The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

July 20, 2013

Seneca food pantry gearing up for annual hay auction fundraiser

By Roger McKinney

SENECA, Mo. — The Seneca Area Food Pantry has begun preparing for its only fundraiser for the year, the hay auction known as Farmers Feeding Neighbors.

The auction is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 7, at the Seneca Christian Church, 14200 Bethel Road. Volunteers start cooking hamburgers and hot dogs at 4 p.m. that day; the auction begins at 6 p.m.

Pantry manager Marsha Markham said the auction has become a tradition. She said farmers from far and wide donate the big, round bales of hay while other farmers — some from as far away as Texas — come to bid on them.

Last year’s event raised around $15,000.

“People are so generous,” she said. “We hope each year to make enough to pay our expenses for the year.”

Markham said the event is much more than a hay auction. She said area businesses also donate products to auction, including Branson show tickets. There are also baked goods. Markham said a plate of cinnamon rolls went for $450 one year.

She said area cattle farmer Jim Graham was the catalyst and organizer of the event.

“He and his wife have connections like you wouldn’t believe,” Markham said.

She also said the number of families who need help is growing. The pantry served 108 families in May, and Markham said the number seems to increase every month.

“We have a lot of need here, but we have an awful lot of people who are awfully generous,” she said.

Learn more

The Seneca Area Food Pantry is at 1316 Cherokee St. in Seneca. For more details about it or the annual fundraiser, call the pantry at 417-776-4650.