The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

March 15, 2014

Local farm donates $2,500 to Andover Food Pantry

ANDOVER — A win for a local farm meant a big win for the Andover Food Pantry.

The Boleratz family recently applied for a grant, through the America’s Farmers Grow Communities program, and received an award of $2,500 to be donated to a non-profit organization of their choice. The Boleratz family has been operating their farm in Ashtabula County for the past 50 years.

The family chose to donate the grant to the Andover Food Pantry. The grant comes from the Monsanto Fund.

“We were out digging potatoes when the phone rang,” Nancy Boleratz said. “It was Monsanto asking us to enter. We said yes we would, never thinking we would win, but we did.”

Farm owners include Don, Terry, Matthew, Ann and Nancy Boleratz.

The family chose the Andover Food Pantry as the designated recipient because they wanted to keep the money local, Nancy said.

“Don is the one who came up with it,” she said. “Other organizations get money from other places, but this will stay within the school district.”

The Rev. Vernon Palo, pastor of the First United Methodist Church of Andover where the Food Pantry is housed, said this is the largest grant the organization has ever received.

“We’ve been at this for almost four years,” he said. “It is truly a combined community effort.”

Palo said the Food Pantry works in association with the Cleveland Food Bank and when times became financially tough, the community rallied behind them and made sure the Food Pantry could continue.

The Food Pantry purchases non-perishable food items as well as some meats from the Cleveland Food Bank for cents on the pound, he said, so financial donations go a lot farther.

The money from the grant will be used to purchase foods to stock the Food Pantry.

The Andover Food Pantry is a volunteer operation.

“We have no paid staff,” Palo said.

The purpose of the America’s Farmers Grow Communities program is to recognize the important contributions farmers make to rural America, and help them grow their communities by supporting local organizations. Since the program started in 2010, more than $13 million has been invested in rural America.

More than 82,000 farmers across the country participated in the program this year, with a winning farmer selected in each eligible county. Eligible farmers in 1,289 counties across 39 states could apply for the grant.

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