By Tim Leeds
The Havre General Mills elevator is donating space for local producers to use for donations to a Kiwanis International fund to help families of victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
"I think it's going to a really worthy cause," said Al Sternberg, the Havre-Gildford General Mills manager, "because it's going to the children of the victims."
Under the Give Relief to Americans in Need project, producers will ship spring wheat to the General Mills elevators in Wolf Point on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 and specify how much of their load they want to go to the project. The proceeds will go to the Kiwanis International 911 Victims Children's Fund to help families in New York City and Washington.
Sternberg said General Mills is providing space for 10,000 bushels of wheat in the Havre elevator for people who want to donate but don't have enough to make hauling it to Wolf Point worthwhile. People have volunteered their tractor-trailers to haul the wheat collected in Havre to the Wolf Point elevator.
"We'll be able to truck it, no problem," Sternberg said.
The project, known as GRAIN, was organized by Terry and Earl Johnson, who farm north of Havre. They said another Havre-area farmer, whom they would not name, came up with the idea.
The Johnsons are taking calls about the project and working with Mike Sullivan of the Montana Department of Agriculture. Sullivan said he has been working to get the word out about it.
"At this point, certainly we've received a lot of good recognition from media sources," Sullivan said. "We think that will encourage a lot of people to participate."
Johnson said she knows of several people who have shown interest in donating. Since the project has been publicized over a large area, she really doesn't know how much wheat will come in on the collection days.
Sternberg said he also knows of producers who have expressed an intent to donate, even though the project is coming at a tough time. The drought and low grain prices make it difficult for producers to be able to afford to donate, he said. He said General Mills is going to donate the handling and administrative fees for the donated grain.
Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway is donating part of the shipping costs to transport the grain from Wolf Point.
For more information about the project, contact Terry Johnson at (406) 398-5335 or (406) 262-4809.