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Hearst gives a gift of luxury: Beef will be on the menu

Steve Hearst, left, and Carl Hansen,right from the Food Bank, talk about talk about the 5,000 pounds of beef that the Hearst Ranch is donating to the food bank. Holly the horse is at right.  Photo Jayson Mellom 12-15-10
Steve Hearst, left, and Carl Hansen,right from the Food Bank, talk about talk about the 5,000 pounds of beef that the Hearst Ranch is donating to the food bank. Holly the horse is at right. Photo Jayson Mellom 12-15-10

This holiday season, beef will once again be on the menu for thousands of needy local families, for whom meat is a luxury that’s almost impossible to afford.

For the second year in a row, the Hearst Ranch will donate meat to the Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo County. It will be distributed to those in need through various safety-net food programs.

Last year, Hearst donated to the Food Bank 3,000 pounds of premium diced, grass-fed beef. This year’s donation of uncooked, diced meat and fajita strips will weigh in at nearly 5,000 pounds. The gift is valued at approximately $24,000, according to Stephen Hearst, vice president and general manager of Western Properties for Hearst Corp.

“We’re happy to contribute to help the Food Bank and all they do to provide food for our community,” Hearst said.

Carl Hansen, the Food Bank’s executive director, accepted the uncommon donation Wednesday. The nonprofit currently provides food to more than 40,000.

“Our need is up about 31 percent over last year,” Hansen said, “and every day, we are seeing families who need Food Bank programs more frequently because some government programs and other safety nets have disappeared.”

People with the lowest incomes are the hardest hit by the recession and recent governmental cutbacks, Hansen said. “This donation allows the Food Bank to provide healthy and completely enjoyable grass-fed beef to low-income clients who would seldom have access to meat of this quality. And this donation sends an important message that our community cares,” enough to give the very best.

The beef is produced without hormones or antibiotics at the Hearst Ranch in San Simeon and Jack Ranch in Cholame. Hearst Ranch Beef is served in various local restaurants and is sold in local markets or online at www.hearstranch.com.

“We are constantly trying to access local products like this to save on shipping costs and of course protect the environment,” Hansen said. “And we’re always happy when we can help low-income people put high-quality food grown right here on the table.”

Find more information at www.slofoodbank.org.

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