blown away,” Johnson said. “This has just been amazingly received.”