Eastern States Exposition recently donated a prize steer to the West Springfield Parish Cupboard. Acting on behalf of the Exposition and its Board of Directors, ESE President Gene Cassidy bid on and purchased the Highly Commended Steer at the 4-H Beef Auction, held during The Big E.
The 1,230 lb. Maine Anjou steer sold for $4.50/lb. and produced approximately 750 lbs. of meat of exceptional quality.
“The Parish Cupboard now has hundreds of pounds of nutritious beef in its freezers to feed the homeless and hungry on site and provide, along with canned goods and pasta from our pantry, to needy families and senior citizens,” said Martha Tighe, Parish Cupboard director.
“I cannot begin to tell you how much the beef from that steer means to our program. We are giving 1 lb. packages out to our seniors and they are almost crying when they get frozen beef to cook. Bill Cawthra, my chef, is making a variety of hearty dishes. We used it all winter long for chili, meatloaf, stroganoff, beef stew and other tasty, nutritious meals for the people we serve. This was such a wonderful donation!”
On a sunny but chilly day in late February, Chef Bill was preparing his signature meatloaf, gravy, mashed potato and coleslaw lunch for homeless clients who are served a daily hot meal between 11:15am and 12:15pm. “You have no idea how many lives your donation has enhanced,” Bill said.
Cassidy, who pronounced the meatloaf “as good as The Fort’s,” said he is pleased that so many people have been served and added that the donation also helps raise awareness about the mission of agriculture. “We rely on farmers to produce and harvest food for our tables. We sometimes overlook the huge role agriculture plays in our everyday lives and how it is essential to our existence.”
The steer was one of three raised by Olivia Oatley of Exeter, Rhode Island. She also won Grand Champion Steer honors for her 1,335 lb. Angus Cross Steer in The Big E’s 4-H Beef Program. Each year, 4-H youth purchase a steer at birth and raise it, keeping detailed records on its feeding and growth. Money raised at the auction goes directly to the participating 4-H youth. Many use the funds for their college education or to purchase another steer for the following year’s 4-H Beef Program.
This year’s Big E takes place September 15-October 1. The 4-H Beef Auction is Monday, September 25 and is open to the public. Please join us at 6 p.m. in Mallary Arena. Those interested in bidding on steers may contact our Agriculture Department in advance of the sale at 413-205-5011 or stop by the registration table at the event. Arrangements may be easily made to process purchases. Many businesses and individuals have joined together to purchase a steer as well.
The Parish Cupboard, founded in 1986 by Parish Association of local Protestant and Catholic Churches has been helping the less fortunate members of West Springfield and Agawam for almost thirty years. Through local donations of clothing, food and money, The Parish Cupboard has been able to help thousands of citizens throughout the decades.