Local organization to support agricultural students, food aid programs through purchases at the Santa Barbara County Fair

SANTA MARIA, Calif. — The James W. Brabeck Youth Legacy Fund (JWBYLF) announced Tuesday that it will expand its reach, supporting local agriculture students, as well as area food assistance programs through its participation in the upcoming Santa Barbara County Fair.

The non-profit organization was established in 2020 to help support young livestock exhibitors at the California Mid-State Fair in Paso Robles.

According to JWBYLF, its mission is to serve agriculture-related and at-risk youth in the community through scholarships and fundraising campaigns that help influence their future.

“The purpose of the buyer’s coalition is to bring together members of the community who want to help exhibitors, but who do not necessarily want to buy an animal themselves, either because they cannot afford a whole animal, or because they don’t”. t have a way of taking a whole animal for themselves, or aren’t interested in having an animal transformed, or that sort of thing,” said JoAnn Wall, committee chair of the JWBYLF Buyer’s Coalition. “So how can we help kids who are exhibiting at the county fair, but we’re not an active bidder ourselves.”

For the students, they said having the JWBYLF at the Santa Barbara County Fair should ease the often stressful process they face during the auction.

“With the arrival of the foundation and with all the support of all these people who come out, it is quite incredible to know that everyone is going to have the chance to have their animal purchased and to have a great fair,” said said Pioneer Valley student Issael Guerra. .

Just as it did in its first two years at the California Mid-State Fair, JWBYLF will also help local food relief organizations.

“We’ll take 100% of those funds and then we’ll go buy those animals from those kids who applied, so we’re still looking for help,” said Gabriel Ponce, chairman of the agriculture department at Pioneer Valley High School. , which is also with JWBYLF. “The animal and the meat that comes from its animal is going to help families in our own community and that’s something pretty cool and special.”

Animals purchased at the Santa Barbara County Fair will be donated to area food relief nonprofits, including Meals That Connect.

“Seniors will be delighted with the gift of this meat,” Elias Nimeh, director of Meals that Connect, said in a statement.

Meals That Connect added that it provides more than 1,000 daily meals to people in need across the region.

The Santa Barbara County Fair runs July 13-17 at the Santa Maria Fairpark. After two years of being canceled due to COVID-19 or filming in a changed format, this will be the first traditional-style fair since 2019.

“I’m pumped,” Ponce said. “I’m thrilled to be back and I hope our community is excited and I hope everyone comes out to support all of our kids.”

While the fair officially opens to the public on July 13, all agriculture students must have their animal projects at the Santa Maria Fairpark by Sunday, July 10.

“What we do is help create the leaders of tomorrow by providing them with a positive equitable experience,” Wall said. “Part of that means they need to reach out to shoppers in their communities, they reach out to us, and they just know that there are people out there who are really supporting them and their efforts and encouraging them to keep going. “

For more information on the James W. Brabeck Youth Legacy Fund, click here.