MSU Collegiate Cattlewomen making a difference with big food donation

BOZEMAN – A Montana State University club has won a national competition, and the prize – 30,500 pounds of chicken products from Tyson Foods, Inc.  – is scheduled to arrive the morning of Wednesday, Feb. 26, at the Gallatin Valley Food Bank.

The Collegiate CattleWomen’s Club won the contest by collecting 500 pounds of canned goods during the annual “Can the Griz” food drive last fall and completing other weekly assignments in the annual Animal Agricultural Alliance Online College Aggies Scholarship Competition. The Animal Agriculture Alliance is one of the largest animal agricultural industry nonprofit organizations in the country. Since the group launched the national online competition in 2009, more than 1,500 college students from more than 100 colleges and universities have participated.

Bronya Renfrow, president of the Collegiate CattleWomen’s Club, said the MSU club decided to donate its prize to the Gallatin Valley Food Bank. Food Bank Coordinator Jill Holder said the food bank will share the gift with other groups, which might include senior centers, group homes and nonprofit organizations.

She has never received a single donation this large during her time with the food bank, Holder said.

“This donation is a really big deal, and it’s incredibly helpful to our valley families,” Holder said. “This donation will provide protein for almost an entire year, so it’s an enormous contribution. Buying protein can get expensive so we’re thankful and excited for the donation.”

Renfrow said she is proud of her club for winning the competition.

“For such a small club to be able to accomplish something like this is incredible. It’s a huge honor. It hasn’t quite sunk in how many local families the donation will help to feed,” said Renfrow from Pleasantville, Iowa, a senior majoring in agricultural education (agricultural relations).

The club only placed food boxes in Linfield Hall and the Animal Bioscience Building for the fall food drive, Renfrow said.

“We were really surprised we won the food drive because we only placed boxes in a few buildings, so it’s a real testament to the staff, students and faculty in those buildings who helped us to win this,” she said.

The Collegiate CattleWomen Club has approximately 15 members, Renfrow said. One of 27 clubs in the MSU College of Agriculture, its mission is to promote beef.

“We emphasize that meat is a good source of zinc, iron and protein, and lean meat can be good for you,” Renfrow said.

In addition to the food drive, the MSU club handed out beef sticks and fact sheets last fall for a “Meet the Meat” event on campus. Last spring, it held a 5K race and barbecue, titled “Meat at the Finish Line.” It will hold the same event this year on Saturday, April 12. Throughout the school year, club members give “Perfect Cheeseburger” presentations at elementary schools, demonstrating and explaining the nutrition in each layer of a cheeseburger.