T-shirts are helping to promote the #FarmingForGood effort. Photo by EGS Photography of Union County.

Project works to feed the hungry

Rendleman Orchards in Alto Pass saw a need – and asked what could be done to fill some gaps in a dire community need.  

With state funding dwindling and small non-profits struggling all around them, the #FarmingForGood Project was born.  

Rendleman Orchards said in a news release that the mission of #FarmingForGood “is to feed the hungry in our own communities while promoting entrepreneurship and family farming.”

The Rendleman-Sirles family knows that farming is hard work, but it can also be quite rewarding, especially when they are able to use some of their resources to better the lives of their local friends and neighbors.  

Now in their 143rd year of farming, and with each generation succeeding on the shoulders of the generation before them, they often look at how they can help other brand new businesses in the region as they take that leap as an entrepreneur.  

When small businesses succeed in the area, the region and its services benefit as a result.

With an existing partnership already in place with two local food pantries near their orchards, it was a natural fit to team up with new entrepreneur and recent Union County CEO program student alumnus, Sam Smith of Cobden, to make a difference.  

Throughout the month of August, fashion blogger Original Sam Smith will be promoting the new #FarmingForGood trendy style FARM t-shirt on her blog, as well as her social media platforms. 

Rendleman Orchards will be donating the proceeds from the sale of these shirts, with $1 from each shirt sold going to the Bethany Village food pantry in Union County, $1 from each shirt sold to the Murphysboro Food Pantry in Jackson County, and $1 from each shirt sold going to new entrepreneur Original Sam Smith for assisting in promoting the #FarmingForGood Project.

“With current circumstances the way they are for our local social service agencies, we must all look within ourselves and figure out ways that each of us can contribute to new solutions,” said Michelle Sirles, vice president at her family business Rendleman Orchards.  

“During harvest months here produce can be plentiful. While we sell our number two fruits and vegetables to various niche wholesale customers for processing, we do feel it necessary to reserve some to donate locally in order to provide fresh and healthy food to those in need in our own communities.”

Winter months can seem long to the clients served at the food pantries as well as the numerous volunteers at those food pantries looking for resources.  

The grassroots #FarmingForGood Project is intended to create more awareness of that need, provide some financial support and leave a lasting message reappearing on shirts around the region and beyond that there are people who are going hungry.  

If we have the means to help in some small way, even by purchasing a t-shirt, it is our duty as fellow Americans to help those who may need it until they are able to get back on their feet and do the same for someone else, Sirles noted.

Those involved with the effort said that the message the FARM t-shirts seem to have is “Grow Local, Give Local, Eat Local.”

The #FarmingForGood t-shirts are available daily throughout the month of August at Rendleman Orchards Farm Market.

The market is scheduled to be open seven days a week, Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m.

For current information about the peach crop, visit Rendleman Orchards online at www.rendlemanorchards.com or on Facebook.  

Original Sam Smith can be followed on social media for more and updated information. 

Readers also are invited to help spread the message by sharing photos in a FARM t-shirt on social media using #FarmingForGood.  T-shirts are printed locally by MerchOp of Jackson County. 

The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158
Email: news@annanews.com

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