Farmer wins $2,500 for United Way

Published 9:39 am Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Bill Pritchett, right, territory sales manager for Monsanto, and Courtland farmer Ben Kitchen, second from right, present $2,500 to the Franklin-Southampton Area United Way, represented by Frank Rickman, from left, Kathy Worrell, Holly Ledbetter, Anne Williams and Anne Bryant. -- Gwen Albers | Tidewater News

FRANKLIN—Ben Kitchen of Courtland was selected as a winner in the America’s Farmers Grow Communities program, which gives farmers the opportunity to win $2,500 for local nonprofit organizations.

Kitchen chose the Franklin-Southampton Area United Way.

“The grant money will be used to help fund the Back Pack programs in the area,” said Anne Bryant, executive director for the local United Way.

The Food Bank of Southeastern Virginia sponsors this program, which identifies children receiving free or reduced-price lunches. The program sends food home twice a month and over extended breaks to help children get good nutrition when they are not at school.

In more than 1,200 eligible counties, farmers can win $2,500 for their favorite community non-profit. The Monsanto Fund —the philanthropic arm of the Monsanto Co. — expects to invest more than $3 million in local communities.

The program originated with two pilot programs. The first pilot included 139 counties in Iowa, Missouri and Arkansas. The second pilot was expanded to include 298 counties in California, Kansas, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina and South Dakota. In total, more than $35,000 has been donated to nonprofits in Virginia.

The America’s Farmers Grow Communities program is part of a broad commitment by Monsanto Fund to highlight the important contributions farmers make every day to society by helping them grow their local communities.

To date, more than 60,000 farmers participated in the program, which is designed to benefit nonprofit groups such as ag youth, schools and other civic organizations.