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Farm Bureau gives $3,500 to Boys & Girls Club for food program

News Photo by Darby Hinkley The Robert Barrigar Agency and Jaime Nunez-Hilla Agency of Farm Bureau Insurance presented a check for $3,500 from the Agent Charitable Fund on Wednesday morning to the Boys & Girls Club of Alpena. The funds will be used for the summer food program. Pictured from left to right are Boys & Girls Club Executive Director Bradley Somers, Barrigar and Nunez-Hilla.

ALPENA — The Boys & Girls Club of Alpena received a $3,500 donation on Wednesday morning from Farm Bureau Insurance’s Agent Charitable Fund.

The team of Robert Barrigar Agency and Jaime Nunez-Hilla Agency delivered the oversized check to the Boys & Girls Club.

“The Boys & Girls Club of Alpena helps enable all young people, and this money will help sustain their food program over the summer,” Barrigar said in a Facebook post. “With school out and kids not having access to school breakfast or lunch, the youth in the community will know they have a place to go when they’re hungry. We are grateful for all they do and proud that they have a mission that aligns with ours — ending hunger in Michigan.”

Boys & Girls Club Executive Director Bradley Somers was overjoyed by the generous donation.

“As we prepare for our summer program and we look for resources to help us have a successful summer … one of the biggest things that we do for the kids over the summer is our food program,” said Boys & Girls Club Executive Director Bradley Somers. “We serve a free, hot meal every single day, and a snack, for kids during the summer, and during the school year, year-round, and these funds are going to help us be able to provide more food more often for the kids that are coming over the summertime, and just open up the doors for more kids and families to deal with food insecurity and have happy bellies.”

On top of that, at a raffle at one of the agency’s fundraisers, Barrigar’s uncle, Jeff Pohl, won $400 and decided to donate it to the Boys & Girls Club as well.

Barrigar explained that he serves on the Agent Charitable Fund Board, and while each agency does philanthropic work in their own local communities, the board pooled its resources to be able to do more across the state.

“A group of us got together and said, ‘What if all of the agents pool stuff to make huge splashes?'” Barrigar said. “And Dr. Knight heard about it, who is the director of the Food Bank Council of Michigan.”

Dr. Phillip Knight said they were in desperate need of refrigerated trailers.

“His plan was, he worked with distributors around Michigan that do flash-frozen vegetables and fruit, and if they’re, like, the wrong color carrot or cut wrong, then Walmart or Meijer will reject them,” Barrigar explained. “And it just goes to the landfill. So he set up a program to capture all that food, but they didn’t have trucks to get it.”

That’s where the Farm Bureau Insurance’s Agent Charitable Fund came in.

“So, we actually bought two refrigerated trucks, and we have two more coming,” Barrigar said. “Omega Electric wraps them.”

The Agent Charitable Fund started in late 2018, he said.

Then in early 2019, it was launched to all of the agents, “and in one night we raised $350,000,” Barrigar recalled.

He was amazed with the agents’ generosity.

“We had so much money coming in that we opened up four quarters of grants, where you have $25,000 a quarter,” Barrigar noted.

He said that money is for food programs, especially those for youth.

“We just donated $2,500 to Feeding Kids Ministry, who does the backpack program for the high schools,” Barrigar said.

That’s in addition to the $3,500 they donated to the Boys & Girls Club for their summer food program.

Around Christmas 2019, they filled the food pantry on Indian Reserve Road, called Under His Wings Fellowship Food Pantry.

“We got turkeys and stuff like that, and Perch’s IGA helped,” Barrigar said.

He explained that every donation goes further when it’s pooled together to help end hunger.

“All those little bits of money are making a bigger impact than a lot of, just, individual agents can do,” he said.

He added that the next refrigerated truck should be up here next month to get wrapped, and get out on the road.

“Sumerix Farms picked the trailer up, brought it up here, then delivered it back down to the Food Bank for free,” Barrigar added. “We have one farmer that’s actually donating one of the trucks to us.”

He said the names of donors and sponsors go on the back of the truck, “so it’s cool to see businesses from Alpena” traveling around Michigan.

For more information about the Agent Charitable Fund, visit endhungerinmichigan.org.

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