MT. VERNON — A member of Park Avenue Baptist Church, Laura Seidel, looked no further than across the church parking lot when selecting a non-profit organization as a benefactor of a national program.
Monsanto Company selected Seidel in a random drawing through its America’s Farmers Grow Communities program. As a result of being selected, Seidel was able to donate $2,500 to a non-profit organization of her choice. She chose the Park Avenue Baptist Church food pantry.
“I thought it was a quite unexpected blessing,” said Seidel, who along with her husband Jerry, farm approximately 1,200 acres in southeast Jefferson County. “I go to church here and I’m somewhat aware of their ongoing needs. They largely work off donations. There’s always some kind of need.”
Monsanto distributes the $2,500 checks in nearly 1,300 counties across 39 states. There were 82,000 farmers who entered the America’s Farmers Grow Communities program. Farmers sign up in the fall, drawings are held in the winter, and proceeds are presented to eligible programs in the spring. This is the third continual year for the program.
“The purpose of the program is to show the contributions and achievements farmers give back to rural communities to help grow the smaller rural communities by giving back to local organizations,” said Paul Behlman, district sales manager of Monsanto.
“Last week we gave a check in Randolph County to a Lutheran grade school and a couple of weeks a check was presented in Jackson County to the new cancer facility that Southern Illinois Healthcare is erecting. There are other food pantries that have been given donations, as well as schools, churches, and fire departments,” he added.
“I feel great and it’s a blessing we got it,” said Park Avenue Food Pantry Director Frank Chrum. “It’s going to help a lot of people.”