FarmLink students to David Muir: We’ve seen the suffering

FarmLink was created to help get crops to families in need of food.

June 25, 2020, 8:25 PM

For weeks, they have been answering the call: a group of young people helping struggling food banks across the country in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Since "World News Tonight with David Muir" first reported about the FarmLink organization in May, the college students making up the nonprofit have delivered more than 4 million pounds of food to food banks across 28 states -- the equivalent to 3.5 million meals.

"We started FarmLink with the goal of keeping families fed during the COVID-19 pandemic," Aidan Riley told ABC News anchor David Muir on Thursday.

When the COVID-19 outbreak began in the U.S., long lines and dwindling supplies at food banks were seen from coast to coast, signaling a larger call for action to get food to families in need.

Farmers with surpluses of vegetable crops, dairy and other fresh foods were also forced to discard their spoiled supply as shoppers looked to stock up on non-perishables from grocery stores.

So, in May, a group of college students started FarmLink to connect farmers with food banks.

"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," FarmLink's Max Goldman told Muir previously.

The nonprofit organization is now on a mission to fight hunger and restore jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I just want to tell you that it's been so powerful to see so many people ... coming together," Zac Harleston told Muir in a message Thursday.

Alex Tsai and Harleston shared with Muir that they'd helped get millions of gallons of free milk and pallets full of fresh eggs to communities in need.

In Los Angeles, the organization helped get 30,000-pounds of broccoli, cauliflower and mixed greens delivered to Heart of Compassion food bank on Thursday.

Five other food banks across Massachusetts have received 15,000-pounds of carrots, mixed greens, spinach and potatoes through FarmLink.

In Arizona, an additional 40,000 pounds of potatoes made their way to the White Mountain Apache Tribe.

FarmLink has helped organizations, such as Feed the Frontlines NYC, which has now delivered more than 124,000 free meals, and helped local restaurants rehire more than 100 employees.

Potato farmer Doug Hess, of Fall River Farms in Ashton, Idaho, gave Muir a glimpse at his truck full of thousands of pounds of spuds, which were being sent to various food banks.

"I'd like to thank FarmLink," Hess told Muir in a message, "for helping me move 125,000 pounds of potatoes that otherwise would have gone to waste to people here in America."

FarmLink's Riley said the group would keep fighting for those in need.

"Food insecurity is not going away anytime soon and neither are we," he told Muir.