Beef is Christmas gift to seniors

Staff writer

An empty freezer at the September 1 apartment building was filled with early Christmas gifts for residents Wednesday. While the beef that was loaded into the freezer was not wrapped in the traditional colorful paper and bows, it will certainly help the residents who struggle putting food on their table over the next year.

Because of the program called Beef for Seniors, residents will have access to the freezer filled with a side beef for meals all year round.

“We get a little bit of everything, from steaks to ground beef,” Tom Bishop, CEO and president of Homestead Affordable Housing said. “That way it can be used for all kinds of food other than hamburgers. The site managers will work with residents to see that each resident gets an equal share of the meat.”

This is the first year Marion residents have received beef from the program. Bishop said he expects the beef to last September Apartment residents all year.

Every summer for at least three years, Homestead seeks donations from local businesses where Homestead has housing and purchases 4-H beef projects. Homestead purchased the September 1 apartments last month.

Last year Homestead purchased eight steers to produce 7,600 lbs. of beef to distribute between its housing facilities. Two deer were also donated to Homestead for the program this year.

“Seniors who live in our residences are on a limited pay scale and sometimes they have to make the choice of buying needed medication rather than food,” Bishop said. “We try to help them have decent meals.”

The majority of the steers are processed in Holton and distributed among Homestead’s housing residents for both private use, and communal meals.

The half side of beef for residents of the September Apartments came from a steer raised by Chad Mueller of Tampa and purchased by Central National Bank of Marion at the Marion County Fair. Todd Heitschmidt said the steer was processed in McPherson.

“We normally support 4-Hers at the county fair every year,” Heitschmidt said. “Since we are working with Homestead we thought it would be good to help with the project.”

This is the first year Central National has donated to the Beef for Seniors project. Heitschmidt said the bank is considering making the donation an annual thing.

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