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Bull turns into a big hamburger helper for Good Cheer

This 2,500-pound Hereford bull was purchased by the congregation of South Whidbey Assembly of God church and turned into hamburger for Good Cheer Food Bank. - Photo courtesy of Matt Chambers
This 2,500-pound Hereford bull was purchased by the congregation of South Whidbey Assembly of God church and turned into hamburger for Good Cheer Food Bank.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Matt Chambers

The congregation went for the bull, and the food bank got the burgers.

“Some people might say we’re in the bull business anyway,” said Pastor Matt Chambers of South Whidbey Assembly of God in Langley. “But this was our first time in the real bull business.”

Members of the church on Maxwelton Road pooled their money late this past month and bought a 2,500-pound Hereford bull from a Baview-area farmer, who was looking to sell it for hamburger.

Church member Todd Brager of Langley is a relative of the bull’s owner, who preferred to remain anonymous.

“One Sunday he was asking around if anyone wanted to buy hamburger,” Chambers said of Brager, “and people jumped on it as a way to help the food bank.”

“It went well,” agreed Brager, a bus mechanic with the South Whidbey School District.

“I would have liked to buy the bull myself, but didn’t have the money,” he added. “And I didn’t need that much hamburger.”

The congregation raised about $1,600, about $800 for the bull and another $800 to convert it to groceries. The result was 1,350 one-pound packages of hamburger and 75 pounds of soup bones, which were turned over to Good Cheer.

Brager said the bull, which he called “Bully” and was perhaps as old as eight, had become too large for breeding, and that the farmer had been trying to sell him as a going concern. There were no reasonable offers, however, probably because of the economy, Brager said.

Switch to Plan B.

Damien Cortez, food bank manager, said Good Cheer typically buys about 400 pounds of ground beef each week for distribution, and that the nonprofit already is well over budget as the number of customers increase and the donations continued to drop.

Cortez said the church’s generosity should keep the food bank in hamburger for three or four weeks.

“The gift was huge in stretching our resources,” he said.

Chambers said the whole experience was a positive one that the congregation may be enthusiastic to repeat someday.

“We thought it was a pretty cool idea, and a blessing for the food bank,” he said. “We’re looking for another bull.”

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