Local poultry farmers come through with donations

Despite avian flu outbreak, Fraser Valley farmers raised $92,700 – $20,000 more than the previous year – for charity.

James Krahn (right) and twin brother John were two of more than a hundred Fraser Valley farmers who helped raise money for Union Gospel Mission.

James Krahn (right) and twin brother John were two of more than a hundred Fraser Valley farmers who helped raise money for Union Gospel Mission.

Despite tough times in the local poultry industry, Fraser Valley farmers have exceeded their commitment to provide protein for thousands of meals for one of Canada’s poorest neighbourhoods.

Around 150 turkey and egg farmers raised $92,700 – more than $20,000 than the previous year – to help Union Gospel Mission (UGM) include protein in many of the 320,000 meals it provides in Vancouver and New Westminster.

Abbotsford farmer James Krahn, who is vice-president of the BC Turkey Association, and his two brothers were all involved in helping raise funds for the mission.

“Despite all the challenges,” he said in a news release, “being a farmer has proven to be a relatively stable industry. I think it’s just a good thing to give back in any way we can. We’ve done well, so why wouldn’t we share?”

While the six farms Krahn helps oversee weren’t infected by the avian influenza outbreak that hit the Fraser Valley in December, he has still felt the deep impact.

But for Union Gospel Mission, the farmers’ help has been invaluable. The farmers provide all of UGM’s eggs for the year, including the daily hard-boiled eggs many count on as part of a UGM morning snack.

“When the Fraser Valley farmers partnered with us, we were able to move away from offering a lot of sugar—which is easier to obtain—to much-needed protein,” said Bruce Curtiss, manager of Hastings Outreach. “Those with so little rarely get meat because it’s so expensive and needs to be prepared properly, yet their bodies are depleted and desperately need this kind of nourishment.”