What began as a temporary emergency response to pandemic-related demands for protein at local food banks in 2020, became a full-throttle expansion for The 1017 Project’s beef donation operation in 2021.
Oregon’s prolonged pandemic and associated economic disruptions propelled the central Oregon nonprofit to replicate its one-of-a-kind distribution system, which raises and donates fresh USDA-inspected beef to food-insecure families.
The operation ballooned throughout Oregon and into Texas and Montana in 2021, in one case providing an entire truckload of 40,000 one-pound packages of fresh hamburger to the Oregon Food Bank in Portland back in June.
“While no one is happy about skyrocketing food-insecurity rates, The 1017 Project worked hard to be in a position to increase its beef donations by 163%,” said Jordan Weaver, Executive Director of The 1017 Project.
Weaver said the group spent seven years curating supply chain partnerships that allowed them to pivot and respond quickly to food bank orders.
The small “cattle project” in Powell Butte began in 2014 to address a chronic lack of protein in food banks.
It has transformed into a multistate, hunger-fighting organization, donating over 137 tons of meat to date.
In 2020, The 1017 Project had to quickly double its beef donations.
This response continued throughout 2021 due to rates of hunger that the Oregon Food Bank said were equal to those during the Great Depression.
“Our longevity and resourcefulness in the marketplace have allowed The 1017 Project to build consistent, supply-chain collaborations with USDA processing facilities, cold storage facilities, cattle ranchers, trucking companies, hay suppliers, veterinarians, and municipalities, to deliver a steady supply of protein to food banks even during times of retail supply chain fluctuations,” Weaver said.
“We are also putting our shoulder to the wheel in reimagining how food banks and donors might provide their communities with options as fresh as what you and I can buy at the grocery store. Local ranchers and stock contractors have fueled our growth with their generous donations of hay, grazing opportunities, equipment, and occasional cattle contributions to our herd.”
The 1017 Project’s year-end Community Impact Report (available at www.1017project.com) focuses on the exponential changes that one nonprofit, with four part-time employees, made in response to an unexpected crisis.
It also highlights the dignity that a pound of fresh-from-the-butcher beef offers to our most vulnerable citizens.
The 1017 Project accepts public help through financial donations on its website, www.1017project.com.
Ranchers can also donate cattle, hay, and pasture and receive a tax deduction. The 1017 Project, PO Box 19, Powell Butte, OR 97753