Center of the Plate, a local non-profit, public charity, donated over 1,200 pounds of beef and pork to four families in need in Dripping Springs. Through combined efforts with their community, Dripping Springs FFA and 4-H members are driving Center of the Plate energies to provide essential meat protein to 22 family members.

Five hogs and one beef steer were donated by FFA and 4-H members to the Center of the Plate for processing into beef and pork. “Our desire with this initiative is to have a deep impact on multiple families in our community,” said Grace Baxter, co-founder of Center of the Plate and Dripping Springs FFA and

4-H member. “Providing over 300 pounds to each family will result in meat on the table for at least four months.”

Community collaboration

Wilson AC & Appliance, a local retail merchant, donated two freezers and provided two at cost to support the Center of the Plate. Dripping Springs Presbyterian Church is housing these freezers for the families at its central location and covering electrical costs for the freezers.

Collaborating with existing local meal-service providers School’s Out, Food’s In (SOFI) and Tiger Totes, Center of the Plate identified specific families to help. "Center of the Plate offers a unique service to the under-served of Dripping Springs. Meat protein is costly and often omitted from the food budgets of families we serve,” said Mandi McNutt with School’s Out, Food’s In. “Their efforts complement the SOFI mission. Not only by providing nutritional foods to children, but instilling into the next generation an understanding of community responsibility and loving their neighbors well."

In addition to the beef and pork provided, Dripping Springs FFA and 4-H members worked with beef and pork industry organizations like the Texas Beef Council to provide families with recipes and safe-handling preparation information.

Long-term impact

One of the key objectives for the Center of the Plate is to establish a blueprint for similar initiatives in other communities.

“We’re capturing everything we’re doing and then sharing via social media so that other people can bring a project like the Center of the Plate to their community,” said Hannah Fults, Drippings Springs FFA member and Director of Communications for Center of the Plate. “You need everyone pulling in the same direction with a common goal to make everything come together. When it does, it’s magic!”

Center of the Plate is designed to be a long-term sustainable initiative. To do so, community support is essential. A total of 11 sponsors in the Dripping Springs community are supporting FFA and 4-H members driving the Center of the Plate. Multiple funding opportunities exist in the community, and the Center of the Plate has secured support from a funding request to the Dripping Springs Wild Game Dinner managed by the United Methodist Men’s Group. This support for the fall 2016 Center of the Plate campaign will cover the beef and pork processing costs.

“This project is a great example of how the future leaders of agriculture in this community are giving back in a way that is unique to their passion – raising livestock that eventually ends up in the center of the plate as beef and pork protein,” said Jordan Blount, Dripping Springs FFA Advisor.

Center of the Plate is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, public charity with the mission of providing animal protein to families in need in the Dripping Springs community. The efforts of the Center of the Plate are being driven and managed by a joint steering committee made up of Dripping Springs FFA Chapter and Dripping Springs 4-H Club members. For more information on Center of the Plate, or if you would like to donate to this cause or become a sponsor, visit: or email