For Manitoban cattle farmer Nancy Howatt, lending a neighbourly hand isn’t just about helping local. It’s also about helping people overseas who are facing hardship and poverty.
That was the inspiration behind the Killarney Livestock Auction happening this Monday, August 30, with all proceeds going to Canadian Foodgrains Bank in support of the Haiti Crisis appeal.
In previous years, Howatt has auctioned off a calf as her “portion of a harvest” to fundraise for the Foodgrains Bank, but she thought straw would be more beneficial to her community this time around.
Nine loads of straw will be auctioned off, two of which have been donated by Howatt.
“This fall, with the drought and all the hardships and stress that the Manitoba cattle producers have had – this is not a small thing,” she says. “Word got out that I had decided to donate a couple of loads of round straw bale, and in one morning I got four phone calls from neighbours.
“It brought me to tears, because these people are good neighbours. They’re family. They have no pasture, they have no hay, they have no water, they have no options but to send their livelihoods away. It’s heartbreaking.”
Howatt, a supporter of the Anglican Grow Hope growing project, believes being able to help out a fellow cattle producer while also helping Haitians recover from the 7.2 magnitude earthquake which struck on August 14, claiming the lives of more than 2,200 people, is a win-win scenario.
“I know how Haitians work, where if something happens to the neighbour, the rest of the community kicks in. It’s not even a question. So when I heard that a whole strip of homes has been just taken away from this latest earthquake, it’s gut-wrenching.”
In late 2018, Howatt participated in a Foodgrains Bank learning tour to Haiti and witnessed first-hand the generosity of Haitians, especially in times of crisis.
As a farmer, Howatt says she can relate to the strong sense of community Haitians have.
“Sometimes in the country you just get into a little bubble, but what resonated with me was even though Haitians don’t have all the same things we do, the most important thing in their lives is leaving the land healthier than they found it, which is an agricultural thing, and wanting their children to excel. They will give everything they have to get them educated and give them better opportunities.”
The auction will be run through Killarney Auction Mart and begins at 1 p.m. CST. on Monday, August 30. For more information on the auction, visit the Facebook page.
*UPDATE: We are pleased to report that the Killarney Auction held on August 30 raised approximately $13,000 to help with relief efforts in Haiti. Thank you all!
Help our members and their local partners in Haiti serve people who are vulnerable to hunger right now.