Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Bid for a Cause: At the PA Farm Show, you can help the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank fight hunger.

Cattle are auctioned off at last year’s PA Farm Show. Photo courtesy Pennsylvania Farm Show

The PA Farm Show is rapidly approaching and, for many, that means acres of livestock and locally grown produce, capped off, of course, with a delicious burger and milkshake.

However, not far away from this bounty, you easily can find people who don’t have enough nutritious food to eat, and that’s where a partnership kicks in between the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, the Farm Show and the community.

On Jan. 9, during the 2018 PA Farm Show, you can help fight hunger throughout the Food Bank’s 27-county region through a program called “Bid. Buy. Donate.”

Here’s how it works.

Starting at 10:30 a.m., you show up at the Junior Livestock Auction and place a winning bid on an animal—a steer or a swine. You then immediately donate the animal to the Food Bank, which takes it all from there: the transportation, the processing, the distribution, etc.

“This is all about a great way to get protein to people who need it,” said Jennifer Powell, the Food Bank’s director of development and communications. “Last year was our inaugural year, and it was extremely successful.”

Powell said that the “Bid. Buy. Donate.” concept began in the smaller venues of the Elizabethtown Fair and the Manheim Farm Show. Last year, it was taken to the PA Farm Show, where bidders bought and donated about 5,000 pounds of meat

A portion of the winning bid also goes to the Junior Livestock Scholarship Fund, which offers college scholarships for students who have participated in the Junior Livestock program.

“That really makes it a win-win when folks bid and buy an animal,” Powell said.

This isn’t the first collaboration between the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank and the Farm Show. They have a longstanding relationship dating back some 20 years, with Farm Show vendors and exhibitors donating tons of leftovers to the food bank.

In addition, for the past few years, the food bank has partnered with the PA Dairymen’s Association on their “Fill a Glass with Hope” campaign, in which a portion of milkshake sales goes to provide fresh milk for central Pennsylvanians.

“We try to have a multipronged relationship with the Farm Show,” Powell said. “We feel it makes a lot of sense for us to partner with them.”

Powell said that she hopes to exceed last year’s donation total from “Bid. Buy. Donate.” To that end, she encourages not just individuals, but representatives of businesses and organizations, to attend and place bids during this unique, creative food drive.

“This is a great way for people to get involved,” she said. “It also helps to raise awareness about food insecurity in our community.”

“Bid. Buy. Donate.” takes place on Jan. 9, starting at 10:30 a.m., as part of the Junior Livestock Auction at the Small Sale Arena at the PA Farm Show Complex, Cameron and Maclay streets, Harrisburg. For more information about the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, visit For more information about the PA Farm Show, visit

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