Beef for Backpacks |

Beef for Backpacks

By By Gary Gwin

The Wyoming Beef Council is proudly partnering with First Lady Jennie Gordon’s Wyoming Hunger Initiative, the Wyoming Stock Growers Association and 307 Meat Company in a new program called Beef for Backpacks. Beef for Backpacks, piloting in 2023 is providing beef sticks for weekend food bags to be distributed by the Laramie County Friday Food Bag Foundation. The goal is to include high quality protein to students who might not eat well or at all on weekends due to food insecurity. It is the hope of all partners that this program will ultimately be extended to every County in Wyoming. 

In addition to conducting background feasibility research, the Wyoming Beef Council has committed $10,000 toward the packaging and labeling for the beef sticks that are included in each weekend food bag through the end of the 2023 school year.

Beef for Backpacks pilot program for Laramie County was launched on Tuesday, February 7, 2023 as part of the Friday Food Bags Foundation’s weekly bag filling. The Laramie County Friday Food Bag Foundation fills 1,100 bags every week in Laramie County. The addition of beef stick to the bags provides protein that is essential for healthy growth and development.

The generosity of Wyoming’s agriculture community is truly what has made this program a reality. Wyoming Stock Growers Association is working with its members to provide beef for the program. Donations from Laramie County ranchers, Keil Harding, Harding Ranch, and Julia and Justin Gentle kicked off the pilot program, and 307 Meat Company in Laramie provided all the processing for the Beef for Backpacks Program. Kelcey Christiansen started 307 Meat Company in 2019 to provide locally sourced, sustainably raised meat to his customers.

There are 87,000 Wyomingites that struggle with food insecurity; an estimated 28,000 of them are children. Grassroots efforts exist in every Wyoming community dedicated to reducing hunger and combating food insecurity. Wyoming’s Hunger Initiative was developed in 2019 under the guidance of Wyoming’s First Lady Jennie Gordon to prevent food insecurity by increasing awareness and support for the work of local anti-hunger organizations statewide.

Wyoming Beef Council is the authorized state beef council for the Beef Checkoff Program and was established in 1971 to serve as the promotion, research and educational arm of the Wyoming beef industry. Wyoming Beef Council programs are funded by the $1-per-head beef checkoff collected on all Wyoming cattle when they are sold.

–Wyoming Beef Council