Armoured with face masks that served as shields against the spread of Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19), Tess Leach, director of business operations at Chico Basin Ranch, and her team gathered at the Hanover Fire Station on April 25th to donate bags of beef to families in need. This was the fourth weekend that Leach and her team were able to help their local community through beef donation, and so far they have served 1,478 people, along with six service centers throughout the community.
When government enforced “Stay at Home” orders due to COVID-19 began to pose a major threat to food security, the staff at Ranchlands—headquartered at Chico Basin Ranch just 45 minutes southeast of Colorado Springs—started to brainstorm how they could help. Unemployment claims were pouring in throughout the state and reached a record-breaking high of 380,000 over the last six weeks; meaning the loss of steady income for many Coloradans. “The ranch had a surplus of animals that we weren’t selling, and quickly realized how significant this donation would be for those who either couldn’t afford meat during this global pandemic, or for people who could not find meat on the shelves at their local grocery store,” said Leach. Ranchlands put a call for donation sign-ups through their local community schools and worked with the administration to distribute the fliers to families that might be in need. They also put the same callout through social media. The story was quickly picked up by local news, and within 24 hours, they had 4,000 people on the list.
So far, Ranchlands has harvested 14 of their own animals, all in the form of ground meat to utilize as much of the animal as possible. Each family gets 10 pounds of beef through a streamlined, drive-through process; most driving over 45 minutes to receive their bounty. “This project has been incredibly fulfilling because it’s creating such a tremendous impact. Everyone has been so grateful and kind throughout the whole process while staying positive, and it’s incredibly heartwarming. There are no qualifications to who we donate to and we aren’t really verifying the level of need. It’s just based on people doing what’s right and is so affirming to see the good in people,” Leach said. Ranchlands is excited to keep up the momentum to assist the remaining 2,600 people still waiting on the donation list. For more information and how you can help, please contact Tess Leach at (719) 641-4489, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.