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Students and volunteers standing in front of livestock carcasses in the meat processing facility at OSU.
Cactus Cares, Cattlemen’s Council and the Oklahoma Pork Council have partnered with FAPC Cowboy Meats to support the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma and Pete’s Pantry. OSU students, from left: Peyton Booth, Dalaney Vickrey, Raeden Schon, Faith Baxter, Cassidy Davis and David Steichen. (Photo by Kirsten Hollansworth)

Posse formed to prevent hunger

Friday, April 14, 2023

Media Contact: Kirsten Hollansworth | FAPC Communications Graduate Student | 405-744-0442 |

Many donate food in the fall during Harvest II Community Food Drives and other pre-Thanksgiving efforts, but hunger is a year-round challenge for all communities.

In support of the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma and local food pantries, Cactus Cares formed a donation-matching partnership with Cowboy Meats at the Robert M. Kerr Food and Agricultural Products Center (FAPC).

Our Daily Bread Food and Resource Center was established in 2017 to end hunger in Stillwater and surrounding communities. As a nonprofit organization, it provides shopping opportunities every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and the third Saturday of each month in its store located at 701 E. 12th Ave.

The nonprofit also serves the Oklahoma State University community through one of its satellite operations, Pete’s Pantry. Available to all OSU students, faculty and staff, the partnership between Campus Life and Our Daily Bread is a permanent program dedicated to feeding and supporting the Cowboy family.

“We have been fortunate to be in partnership with Our Daily Bread because they keep our fridge and freezer at Pete’s Panty fully stocked,” said Brian Blevins, coordinator in Campus Life. “In terms of locally sourced meat, it wouldn’t be possible without our friends in charge of Cowboy Meats. We have been so grateful for the hundreds of pounds received from them in the short time Pete’s Pantry has been open, and it is great to see the university working together in this way.”

Pete’s Pantry was opened in February of 2022. During that first month, 70 households received assistance, and the program has continued to grow.

“We have made a significant impact across the OSU campus,” Blevins said. “There are now multiple days where we helped more than 70 households in one day. But there is still so much work to do. Long-term, Pete’s Pantry would like to expand hours of operation and expand the amount each client can take per visit.” 

In March, the Oklahoma Pork Council (OPC) purchased a side of pork from Cowboy Meats valued at $250 to be donated to Pete’s Pantry. But this was not the first time the OPC has ridden posse with FAPC to fight hunger.

The two organizations have worked together numerous times, but one of the more significant occurred in response to the COVID-19 crisis. In July 2020, the OPC delivered 24 hogs to FAPC to process for the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, which serves 53 counties in central and western Oklahoma. That effort resulted in more than 2,500 pounds of ground pork to feed the hungry.

Cattlemen’s Congress also joined the posse by donating five Hereford steers that were utilized in a training exercise at FAPC. More than 1,300 pounds of ground beef were harvested from these animals and donated to the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma.

While some of these processing costs were absorbed by Cowboy Meats, most of the support for these efforts came from Cactus Cares Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit founded in 2018 by Cactus Feeders. Cactus Cares matched the OPC’s pork donation and paid the harvest fees of $1,000 for the five steers donated by Cattlemen’s Congress.

Cactus Cares supported various donations by FAPC to Our Daily Bread and the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma since November 2020.

“The partnerships created with these organizations helped OSU Agriculture to provide student activities including livestock judging, meats judging, teaching, demonstration and retail cut identification,” said Joel Jackson, pilot plant manager at FAPC.

To date, Cowboy Meats has donated nearly 15,000 pounds of beef, pork, lamb and goat. Cactus Cares Foundation supports many university meat labs across the country for the purpose of feeding the hungry.

“Several hundred Oklahoma students from middle schools, high schools, colleges and universities benefited from this donation,” Jackson said. “We are proud to participate in this mission to see that the meat produced from these animals can be further utilized by individuals and families in need of quality protein.”

Going forward, Cactus Cares and Cowboy Meats are teaming up through a donation-matching program. Customers at the Cowboy Meats Retail Store can drop part of their meat purchases in a donation box for Our Daily Bread and Pete’s Pantry. These donations will be matched 100% by Cactus Cares, doubling customers’ generosity. Cowboy Meats is located at FAPC’s Dock 4 off Lincoln Street at the northwest corner of the building and is open Fridays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

FAPC, a part of OSU’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, helps to discover, develop and deliver technical and business information that will stimulate and support the growth of value-added food and agricultural products and processing in Oklahoma.

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