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College students behind effort to save farms and get food to families in need

FarmLink began when their colleges, universities closed in March.

The images left Max Goldman baffled. Endless lines at food banks across the U.S. as farmers dumped crops because their usual customers like universities and restaurants had closed.

"These two stories together just didn't seem to make sense," Goldman told ABC News on Tuesday.

So, he and other college students came up with an idea called FarmLink, connecting farmers with food banks in Los Angeles.

"We called a farmer ... and he agreed to donate 50,000 pounds of onions. We lined up shipping and delivered food to our local food bank. The next day, we did the same thing with 10,000 eggs. And, after we did these two shipments, we realized we could make a difference," said Goldman who lives in Los Angeles.

According to its website, "FarmLink began when our college campuses closed down in March of 2020. As we returned home, we saw our communities transformed by food shortages, business closures, and lay-offs. Our team now consists of individuals passionate about fixing the farm supply chain from the following institutions: Brown University, the University of Southern California, Dartmouth College, Stanford University, the Harvard School of Business, and Cornell University."

So far, in total, the group has delivered 78,000 eggs, including produce from Trafficanda Egg Ranches, and 50,00 pounds of onions, including some from Owyhee Produce in Oregon and Idaho. Jack Rehnborg, Christina Knight and Theo Velaise helped deliver 40,000 pounds of lettuce from True Leaf Farms in San Benito County, California, to food banks.

Goldman said thousands of people had volunteered their time and made donations so that FarmLink was able to also support the farmers and truckers working to redirect the food to people in need.

The group is looking to take its efforts to the East Coast, with brothers Ben and Will Collier of Connecticut working to connect farms in the Northeast with communities in need as well as raise funding and gather volunteers.

Jordan Hartzell in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, was busy Tuesday too, not only coordinating the logistics of a potato delivery occurring in California at the end of the week but also trying to think of ways to get deliveries moving on the East Coast.

Meanwhile, a shipment from Doug Hess' Fall River Farms in Ashton, Idaho, -- 40,000 pounds of potatoes -- was arriving on Tuesday to food banks in Southern California to be distributed to families.

Farmers and food banks told ABC News they were grateful to FarmLink and its volunteers, but Goldman said the group's efforts were far from over.

"In the last three weeks, FarmLink has delivered over 250,000 pounds of food," he said. "Our goal is to move 1 million pounds by the end of the month."