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Texas Church's Cattle Drive Beefs Up Community Food Pantry Help for the Hungry

Denton Bible Church volunteer ranchers provide free, high-quality meat through unique Cattle Ministry program

Contact: Ty Mays
770-256-8710

DENTON, Texas, Oct. 31, 2018 /Christian Newswire/ -- According to Psalm 50, the cattle on a thousand hills belong to God, and a Texas church is rounding some of them up to feed his people. The range-riding Cattle Ministry begun at Denton Bible Church (DBC, www.dentonbible.org) is believed to be the only one of its kind in the country, providing free, high-quality ground beef to those in need.

Photo: Denton Bible Church senior pastor Tom Nelson (left) inspects one of the church's Cattle Ministry steers with church members Daryl Real (center), who is Senior Vice President, Agriculture and Livestock, for the State Fair of Texas, and Everette Newland.

Around 20,000 lb. of grass-fed meat, accounting for more than 90,000 servings, are due to be given away this year through the church's Food Club, which provides meat, vegetables and other staples to local organizations, and through its own Vision food pantry. This year's total Cattle Ministry meat offering has a retail value of around $100,000.

The Cattle Ministry is just one way DBC helps feed the hungry. It also runs the 14.5-acre Shiloh Fields, which is believed to be the largest church-run community garden in America, providing fruits and vegetables for local community service groups. Both food programs are part of DBC's wide range of caring ministries that aim to demonstrate God's love in practical ways.

The Cattle Ministry also provides some other meat, receiving donations of hogs and deer from a local businessman. Coming straight from a natural farm to the various food banks, the beef is of a much higher grade than most of what is given for charitable distribution, which may have been frozen or be close to its expiry date.

Volunteer ranchers care for a herd of around 50 cattle that range on some 600 acres of donated land in the Denton area. On horseback or by jeep, the volunteers check the livestock to ensure they are healthy and well fed, and selects those ready for processing.

"There are so many people in our community that are in need," said Kim Clarke, a DBC member and one of the long-time volunteers. "To be able to provide some assistance to them in this way is so rewarding."
 
The Cattle Ministry dates back to 2010, when church members began processing animals that had been donated. Then they were given some calves to actually raise, birthing a full-scale farming effort that is self-funding. Feed, care, and processing costs are covered by donations and an annual fundraising event for the ministry, now registered as an independent charity.

Packaged with the ministry's horns logo and stamped with a Bible verse, the free meat has proved a hit in the local community. One mother who turned to the Food Club for help after falling on hard times emailed her thanks and said that "the beef and pork were amazing; my sons loved it so much."

Another beneficiary, a foster mother, told how the nutritious servings had helped one of the children she was caring for who had been sickly gain significant weight, gaining enough appropriate to his age.

Employed by an electrical contractor, Clarke said that volunteering up to ten hours a week with the Cattle Ministry enabled him to fulfill a lifelong interest in ranching. "As Christians we are called to serve, and to find a way to do so that you really like is a blessing."

A nondenominational congregation with more than 3,000 members, Denton Bible Church (www.dentonbible.org) was founded in 1976. In addition to a wide range of ministries for members and the local community, the church runs a Bible Training Center for Pastors and a Missionary Training Institute through which workers are prepared for service overseas.