HOUSTON – Bad weather and good luck have teamed up to help two local organizations land checks for $2,500 each.
Monsanto recently picked Debbie and Wade Burt of Houlka as recipients of their America’s Farmers Grow Community grant program and the Burts chose to donate the money to the Houston High School FFA Program and the Houston First Baptist Church Food Pantry.
“We live in Houlka and farm a little bit and I just decided to fill out the grant application I found in one of their magazines on the chance I might get it,” said Debbie Burt. “We were thrilled when they called and knew just how to put it to work.”
Because Chickasaw County was named a drought county last summer, Monsanto doubled the amount and asked the Burts to pick two agencies.
“I was an elementary school principal and involved in FFA as are my son and grandson,” said Wade Burt. “And we felt FFA and feeding people sort of go together and that is why we chose the First Baptist Food Pantry.”
Jon Burt said he farms soybean, corn, wheat and cattle in both Chickasaw and Calhoun counties was glad to see the check go to people who need it.
Brent Gholston, of Monsanto, said the America’s Farmers Grow Communities foundation, routinely selects local farmers for their grants. He said the farmer then designates a local non-profit organization as the recipient.
“The donations are available through the Monsanto fund,” Gholston said. “We think local farmers know those organizations that build their community and Monsanto is glad to be a part helping these two local organizations.”
Jan and Judy Hill received a similar grant in 2012 and designated the Atlanta Volunteer Fire Department as the recipient.
Monsanto marketed its products to the Burts through GreenPoint Ag of Houston.
First Baptist Food Pantry
The Houston First Baptist Food Pantry gave bags of food to more than 600 families last year.
The monthly program has needy people in the community line up at the Fellowship Hall at First Baptist once a month to receive prayer and a grocery sack of staples no questions asked.
Sacks of food are distributed until they are gone.
“It’s not about the food, it’s about ministering to the needs of people in this community,” said Rev. Daniel Heeringa of First Baptist. “This program has opened doors for us to build relationships with people and really help people.”
Heeringa said the food pantry has been active for several years. It is staffed by volunteers and funded by member of First Baptist Church.
“We always run out of food sacks and we stay and pray with those who have needs,” said Heeringa. “This check will go a long, long way in helping us sustain this ministry in 2013.”
Houston FFA has a tradition of winning regional, state and national competitions the Monsanto’s grant help the local ag chapter go and do more.
“We are really honored that they selected us,” said Houston FFA Advisor Karen Cook. “This check will help us with travel and better prepare for competition.”
Houston FFA President Jacob Bridgman also thanked Monsanto and the Burts for their contribution.
“FFA is more than animals and farms, although it does a lot of that,” said Bridgman. “It teaches leadership and we have gotten to go to a lot of interesting places to compete.
“I always meet new people and learn new things when we travel to compete,” said Bridgman. “And not only do we learn a lot, it’s a lot of fun.”