This year, a farmer in Boardman, Ore. will work with Walt’s Wholesale Meats in Woodland, Wash. to process more than 30,000 pounds of beef into hamburger. All of this, free of charge to feed the hungry.
Agricultural partnerships such as these allow farmers and ranchers across our region to make headway in the fight against hunger. It seems like a natural fit, but not long ago these connections were rare and acres of good crops would often go to waste. Jim and Judith Youde, retired owners of an agricultural consulting firm, were familiar with stories of wasted food. As they were selling their business, they also found out that Oregon and Washington ranked among the most “food insecure” states in the nation. There was an obvious disconnect. So after years of bringing goods to markets around the world, they decided to address a new challenge—the hunger crisis at home.
Jim began sprouting a plan for an organization that would cultivate public-private agriculture industry partnerships to boost food security in southwest Washington and Oregon. He and Judith also opened the James and Judith Youde Family Advised Fund at the Community Foundation to support their giving to hunger related causes.
In 2004, Jim teamed up with a pair of longtime connections who shared his vision of creating a network of farmers and processors that would channel agricultural surpluses into the regional food bank network. Combining forces, the group used their networks and expertise to grow a new organization called Farmers Ending Hunger. Last year alone, their efforts delivered nearly 2.5 million more pounds of crops and livestock to hungry families and individuals.
Soon after, the Youdes saw that the Clark County Food Bank was ripe for strategic development. So, Jim joined the board and began reorganizing. Then he and Judith became driving forces behind a $4.8 million capital campaign that rallied the entire community, including the Community Foundation. As a result, our region now benefits from a state-ofthe-art 22,000-square-foot facility that has nearly doubled local food distribution in five years. Along the way, Jim and Judith have also improved the organization’s nutrition education classes, a critical factor in addressing the root causes of food insecurity in Clark County.
By committing to a cause, applying their expertise and forging new networks, the Youdes have gone beyond the call for funds. They have helped southwest Washington and Oregon hold the line against hunger, while many other states are reeling from increasing needs and diminishing resources. This impact is greater than the sum of its parts. And it isn’t just dollars and cents, or connections and expertise. Catalytic giving is all of the above.