BOISE — When the Idaho Beef Council and the Idaho Steelheads presented Beef Night on the Ice on Feb. 1, the real winner was the Beef Counts program, as over $6,420 was raised to provide The Idaho Foodbank with much needed funds to purchase a consistent supply of high-quality protein throughout the year to help fight hunger throughout Idaho.

Donations raised for this event were matched by Agri Beef to bring the night’s total to over $12,800. Agri Beef has pledged an annual commitment of $50,000 this year to support the Beef Counts program.

“This event exceeded our expectations and we are so grateful to everyone who turned out, as well as our partners with The Idaho Foodbank and the Idaho Steelheads” said T.K. Kuwahara, CEO of the Idaho Beef Council. “The Idaho Foodbank is able to take the funds raised and purchase high-quality, beef to be distributed to families in need throughout Idaho.

“The Beef Counts program is a great way to give back to the community,” said Trish Downtown, an Idaho beef producer. “As a rancher, I believe strongly in the quality and commitment that goes into producing beef and beef products in this state. As a good neighbor, I and other ranchers want to make sure that all Idahoans have access to the nutrient-dense protein of our beef.”

For the one in eight Idahoans who faces hunger every day, the Beef Counts program provides a high-quality product that is protein-rich making it an important part of a well-balanced diet.

“We are so grateful for the year-round support of the Idaho Beef Council. In our 35 years of service we have realized that Idahoans living with hunger need more than calories; they need variety and nutrition in order to thrive. The Beef Counts program is vital to this effort by providing our neighbors in need with healthy proteins when they need it most,” Karen Vauk, president and CEO of The Idaho Foodbank.

The Beef Counts program is the result of a partnership between The Idaho Foodbank, Idaho’s largest distributor of free emergency food, and members of the Idaho beef industry including Idaho Cattle Association, Idaho CattleWomen Council, Idaho Beef Council and Agri Beef Company. Since its inception in 2010, the program has distributed more than 1.5 million 3-ounce servings of beef through The Idaho Foodbank’s statewide network of community partners.