Parker Ranch donates three tons of beef to The Food Basket

  • Kristin Frost Albrecht

  • Cars line up for The Food Basket's Ohana Drop on Friday morning in the parking lot of Kekuaokalani Gymnasium and the Kona Community Aquatic Center. Six thousand pounds of food were distributed to 2,314 individuals. (Tom Linder/West Hawaii Today)

Constantly in need as the coronavirus pandemic continues, The Food Basket recently received a large donation for its next Ohana Food Drop.

Parker Ranch has provided 6,000 pounds of its local, grass-fed beef for the nonprofit food bank’s Friday event at Waimea District Park. The donation comes on the heels of Parker Ranch’s announcement canceling its annual Fourth of July Rodeo.

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“The team has been working very hard to support the mission of the organization; this includes our cowboys, maintenance, land asset management, finance and administration,” said president and CEO of Parker Ranch Dutch Kuyper. “Everybody has been working hard toward this day, even though it won’t involve a rodeo. We donated the beef because we thought Richard (Smart) would want us to give back to the community in this way given the challenges posed by COVID-19.

“Even though there will be no rodeo, we will be helping our community with their needs,” he continued.

The decision to cancel the annual rodeo was a difficult but ultimately unavoidable one. In donating to The Food Basket, as well as by increasing annual distribution to their beneficiaries by 50% to $3.6 million in 2020, Parker Ranch aims to maintain a sense of community in North Hawaii during the pandemic.

“The rodeo is our way of showing the community how much we love the lifestyle of the paniolo,” added Kuyper.

Also teaming up to provide assistance for the latest food drop in Waimea is Kokua Christian Ministries, which will provide BBQ bags, and Young Brothers, which has donated a cold storage container for the day.

The food drop will be Waimea’s fourth since Gov. David Ige’s stay-at-home order took effect in late March.

“The number of families needing the kind of food assistance The Food Basket provides has increased exponentially over the last several months with the onset of the pandemic,” said Kristin Frost Albrecht, executive director of The Food Basket. “More and more families with young children are vulnerable, and they need the kind of support provided by Parker Ranch. We are grateful for the contribution.”

Kuyper maintains the donations have been a group effort for Parker Ranch, highlighting employees, customers, partners, and their producer, Hawaii Beef Producers.

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“We are deeply grateful to Jill Mattos, the General Manager of Hawaii Beef Producers. Jill was our Honoree at our rodeo last year for her leadership in managing the plant and her markets,” said Kuyper. “Jill is a ‘superwoman’ in my view. We would not able to make this donation available without her support, cooperation and management skills.”

The Friday Ohana Food Drop is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. at the Waimea District Park.

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