Benton REA Donates $15K to Local Food Banks

David Hanson, executive director, and Ken Trainor, director of operations for Sunrise Outreach Center food banks accept a check for $3,000 from Benton REA Board President Connie Krull (center).

Fifteen thousand dollars is helping feed local families thanks to Benton REA and matching funds from CoBank, one of the utility’s lenders.

Benton REA received a $7,500 matching grant from the CoBank Sharing Success program. Together, the $15,000 donation will help families through three organizations within the Benton REA member service area.

Nine thousand dollars went to the Tri-Cities Food Bank serving West Richland and Benton City, $3,000 to Jubilee Ministries’ Food Bank in Prosser and $3,000 to Sunrise Outreach Center Food Banks in Mabton and Sunnyside.

CoBank’s Sharing Success program doubles contributions of its consumer-members to the charitable organizations and causes they care about most.

“In 2020, we investigated the specific needs created by COVID-19 and donated this matching grant to our area food banks,” says Benton REA General Manager Mike Bradshaw. “Since the pandemic has had lasting effects on families’ ability to pay their bills, the board of trustees wanted our 2021 matching grant to go to the food banks again.” 

Howard Rickard, board president of the Tri-Cities Food Bank, says the timing of the donation was good, as extra state and federal benefits are expiring.

Benton REA Board President Connie Krull and Secretary/Treasurer Catherine Russell presented the checks to each food bank.

Benton REA recognizes that food isn’t the only need for struggling families. Benton REA members with past-due utility bills are encouraged to call 509-786-2913. Benton REA employees can set up payment plans and point members to organizations offering financial assistance for utility payments. The co-op also offers a low-income, senior or disabled discount and funding through its member-funded Power to Care bill assistance program. Visit for more information.

CoBank is one of the largest private providers of credit to the U.S. rural economy. With more than $125 billion in assets, the bank delivers loans, leases and other financial services to agribusiness, rural infrastructure and Farm Credit customers in all 50 states. CoBank’s customers form the backbone of the economy in rural America. They include agribusiness, power, water and telecommunications.

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